Talking About Racial Equity

This list is to help parents and teachers discuss racial equity with children and young adults, as well as books for adults on racial equity.

Board Books

bookcover
Board Books
An ABC of Equality
Author: Chana Ewing

Child Board Book:

A board book introduction to Social Justice:  An ABC of Equality celebrates people's diferences, shows respect for others' beliefs and teaches treating others with kindness. 

Where to Find:

Picture Books

bookcover
Picture Books
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut
Author: Derrick Barnes

Child Picture Book:

Celebrates the magnificent feeling that comes from walking out of a barber shop with newly-cut hair.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Picture Books
I Am Enough
Author: Grace Byers

Child Picture Book:

We are all here for a purpose. We are more than enough. We just need to believe i

Where to Find:
bookcover
Picture Books
My Hair is a Garden
Author: Cozbi Cabrera

Child Picture Book:

After being teased yet again about her unruly hair, MacKenzie consults her neighbor, Miss Tillie, who compares hair care with tending her beautiful garden and teaches MacKenzie some techniques for managing her hair.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Picture Books
The Name Jar
Author: Yangsook Choi

Child Picture Book:

When Unhei moves from Korea to the United States, her grandmother gives her a special stamp with her beautiful name on it.  When her new American classmates want to know her name, Unhei isn't sure that she should use her true Korean name and a jar is used to collect names to help her decide what her name should be.  This gentle story reflects the immigrant's need for identity and friendship.  

Where to Find:
bookcover
Picture Books
Full, Full, Full of Love
Author: Trish Cooke

Child Picture Book:

For young Jay Jay, Sunday dinner at Gran's house is full of hugs and kisses, tasty dishes, all kinds of fishes, happy faces, and love.
 
Where to Find:
bookcover
Picture Books
Mixed Me!
Author: Taye Diggs

Child Picture Book:

Told in rhyming text, racially mixed Mike is a boy of color, completely comfortable with his identity and his parents--and his wild, curly hair.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Picture Books
Not Quite Snow White
Author: Ashley Franklin

Child Picture Book:

Tameika is excited to audition for the school's Snow White musical, but when she overhears her classmates say she is too tall, chubby, and brown to play Snow White in the musical, she questions whether she is right for the part.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Picture Books
Skin Again
Author: Bell Hooks

Child Picture Book:

Bell Hooks and Christopher Raschka create a new way to talk about skin color differences.  The skin I'm in is just a covering. It cannot tell my story.  If you want to know who I am, you have got to come inside and open your heart way wide.  Skin Again celebrates all that makes each of us unique and different. 

Where to Find:
bookcover
Picture Books
Antiracist Baby
Author: Ibram Kendi

Child Picture Book:

This picture book shows people of different skin colors and affirms them as equals.

 

Where to Find:
bookcover
Picture Books
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Author: Jazynka Kitson

Child Nonfiction:

Introduces the life and legacy of civil rights leader the Reverand Dr. Martin Luther KIng, Jr.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Picture Books
Double Bass Blues
Author: Andrea Loney

Child Picture Book:

After school orchestra practice, young Nic carries his big double bass through rough neighborhoods to his grandfather's home, where he and Grandaddy Nic play jazz music with friends, delighting the neighbors.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Picture Books
Don't Touch My Hair!
Author: Sharee Miller

Child Picture Book:

Aria loves her soft and bouncy hair, but must go to extremes to avoid people who touch it without permission until, finally, she speaks up. Includes author's note.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Picture Books
The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family /
Author: Ibtihaj Muhammad

Child Picturebook:

Faizah relates how she feels on the first day her sister, sixth-grader Asiya, wears a hijab to school.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Picture Books
Maisie's Scrapbook
Author: Samuel Narh

Child Picture Book:

"As the seasons turn, Maisie rides her bull in and out of Dada's tall tales. Her Mama wears linen and plays the viola. Her Dada wears kente cloth and plays the marimba. They come from different places, but they hug her in the same way. And most of all, they love her just the same. A joyful celebration of a mixed-race family and the love that binds us all together."--publisher.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Picture Books
All Are Welcome
Author: Alexandra Penfold

Child Picture Book:

Illustrations and simple, rhyming text introduce a school where diversity is celebrated and songs, stories, and talents are shared.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Picture Books
Hey Black Child
Author: Useni Perkins

