Books that Address Racial Injustice

Why Use Books that Address Racial Injustice? 

I remember hearing (I wish I could remember from where), that if you want to have a conversation with your child about a “heavy” topic… ask them what they know about it. For instance, in the case of racism, you might ask your child, “What do you know about racism?”

This is exactly what I did with my own son recently.

It opened up great dialogue, and I told him about the recent events that had me so heartbroken. I was hesitant to talk to my sensitive boy about the brutal killing of George Floyd. But, when he said, “But Mom, I thought that didn’t happen anymore!!”, it instantly reminded me that THIS was WHY we were having this conversation. It was to teach him that racial injustice is not just a thing of the past, it’s still happening right now. We talked more about what it meant to be an ally and a co-conspirator. We talked about so many important things.

And it stemmed from one question.

“What do you know about racism?”

Start there. Or start with a book. Whatever you do… start the conversation.

Books as Conversation Starters about Racial Injustice

As mentioned in the other blog posts in this series, the books listed below should be read by a teacher, or parent, before being placed on a bookshelf. Explicitly addressing questions that come up is so important while reading books on topics that may be challenging for kids to process on their own.

You might be inclined to call these “hard topics”, but re-frame that thinking… they are important topics!

All the books listed here can be found at a Toronto-based, Black-owned bookstore “A Different Booklist“. Please consider purchasing from them if you see a book that interests you.

Something Happened in Our TownSomething Happened in Our Town

Written by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard 

Illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin 

Ruth and the Green BookRuth and the Green Book

Written by Calvin Alexander Ramsey 

Illustrations by Floyd Cooper

The Village that Vanished

The Village That Vanished

Written by Anne Grifalconi

Illustrated by Kadir Nelson 

Racism and Intolerance

Racism and Intolerance

Written by Louise Spilsbury

Illustrated by Hanane Kai

Woke - A Young Poet's Call to Justice

WOKE – A Young Poet’s Call to Justice

Written by Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood

Art by Theodore Taylor

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise our Voices

This collection of work was a collaboration among fifty children’s authors and illustrators.

Grandaddy's Turn

Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box

Written by: Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein

Illustrations by: James E. Ransome