Books about racism for kids

As United Methodists examine ways to end racial injustice, introducing books about racism to children can help a younger generation be part of the solution. Photo by Aw Creative on Unsplash.
As United Methodists examine ways to end racial injustice, introducing books about racism to children can help a younger generation be part of the solution. Photo by Aw Creative on Unsplash.

The conversation about race should not limited to adults. Bringing children into calm, educated discussions can help a younger generation confront the reality of racism and be part of the solution in ending racial injustice. The following books were recommended by our friends at the General Commission on Race and Religion.

"The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats“The Snowy Day”
One of a series, this book by Ezra Jack Keats, features a black boy who experiences the joy of a snowy day in his city. First published in 1962, the book is lauded for breaking the color barrier for mainstream children’s literature. Other titles in the series are "A Letter to Amy," "Hi, Cat!," and "Whistle for Willie." (Recommended for ages birth to 3 years old.)

"Hair Love" by Matthew A. Cherry

 

“Hair Love”
The book that inspired an Oscar-winning short film, “Hair Love” tells the sweet story of author Matthew A. Cherry, a black father, learning to do his daughter’s hair for the first time. (Recommended for ages 3 to 5.)

"The Youngest Marcher" by Cynthia Levinson“The Youngest Marcher”
Cynthia Levinson tells the true and shocking story of 9-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks, who, in 1963, was jailed for a week along with hundreds of other children following a Birmingham civil rights march. (Recommended for ages 5-8.)

"Resist: 35 Profiles of Oridnary People Who Rose Up Against Tyranny and Injustice" by Vernoica Chambers

 

“Resist: 35 Profiles of Ordinary People Who Rose Up Against Tyranny and Injustice”
Veronica Chambers, a senior editor at The New York Times, gathered inspiring stories from the past 500 years, each with a lesson for our kids about how to fight injustice in their own lives. (Recommended for ages 9-12.)

"All American Boys" by Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds“All American Boys”
The book, written by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, looks at the effects of police brutality from the perspective of two teenage boys, one white, the other black. Written in tandem, the story recounts the complications that spin out of a violent moment, causing reverberations throughout families, school and a town.  (Recommended for ages 12 and older.)

 

In addition to reading and discussing books together, check out these tips on how to address racism with kids, as well as a list of additional resources. Check out this list for books for adults to read on the topic. 

You will find additional information and resources about racial justice here.

Crystal Caviness, who works for UMC.org at United Methodist Communications, compiled this list of books based on recommendations by staff at the General Commission on Religion and Race. You may reach her by email or at 615-742-5138.

This article was published on June 9, 2020.