Social Justice, Race, & Cultural Awareness: Books for Kids, Tweens, & Teens

In the midst of our nation’s most recent social turmoil – following the shooting deaths of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, and soon after the shooting deaths of five Dallas police officers – you may find it difficult to discuss with children and young adults the images and information they’re seeing in the media.

In recent days, the Library District’s librarians, outreach leaders, and staff members have been asked for resources for parents and caregivers to use to talk to their children and young friends about diversity, social justice, race, and cultural awareness.

We’ve put together a list of library materials as well as links to outside resources that you may find helpful as you discuss these important issues in your family. By no means is this list meant to represent every resource available nor every topic around diversity, but it’s a good starting point following recent events.

As a public institution dedicated to providing universal access to information and ideas for all community members, the topics of diversity, social justice, cultural awareness, and respect are ones we take seriously.


Books for Children

A Kid’s Guide to Arab American History by Yvonne Wakim Dennis, Maha Addasi

A is for Activist  by Innosanto Nagara

All the Colors We Are: the Story of How We Get our Skin Color  by Katie Kissinger

Child of the Civil Rights Movement  by Paula Young Shelton

Each Kindness  by Jacqueline Woodson

Let’s Talk About Race  by Julius Lester

Little You  by Richard Van Camp

One Crazy Summer  by Rita Williams-Garcia

Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: a Migrant’s Tale  by Duncan Tonatiuh

Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes  by Juan Felipe Herrera

Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & her Family’s Fight for Desegregation  by Duncan Tonatiuh

Shades of Black: a Celebration of our Black Children by Sandra L. Pinkney

Smoky Night by Eve Bunting

Somewhere Today: a Book of Peace  by Shelly Moore Thomas

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold

We March by Shane W. Evans

Wings by Christopher Myers

Yo! Yes?  by Chris Raschka




Books for Tweens

Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly

Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton

If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse  by Joseph Marshall III




Books for Teens

A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose

How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon

March: Book One by John Lews and Andrew Aydin

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row by Susan Kuklin

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Santa Claus in Baghdad and Other Stories about Teens in the Arab World by Elsa Marston


River’s Mouth Blog

We Need Diverse Books: Middle Grade Reader Edition

We Need Diverse Books: Picture Book Edition


Other Resources

Explaining the News to Our Kids (Common Sense Media)

Talking with Kids (PBS)

Where to Find Diverse Books  (We Need Diverse Books)