Child Nonfiction:

This picture book is "a lyrical, empowering poem that celebrates black children and seeks to inspire all young ones to dream big and achieve their goals"-- publisher.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Picture Books
A Different Pond
Author: Bao Phi

Child Picture Book:

This picture book by Minneapolis poet Bao Phi was a 2018 Caldecott Honor Book. "As a young boy, Bao Phi awoke early, hours before his father's long workday began, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. Unlike many other anglers, Bao and his father fished for food, not recreation. Between hope-filled casts, Bao's father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam"-- publisher.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Picture Books
Pink and Say
Author: Patricia Polacco

Child Picture Book: 

In the midst of terrible fighting in the Civil War, frightened young Union soldier Say Curtis describes his meeting with Pinkus Aylee, a Black Union soldier, and Pink's loving mother who sacrifices herself for their safety, and their ultimate capture by Southern troops. Based on a true story about the author's great-great-grandfather, this powerful story touches the heart of the reader.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Picture Books
The Breaking News
Author: Sarah Reul

Child Picture Book:

"When a girl's parents and community are overwhelmed by sudden bad news, she tries to imagine how to help."--publisher.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Picture Books
Our Future: How Kids are Taking Action
Author: Janet Wilson

Child Nonfiction:

"This picture book written and illustrated by Janet Wilson features 10 children who are social, political, and environmental activists from around the world who are making a difference in their communities, and countries. The children are concrete examples for other kids to show that you're never too young to mitigate change. From racism to cyber bullying, from gun violence to animal protection, they don't let their youth stop them from being heard. -- publisher.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Picture Books
The Day You Begin
Author: Jacqueline Woodson

Child Picture Book:

Other students laugh when Rigoberto, an immigrant from Venezuela, introduces himself but later, he meets Angelina and discovers that he is not the only one who feels like an outsider.  Also available in Spanish: El día en que descubres quién eres / Jacqueline Woodson

Where to Find:
bookcover
Picture Books
The Other Side
Author: Jacqueline Woodson

Child Picture Book:

Two young girls, one white and one black, would like to play together, but in their town, a fence divides them because of their skin color.

For a wonderful insight into author Jacqueline Woodson, see Teaching books.net accessible through the Infosoup under the name Jacqueline Woodson.

Where to Find:

Graphic Novel

bookcover
Graphic Novel
New Kid
Author: Jerry Craft

Child Graphic Novel:  Newbery Medal 2020

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade. As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds--and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

Where to Find:
bookcover
Graphic Novel
Colorblind: A Story of Racism
Author: Johnathan Harris

Child Nonfiction:

In this autobiographical graphic novel, "Johnathan Harris is fifteen, and lives in Long Beach, California, where he loves playing soccer with his friends, and listening to their favorite rapper, Snoop Dogg, a Long Beach native. His mom, dad, and three brothers are tight, but one of the most influential family members for Johnathan is his Uncle Russell, a convict in prison, serving fifteen years to life . . . Uncle Russell taught Johnathan from a very young age to see people from the perspective of their cultures, and not just their skin color. He imbued a pride of his ancestry and cautioned against letting hatred into his heart. But when Johnathan was just eight years old, something happened that filled him with fear and the very hatred that Uncle Russell had warned him about. What happened to Johnathan made him see that a dream of a colorless world was just that. A dream. That event shook him to his core. Anger grew inside him like a hot coal. Uncle Russell had told him to "throw it away or you will get burned," but Johnathan was young and frightened. He was having a hard time forgiving, much less forgetting. Colorblind is Johnathan's story of confronting his own racism and overcoming it. It is a story of hope and optimism that all, young and old, should heed."

Where to Find:
bookcover
Graphic Novel
They Called Us Enemy
Author: George Takei

Adult Nonfiction:

"A stunning graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei's childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father's -- and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future. In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten "relocation centers," hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard. They Called Us Enemy is Takei's firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother's hard choices, his father's faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future. What is American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do?" --publisher.

