Ten Books to Talk to Your Kids and Teens About Race

If you’re anything like me, you grew up in a household where you were taught to be a good human, to be kind to others, and to not judge others on the color of their skin. But the world we live in today begs the question: is this enough? And the answer is a resounding NO. No it is not. We need to do so much more, and creating a dialogue with our own children is a huge part of it; books can help.

You can be an ally. You just have to start, and by talking to your own kids, you will allow them to be an ally, too. Hopefully a lot sooner than when I realized I needed to become one. If we start the conversation with our kids now, imagine how much we can change. The following are books that I’ve encountered as an educator, and a mother, that will help begin a conversation about race and justice. 

Lansing Mom is here to share our tried and true favorites. This post does contain affiliate links that help support our small business but every product is something we love! 

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down

Appropriate for second grade and above. This book is all about a defining moment in history and the students who staged a sit-in at Woolworth’s during the Civil Rights Movement. You can start a conversation with your kids about the movement for equality throughout the years and about peaceful protests. Author: Andrea Davis Pinkney


This book is a celebration of Rosa Parks and her part in the Civil Rights Movement. This book allows conversation about peaceful protests and is a book that I would recommend even for your older toddler-aged children. While they may not fully grasp the concepts just yet, they will be able to learn morals about right and wrong from this book. It will be great for your elementary-aged children, too! Author: Nikki Giovanni

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History and Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History

If you’ve never encountered a Vashti Harrison book, now is the time! Our house loves these books, and we’ve got two toddlers. While these books are intended for older children, there’s no harm in starting to introduce children of any age to black leaders in American history. There are also several other books from Vashti Harrison that will be great to have as your children grow. Author: Vashti Harrison

Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America

Gordon Parks finds a way to combat racism through the lens of his camera. He captured segregation in America and used his photos to take a stand. This book is great for toddlers through elementary-aged children. Author: Carole Boston Weatherford

Something Happened in Our Town

This book is about a black family and a white family as they work through a police shooting of a black man. I like this book because it includes a guideline of how to talk to your children about race and racism. Sometimes as we read and talk to our children, it can be difficult to know what to say– this book sets it up in a way that will help you begin conversations with your kids. I would recommend for kindergarten and up. Authors: Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library

This is the story of Arturo Schomburg as he worked to collect books and more in order to share the story of Africans throughout time. He created a collection that is housed in the New York Public Library, and is called the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. This book is great for middle-school-aged children to dive deeper into the understanding of race and the impact people can have. Authors: Carole Boston Weatherford

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning

If you have high school aged kids and you want to create a dialogue, this is a book that you both can read and come together to discuss. This book is a reworking of the original book Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which goes into much greater detail. It will make it a good read for your teen but you can decide which version is best for you. Authors: Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

Black Lives Matter

This book covers shootings that led to protests and is suited for high-school-aged kids. It discusses the U.S. and the work of activists to create a more just country. It’s another book that you both can read and have conversations about. Authors: Sue Bradford Edwards and Duchess Harris

Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship

Personally this is one of my favorites because it shows we all make mistakes and it helps us, and our children, to learn the appropriate course of action. I would recommend this book for anyone walking through race conversations with their children, regardless of age. At it’s core it talks about the issues in a way that helps us to become better people and that is ageless. Authors: Irene Latham and Charles Waters

Want more resources on how to become an ally within your home and with your children? Check out our post, How To Be an Ally As a Mother. 


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