Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

book covers

Reading list: Books and resources to help your family explore racial identity and social justice

Books, websites to help you start -- or continue -- the conversation with your family.

Scrolling through my social media feed this week, I came across this meme — “It’s a privilege to educate ourselves about racism and not experience it” (unknown author).

Now is the time to be intentional about what kinds of books, articles, magazines and podcasts we are ingesting, consciously making the choice to learn about systemic racism, examine our own beliefs and biases, educate ourselves and our children to become advocates for social justice.

“By not running from books that pain us, we can allow them to transform us. I ran from antiracist books most my life, but now I can’t stop running after them, scrutinizing myself and my society and in the process changing both.” -Ibram X. Kendi

Here are some recommended books and online resources to start — or continue — your family’s journey to understand your own racial identity and how to have courageous conversations with your children about racial injustice and inequality.

[Related: Read Elisabeth Lepine’s “road map” to help her family become socially conscious and antiracist]

Books for adults

Diangelo, Robin. “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism,” Beacon Press, June 2018.

Harvey, Jennifer. “Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America, “Abingdon Press, January 2018.

Irving, Debby. “Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race,” Elephant Room Press; January 9, 2014.

Kendi, Ibram X. “How To Be An Antiracist,” One World, 2019.

Oluo, Ijeoma. “So You Want To Talk About Race,” Seal Press, 2018.

Books for kids

Some directly address racism, while others can act as a springboard to teachable moments to discuss race, racial injustice and social justice:

Bates, Amy June. “The Big Umbrella,” Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books; February 2018.

Braswell, Kenneth. “Daddy, There’s A Noise Outside,” Fathers Incorporated, 2015.

Celano, Marianne. “Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice,” Magination Press, 2018.

Clark-Robinson. “Let the Children March,” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2018.

Katz, Karen. “The Color of Us,” New York : Henry Holt and Co., 1999.

Lester, Julius. “Let’s Talk About Race,” HarperCollins; 2005.

Mantchev, Lisa. “Strictly No Elephants,” Simon & Schuster; Oct. 2015.

Memory, Jelani. “A Kids Book About Racism,” Kids Book About, Inc. 2019. Penfold, Alexandra and Suzanne Kaufman.

All Are Welcome,” Knopf Books for Young Readers, July 2018.

Richardson, Jael Ealey. “The Stone Thrower,” Toronto, Groundwood Books, 2016.

Spilsbury, Louise. “Racism and Intolerance,” Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s, 2018.

Verde, Susan. “I Am Human: A Book of Empathy,” Abrams Books for Young Readers, Oct 2018.

Woodson, Jacqueline. “The Other Side,” New York : Putnam’s, 2001.

Online resources

Take Harvard University’s “Implicit Bias” test

Raising Race Conscious Children is a great resource for parents to help talk about race with young
children.

Embrace Race: Supporting caregivers to raise children who are brave, informed and thoughtful about race.

Find A Family Guide to Talking About Race at understandingrace.org

Courageous Conversation is a great resource with blogs, articles; testimonials, etc.

Teaching for Change has a great “teaching about race” section with great concrete examples of how to address topics of racism with children.

“Many Hues, One Humanity,” by brownicity.com. Anti-racism education and online courses

ADL.org has a long history of fighting hate for good

Colours of Us is a great resource for multicultural children’s books, toys and more

About the Author

Elisabeth Lepine

Elisabeth Lepine is an educator with a genuine interest in students’ cognitive and social growth. She is a hugger, a conversationalist, and biscuit & banana bread baker. Since moving to the Eastside of Seattle from NYC, she has discovered a new talent of keeping plants alive and running in any kind of weather. Photo Credit: Jeanette Eggerman Photography