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Book List from Community Conversation: How to talk to your kids about race, equity, and inclusion.

Updated: May 2, 2023

Compiled by Kate Excellent, LICSW (she/her/hers)


The Proudest Blue: A story of Hajab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad (Author), Hatem Aly (Illustrator)


With her new backpack and light-up shoes, Faizah knows the first day of school is going to be special. It's the start of a brand new year and, best of all, it's her older sister Asiya's first day of hijab--a hijab of beautiful blue fabric, like the ocean waving to the sky. But not everyone sees hijab as beautiful, and in the face of hurtful, confusing words, Faizah will find new ways to be strong.



All the Colors We Are/Todos Los Colores de Nuestra Piel


The Story of How We Get Our Skin Color/La Historia de Por Qué Tenemos Diferentes Colores de Piel by Katie Kissinger


Celebrate the essence of one way we are all special and different from one another--our skin color! This bilingual (English/Spanish) book offers children a simple, scientifically accurate explanation about how our skin color is determined by our ancestors, the sun, and melanin. It’s also filled with colorful photographs that capture the beautiful variety of skin tones. Reading this book frees children from the myths and stereotypes associated with skin color and helps them build positive identities as they accept, understand, and value our rich and diverse world. Unique activity ideas are included to help you extend the conversation with children.



An ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing, Illustrated by Paulina Morgan


From A to Z, simple explanations accompanied by engaging artwork teach children about the world we live in and how to navigate our way through it. Each right-hand page includes a brightly decorated letter with the word it stands for and an encouraging slogan. On the left, a colourful illustration and bite-size text sum up the concept. Cheerful people from a range of backgrounds, ethnicities, and abilities lead the way through the alphabet.

  • L is for LGBTQIA. Find the words that make you, you.

  • N is for No. No means no.

  • P is for Privilege. Be aware of your advantages.

  • X is for Xenophobia. Ask questions and you’ll see there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Ask more Questions, share your Kindness, and learn to Understand the world.




Antiracist Baby Picture Book by Ibram X. Kendi (Author), Ashley Lukashevsky (Illustrator)


Take your first steps with Antiracist Baby! Or rather, follow Antiracist Baby's nine easy steps for building a more equitable world.


With bold art and thoughtful yet playful text, Antiracist Baby introduces the youngest readers and the grown-ups in their lives to the concept and power of antiracism. Providing the language necessary to begin critical conversations at the earliest age, Antiracist Baby is the perfect gift for readers of all ages dedicated to forming a just society.




Intersection Allies: We Make Room for All by Chelsea Johnson (Author), LaToya Council (Author), Carolyn Choi (Author), Ashley Seil Smith (Illustrator)


The brainchild of three women-of-color sociologists, IntersectionAllies is a smooth, gleeful entry into intersectional feminism for kids. Featuring gorgeous illustrations on every page and powerful introductions by activist and law professor Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw, who coined the term “intersectionality,” and Dr. Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro, author of Intersectionality: An Intellectual History, the story's nine characters proudly describe themselves and their backgrounds, involving topics that range from a physical disability to language brokering, offering an opportunity to take pride in a personal story and connect to collective struggle for justice.

The group bond grounds the message of allyship and equality. When things get hard, the kids support each other for who they are: Parker defends Kate, a genderfluid character who eschews skirts for a superhero cape; Heejung welcomes Yuri, a refugee escaping war, into their community; and Alejandra’s family cares for Parker after school while her mother works. Advocating respect and inclusion, IntersectionAllies is a necessary tool for learning to embrace, rather than shy away from, difference.




Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano PhD (Author), Marietta Collins PhD (Author), Ann Hazzard PhD (Author), Jennifer Zivoin (Illustrator)


Something Happened in Our Town follows two families — one White, one Black — as they discuss a police shooting of a Black man in their community. The story aims to answer children's questions about such traumatic events, and to help children identify and counter racial injustice in their own lives.


Includes an extensive Note to Parents and Caregivers with guidelines for discussing race and racism with children, child-friendly definitions, and sample dialogues. Free, downloadable educator materials (including discussion questions) are available at www.apa.org.


From the Note to Parents and Caregivers:


There are many benefits of beginning to discuss racial bias and injustice with young children of all races and ethnicities:

  • Research has shown that children even as young as three years of age notice and comment on differences in skin color.

  • Humans of all ages tend to ascribe positive qualities to the group that they belong to and negative qualities to other groups.

  • Despite some parents’ attempts to protect their children from frightening media content, children often become aware of incidents of community violence, including police shootings.

  • Parents who don’t proactively talk about racial issues with their children are inadvertently teaching their children that race is a taboo topic. Parents who want to raise children to accept individuals from diverse cultures need to counter negative attitudes that their children develop from exposure to the negative racial stereotypes that persist in our society.



I Am Enough by Grace Byers (author), Keturah A. Bobo (illustrator)


This gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another comes from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo.

