children's books, diverse books

So You Want to Talk About Race: Picture Book Recommendations for Kids

Have you started having conversations about race and racism with your children yet?  It’s a topic I have touched upon (in the most simplistic way) with my children on several occasions.  As they get older, these topics will become more important to talk about on a more regular basis.

If you’re thinking: “Why do I need to to talk to my children about race?” or “My kids are too young to start having those types of conversations?” or “Will talking about race promote racism or bigotry?” or “Isn’t that the teacher’s job?”  Think again.

I understand that talking about race can sometimes feel dangerous and overwhelming for some people, but it’s important work if we want to truly get to a place where all people are treated as equals. I believe it is crucial that we talk to our kids openly and honestly about race as soon as they are old enough to understand that people come in all different colors, shapes and sizes.

I think it’s important to give children the words and language to understand both the superficial outer differences between people, as well as the very real, lived differences that exist under the surface. As parents, caregivers and educators, we need to teach them to respect and value those differences as well as the many similarities that all people share.

The books I’ve listed here provide you with a sort of simple blueprint for educating your children or students about race and being unique. It helps them become more compassionate toward people and allows them to help push the lever toward true equality. In essence, these books helps kids to see beyond the superficial outward differences and look deeper for common interests, similar likes and dislikes, values, beliefs, and attitudes. We all have a story to tell.

Mariama: Different But Just the Same by Jerónimo Cornelles

Lovely by Jess Hong

Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt

Everybody Cooks Rice by Norah Dooley

All the Colors of the Earth by Sheila Hamanaka

Tan to Tamarind: Poems About the Color Brown by Malathi Michelle Iyengar

Skin Again
by Bell Hooks

The Colors of Us by Karen Katz

The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler

Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester

Shades of People by Sheila M. Kelly

Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children by Sandra L. Pinkney

Same, Same But Different by Jenny Sue

Happy In Our Skin by Fran Manushkin

I Am Mixed by Garcelle Beauvais

We All Sing With the Same Voice by J. Philip Miller

Whoever You Are by Mem Fox

What I Like About Me! by Allia Zobel Nolan

Chocolate Me! by Taye Diggs

Your turn: Which books would you add to this list?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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  • Reply Darrel Pontejo

    In choosing the right children’s book, they must also consider the content of it and also the lessons the kids will learn in reading those and the kids age.

    June 18, 2018 at 10:42 am
  • Reply William Pritchard

    Thank you for sharing other books my kids would start to enjoy. This is very helpful. Thanks!

    June 20, 2018 at 8:08 am
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