Where to Find:

Fiction

bookcover
Fiction
The Forgotten Girl
Author: India Brown

Child Fiction:

This ghost story includes elements of overcoming racism as well as shedding light on African-American graveyards that were left untended after the Great Migration of African-Americans north after the Civil War.  When eleven-year-old Iris sneaks out at night to make snow angels, she was not expecting to raise the ghost of Avery Moore, a girl her own age; but bringing to light the segregated and abandoned segregated cemetery seems like the perfect way to help Avery get the recognition she craves, and it will also be a good idea for the school project about the history of her small North Carolina town, where racial tensions are never far from the surface--only it seems that if Avery gets everything she wants Iris will join her as a ghost, best friends forever.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Fiction
Stella by Starlight
Author: Sharon Draper

Child Fiction:

When a burning cross set by the Klan causes panic and fear in 1932 Bumblebee, North Carolina, fifth-grader Stella must face prejudice and find the strength to demand change in her segregated town.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Fiction
The Other Half of My Heart
Author: Sundee Frazier

Child Fiction:

Twin daughters of interracial parents, eleven-year-olds Keira and Minna have very different skin tones and personalities, but it is not until their African American grandmother enters them in the Miss Black Pearl Pre-Teen competition in North Carolina that red-haired and pale-skinned Minna realizes what life in their small town in the Pacific Northwest has been like for her more outgoing, darker-skinned sister.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Fiction
The Last Last-Day-of-Summer
Author: Lamar Giles

Child Fiction:

When adventurous cousins Otto and Sheed Alston accidentally extend the last day of summer by freezing time, they find the secrets between the unmoving seconds are not as much fun as they expected.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Fiction
The Parker Inheritance
Author: Varian Johnson

Child Fiction:

Twelve-year-old Candice Miller is spending the summer in Lambert, South Carolina, in the old house that belonged to her grandmother, who died after being dismissed as city manager for having the city tennis courts dug up looking for buried treasure--but when she finds the letter that sent her grandmother on the treasure hunt, she finds herself caught up in the mystery and, with the help of her new friend and fellow book-worm, Brandon, she sets out to find the inheritance, exonerate her grandmother, and expose an injustice once committed against an African American family in Lambert.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Fiction
Long Way Down
Author: Jason Reynolds

Young Adult Fiction:

As Will, fifteen, sets out to avenge his brother Shawn's fatal shooting, seven ghosts who knew Shawn board the elevator and reveal truths Will needs to know.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Fiction
Tangled Threads: A Hmong Girl's Story
Author: Pegi Shea

Child Fiction:

After ten years surviving in a refugee camp in Thailand, thirteen-year-old Mai Yang travels to Providence, Rhode Island, where her Americanized cousins introduce her to pizza, shopping, and beer, while her grandmother and new friends keep her connected to her Hmong heritage.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Fiction
The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas

Young Adult Fiction:

After witnessing her friend's death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter's life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Fiction
As Fast As Words Could Fly
Author: Pamela Tuck

Child Fiction:

"A thirteen-year-old African American boy in 1960s Greenville, North Carolina, uses his typing skills to make a statement as part of the Civil Rights movement. Based on true events. Includes author's note"-- publisher.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Fiction
Piecing Me Together
Author: Renée Watson

Young Adult Fiction:

Tired of being singled out at her mostly-white private school as someone who needs support, high school junior Jade would rather participate in the school's amazing Study Abroad program than join Women to Women, a mentorship program for at-risk girls.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Fiction
One Crazy Summer
Author: Rita Williams-Garcia

Child Fiction:

In the summer of 1968, after traveling from Brooklyn from Grandmother and Father's home to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is too busy for them and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.  Grandmother's view of the world and her mother's view of the world couldn't be more different, and Delphine is challenged to decide what she thinks for herself.

Where to Find:

Nonfiction

bookcover
Nonfiction
Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship
Author: Irene Latham

Child Nonfiction:

Irene Latham, who is white, and Charles Waters, who is black, present paired poems about topics including family dinners, sports, recess, and much more. This relatable collection explores different experiences of race in America.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Nonfiction
Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court
Author: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Child Nonfiction:

"An autobiography about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and his life growing up in New York, becoming the basketball star he's known to be, and getting involved in the world around him as an activist for social change"- publisher.

Where to Find:
bookcover
Nonfiction
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Author: Michelle Alexander

Adult Nonfiction:

Argues that the War on Drugs and policies that deny convicted felons equal access to employment, housing, education, and public benefits create a permanent under caste based largely on race.

Where to Find: