Conversation Starters: anti-racism books for kids, teens and parents - MetroFamily Magazine
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Conversation Starters: anti-racism books for kids, teens and parents

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

Conversations about race, racial injustice and equality are hard but are essential to cultivating an inclusive community. Because books can be great conversation starters, we asked our readers and a local expert for their go-to books for kids, teens and parents looking to learn more about diversity and anti-racism. Here are a dozen resources, broken down by age, to help metro families engage in important dialog.

For kids:

  • You Matter – Christian Robinson
  • Author-illustrator Christian Robinson shares an important message of self-worth, moving readers through a range of perspectives reflecting the diversity of life in every scene.
  • Someday Is Now – Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
  • Follow along as a group of young kids become inspirational heroes of the Civil Rights movement led by Oklahoma City activist Clara Luper.
  • Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters – Barack Obama
  • President Obama pens a tribute to thirteen groundbreaking Americans and the traits of those heroes he sees in his own children and in all American children.
  • Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy – Tony Medina
  • Medina shares thirteen views of everyday life for young men of color through poems highlighted by artistic renderings.
  • Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness – Anastasia Higginbotham
  • The latest in the Ordinary Terrible Things series, Higginbotham explores racial injustice through the experience of a young white girl after she sees news coverage of a police shooting.


For teens:

  • New Kid – Jerry Craft
  • This graphic novel follows seventh-grader Jordan Banks and his journey as the new kid at a prestigious private school. Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.
  • March – ‎John Lewis‎, ‎Andrew Aydin‎ & ‎Nate Powell
  • March is a first-hand account of John Lewis’ struggle for civil and human rights.
  • This Book is Anti-Racist – Tiffany Jewell, illustrated by Aurelia Durand
  • Written for the young person who doesn’t know how to speak up against racial injustice, Jewell writes about racism and how to undo it.


For parents:

  • Between the World and Me –  Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • In an emotionally charged personal narrative, Coates attempts to answer questions about our nation’s history of racism and current racial injustices in a letter to his adolescent son.
  • Your Black Friend and Other Strangers – Ben Passmore
  • This culturally charged collection of comics tackles race, gentrification, the prison system and other complex racial issues with relatable humor.
  • So You Want to Talk about Race – Ijeoma Oluo
  • Oluo guides readers through racially charged subjects in an honest conversation about race and racism in America.
  • How To Be An Anti-Racist – Ibram X. Kendi
  • Kendi points readers to a new way of thinking about what an anti-racist society looks like and how readers can play a role in building it.


More reader recommended books about diversity:

I am Enough by Grace Byers

I’m Like You, You’re Like Me by Cindy Gainer

The Colors of Us by Karen Katz

Beautiful by Stacy McAnulte

Game Changer: John McLendon and the Secret Game by John Coy

A Girl Named Misty by Kelly Starling Lyons

Hair Love By Matthew A. Cherry

I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty

Firebird by Misty Copeland

If You Were a Kid During The Civil Rights Movement by Gwendolyn Hooks

Teach Your Dragon about Diversity by Steve Herman

Mae Among The Stars by Roda Ahmed

Other People’s Children by Lisa Delpit

Who Were the Tuskagee Airmen? by Sherri L. Smith

Same, Same But Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song by Debbie Levy

I am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer

Chachaji’s Cup by Uma Krishnaswami

Something Happened in Our Town by Ann Hazzard, Marianne Celano and Marietta Collins


Special thanks to Literati Press Bookshop and our readers for recommending the above books about racism and equality. Literati Press Bookshop opened in the Paseo Arts District in 2016 and focuses on innovative and progressive storytelling in comics, novels and non-fiction. Literati Press also maintains a publishing and mentorship wing to give a platform to established and emerging storytellers throughout the state. They are open seven days a week from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Find more information at or @literatipress on social media. 

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