Books to Empower & Foster Understanding about Race and Social Justice for Kids and Teens

Four years ago, we shared a book list aimed at kids, tweens, and teens to help them understand and talk about social justice, race, and cultural awareness. It came on the heels of the shooting deaths of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, and soon after the shooting deaths of five Dallas police officers.

Today, we’re updating that list to again address the topics of diversity, social justice, and equality following the death of George Floyd. As a public institution, we are committed to achieving racial and social equity by contributing to a more just society in which all community members can realize their full potential.

It can be difficult to discuss with children and young adults the images and information they’re seeing in the media…again. We hope these books are helpful in starting the conversation.

Para niños y adolescentes: libros para empoderar y fomentar la comprensión sobre raza y justicia social.

Hace cuatro años, compartimos una lista de libros dirigida a niños, preadolescentes y adolescentes para ayudarlos a comprender y hablar sobre justicia social, raza y conciencia cultural. La lista se produjo inmediatamente después de la muerte de dos hombres negros en un tiroteo en Louisiana y Minnesota, y poco después de la muerte de cinco policías de Dallas en otro tiroteo.

Hemos actualizando dicha lista para abordar nuevamente los temas de diversidad, justicia social e igualdad después de la muerte de Floyd. Como institución pública, estamos comprometidos a lograr la equidad racial y social contribuyendo a una sociedad más justa en la que todos los miembros de la comunidad puedan alcanzar su máximo potencial.

Discutir con los niños y jóvenes adultos las imágenes y la información que vemos en los medios, puede ser difícil. Esperamos que estos libros sean útiles para comenzar la conversación. (La mayoría de los libros son en inglés y están disponibles en múltiples formatos: impreso, digital, audiolibro.)

Books for Children

Children’s Picture / Board Books

Something Happened in Our Town by Marianne Celano, et al, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin

Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky (releases mid-June)

The Day You Begin/ El día en que descubres quién eres by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael López

My Hair Is a Garden by Cozbi A. Cabrera

Dreamers / Soñadores by Yuyi Morales

Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue and Corinne J. Naden

Where Are You From? / ¿De dónde eres? by Yamile Saied Méndez

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold, Suzanne Kaufman

Chocolate Me! by Taye Diggs

Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed

The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson

Usha and the Stolen Sun by Bree Galbraity

Crown, An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes

Don’t Touch My Hair! by Sharee Miller

Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration by Samara Cole Doyon, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita

Honeysmoke: A Story of Finding Your Color by Monique Fields, illustrated by Yesenia Moises

That is My Dream! by Langston Hughes, Daniel Miyares

Children’s Fiction

Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes

The Only Black Girls in Town by Brandy Colbert

Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968 by Alice Faye Duncan, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Blended by Sharon M. Draper

Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz with Renée Watson

A Sky Full of Stars by Linda Williams Jackson

It All Comes Down to This by Karen English

Children’s Biography / Nonfiction

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Young Water Protectors: A Story about Standing Rock by Aslan & Kelly Tudor

Richard Wright: Author and World Traveler by Duchess Harris with Tammy Gagne

The Tulsa Race Riot by Duchess Harris with A. R. Carser

How to Make a Better World: For Every Kid Who Wants to Make a Difference by Keilly Swift ; illustrated by Rhys Jefferys

This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell; illustrated by Aurélia Durand

The Impact of Black Churches on the Civil Rights Movement by Duchess Harris with Martha London

The Unsung Hero of Birdsong USA by Brenda Woods

Enough! 20 Protesters who Changed America by Emily Easton; illustrated by Ziyue Chen

This Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story inquality by Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy

The Long Ride by Marina Budhos

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise our Voices edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson

The Little Book of Little Activists with an introduction by Bob Bland

Books for Teens

Teen Fiction and Poetry

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

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

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds

Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Peña

Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes

Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson

Teen Graphic Novels

March: Books One, Two, and Three by John Lewis

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

Teen Nonfiction/Biography

Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos

We Are Not Yet Equal: Understanding Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson

Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

How I Resist: Activism and Hope for a New Generation ed. By Maureen Johnson

Want even more book recommendations?

Read the blog: The Protests in Context: Books about Race, Racism, and Social Struggle (6/2/2020)

Read the blog: Social Justice, Race, and Cultural Awareness: Books for Kids, Tweens, and Teens (7/16/2016)