Books about Racism for Children and Teens

Books About Racism Are Important

Books don’t save.

Only Jesus saves.

But books can be terrific discussion starters, particularly when we want to discuss current events, understand a different point of view, or simply show our children the tremendous diversity the Lord put in his creation.

These are some of the books we have found helpful in bringing up good conversation about race and racism with children and teens. We hope they are helpful to you, too.

Readers, we hope you do not visit this list this week and move on. We have reviewed these books over the years because they are always important.

Books About Racism for Children and Teens

Please note: this list focuses on books that intentionally bring up race in a proactive manner and/or books that showcase different cultures in today’s world rather than historical fiction. Titles are linked to our reviews where applicable.

Preschool and Early Elementary (~ages 4-8)

We recommend starting with: God’s Very Good Idea by Trillia Newbell and illustrated by Catalina Echeverri if you haven’t read it already.

God’s Very Good Idea by Trillia Newbell and illustrated by Catalina Echeverri (see also Catalina Echeverri’s Bible picture books (such as The One O’Clock Miracle, The Storm that Stopped, and others)The Watcher by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Brian CollierHow Sweet the Sound: the Story of Amazing Grace by Carole Boston WeatherfordThe Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Kadir NelsonThe Myra Tibbs series by Crystal Allen. (Positive portrayal of a black family by a Christian author, ages 7-10.)

Middle Grades (~ages 9-12)

We recommend starting with Save Me a Seat or New Kid if you haven’t read them already.

New Kid by Jerry Craft (graphic novel) (ages 10-14)Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan (ages 9-12)Jason Reynolds’s Track series (ages 10-15)The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (ages 10-15)A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park (ages 9-12)Tangerine by Edward Bloor (ages 10-15)I, Too, Am America by Bryan Collier (ages 9-13) The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, U.S.A. by Brenda Woods (ages 9-13)Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson (ages 9-12) (review coming)

Teens (~ages 13-18)

We recommend starting with Under Our Skin by Benjamin Watson if you haven’t already read it.

Under Our Skin by Benjamin Watson (nonfiction; highly recommended) (ages 15 and up although it could be read with/discussed with younger teens as well)One Last Word by Nikki Grimes (poetry) (ages 12-15)Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (ages 12-15)Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park (ages 10-15)The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kwakwamba (ages 12-15)Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures, edited by Mitali Perkins (ages 15-18)The Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore (nonfiction; ages 16 and up)Devotion by Adam Markos (nonfiction, ages 16 and up)Related Reading from Redeemed Reader

Book List: Black History Month Nonfiction Book List (read these all year!)Book List: Black History Picture Books for Tweens and Teens (all are good discussion starters)Reflection: Historical Racism (about racism in older “classic” titles)Browse: Browse our Multicultural category for more!Readers, let us know your favorite books about race for children and teens in the comments!
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