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





Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy by Tony Medina (Author), Javaka Steptoe (Illustrator), R. Gregory Christie (Illustrator), Ekua Holmes (Illustrator), Floyd Cooper (Illustrator)


These short, vibrant tanka poems about Black boys and young men depict thirteen views of everyday life: dressed in Sunday best, running to catch a bus, growing up to be teachers, and much more. Each of Tony Medina’s tanka is matched with a different artist—including recent Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Award recipients.






Freedom River (Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Books) by Doreen Rappaport (Author), Bryan Collier (Illustrator)


Based on a true slave escape story, this picture book for older children combines an exciting, heartrending narrative with dramatic collage and watercolor pictures. John Parker was an ex-slave who became a successful businessman and an active conductor on the Underground Railroad. On one of his journeys, he helped an African American couple escape with their baby from the slave state of Kentucky to the free state of Ohio. The white owner knew the slave parents would never leave their child behind, so he had the baby sleep at the foot of his bed; but Parker stole the baby, tricked the master, and led the family across the river to freedom. Rappaport frames the incident with a biography of Parker, who may have helped as many as 900 African Americans. In a note, illustrator Bryan Collier speaks about his pictures, but his main commentary is about his own religion: he believes that Parker's story is about the power of prayer. His spiritual message will appeal to some readers; others will find it intrusive and simply focus on the inspiring story and stirring narrative pictures. Grade 3-5

Hazel Rochman, American Library Association




What Lane? by Torrey Maldonado (Author)


"If you are wondering how to begin confronting Anti-Black racism in your classroom, start with What Lane?"--School Library Journal: The Classroom Bookshelf


"STAY IN YOUR LANE." Stephen doesn't want to hear that--he wants to have no lane.


Anything his friends can do, Stephen should be able to do too, right? So when they dare each other to sneak into an abandoned building, he doesn't think it's his lane, but he goes. Here's the thing, though: Can he do everything his friends can? Lately, he's not so sure. As a mixed kid, he feels like he's living in two worlds with different rules--and he's been noticing that strangers treat him differently than his white friends . . .


So what'll he do? Hold on tight as Stephen swerves in and out of lanes to find out which are his--and who should be with him.




The Undefeated (Caldecott Medal Book) by Kwame Alexander (Author), Kadir Nelson (Illustrator)


Winner of the 2020 Caldecott Medal

A 2020 Newbery Honor Book

Winner of the 2020 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award


The Newbery Award-winning author of THE CROSSOVER pens an ode to black American triumph and tribulation, with art from a two-time Caldecott Honoree.


Originally performed for ESPN's The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world's greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present. Robust back matter at the end provides valuable historical context and additional detail for those wishing to learn more.




Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds (Author), Ibram X. Kendi (Author)


The crucial, empowering, #1 New York Times bestselling exploration of racism—and antiracism—in America.

This is NOT a history book.

This is a book about the here and now.

A book to help us better understand why we are where we are.

A book about race.


The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi's National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.


Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas--and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.




Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults): A True Story of the Fight for Justice by Bryan Stevenson (Author)


The young adult adaptation of the acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestseller Just Mercy--now a major motion picture starring Michael B. Jordan, Jaime Foxx, and Brie Larson and the subject of an HBO documentary feature!


In this very personal work--adapted from the original #1 bestseller, which the New York Times calls "as compelling as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so"--acclaimed lawyer and social justice advocate Bryan Stevenson offers a glimpse into the lives of the wrongfully imprisoned and his efforts to fight for their freedom.


Stevenson's story is one of working to protect basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society--the poor, the wrongly convicted, and those whose lives have been marked by discrimination and marginalization. Through this adaptation, young people of today will find themselves called to action and compassion in the pursuit of justice.


A portion of the proceeds of this book will go to charity to help in Stevenson's important work to benefit the voiceless and the vulnerable as they attempt to navigate the broken U.S. justice system.




Dear Martin by Nic Stone (Author)


#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • WILLIAM C. MORRIS AWARD FINALIST • ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE’S 100 BEST YA BOOKS OF ALL TIME


After a traffic stop turns violent at the hands of the police, a young Black teen grapples with racism—and what it means for his future. Critically acclaimed author Nic Stone boldly tackles America’s troubled history with race relations in her gripping debut novel.


"Raw and gripping." –JASON REYNOLDS,#1 New York Times bestselling co-author of Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You


Justyce is a good kid, an honor student, and always there to help a friend—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs without cause.


When faced with injustice, Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.


Then comes the day Justyce and a friend spark the fury of an off-duty cop. Words fly, shots are fired, and the boys get caught in the crosshairs. But in the media fallout, it's Justyce who is under attack.


"We can help our children understand that they can be part of the solution rather than be part of the problem. - Dr. Pragya Agarwa


Get all of these titles where ever books are sold and through your public libraries.

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