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Books to Teach White Children and Teens How to Undo Racism and White Supremacy


Time and again we read that white children are not taught about race and racial injustice with the same frequency or at the same early age as their peers of color. Parents of white children often struggle to work conversations about race "naturally" into the flow of the day, believing that race, like sexuality or body development is a topic that necessitates a "big talk" in a time carved out from the flow of normal life. One of the easiest ways to do this is to have books around that prompt conversation and answer questions. Reading "diverse" books and cross-culturally is a great place to start. We also believe that one of the best ways to raise healthy, race-concious white children is to talk to them early and often about racial injustice and racial difference in the course of your daily family life.  We recommend the following books for all families, but especially for parents of white children who may be struggling to talk about racial injustice with their kids and teens. We intentionally only featured a handful of "history" books and did not include the many wonderful biographies and histories of movement leaders because, though we carry those books in our store, too often discussions of racial justice and racism focus on the past, on the Civil Rights Movement in isolation or on individual heroes. Change begins now, with white people, in this present moment. We hope this gives you a few ideas for starting places. As always, we encourage you to browse our store in person or buy online at  A more up-to-date version of this list can be found here:

Books to Teach White Children and Teens How to Undo Racism and White Supremacy
Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness (Ordinary Terrible Things) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781948340403
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Published: Dottir Press - November 17th, 2020

Featuring brand-new activity pages and additional learning material, the paperback edition of Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness is a picture book about racism and racial justice, inviting white children and parents to become curious about racism, accept that it's real, and cultivate justice.

A is for Activist Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609805395
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Published: Triangle Square - November 19th, 2013

One of NPR's Top 100 Book for Young Readers 

“Reading it is almost like reading Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, but for two-year olds—full of pictures and rhymes and a little cat to find on every page that will delight the curious toddler and parents alike.”—Occupy Wall Street

The Skin I'm In: A First Look at Racism (A First Look at…Series) Cover Image
By Lesley Harker (Illustrator), Pat Thomas
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ISBN: 9780764124594
Published: Sourcebooks Explore - March 1st, 2003

There are children experiencing the pain of racism. This book is here for you to help the cope with that abhorrent reality. Racial discrimination is cruel and inhumane especially so to younger children. This book encourages kids to accept and love what makes them different and beautiful.

Parents, teachers, and gift givers will find:

Let's Talk About Race Cover Image
By Julius Lester, Karen Barbour (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780064462266
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Published: HarperCollins - December 23rd, 2008

"This wonderful book should be a first choice for all collections and is strongly recommended as a springboard for discussions about differences.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

The Colors of Us Cover Image
By Karen Katz, Karen Katz (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780805071634
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Published: Square Fish - October 1st, 2002

A positive and affirming look at skin color, from an artist's perspective.

Seven-year-old Lena is going to paint a picture of herself. She wants to use brown paint for her skin. But when she and her mother take a walk through the neighborhood, Lena learns that brown comes in many different shades.

Brick by Brick Cover Image
By Giuliano Ferri, Giuliano Ferri (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9789888341184
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Published: mineditionUS - June 1st, 2016

The quintessential first book on peace. 

The essential resource for 20 years

The Skin You Live In Cover Image
By Michael Tyler, David Lee Csicsko (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780975958001
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Published: Chicago Children's Museum - April 1st, 2005

With the ease and simplicity of a nursery rhyme, this lively story delivers an important message of social acceptance to young readers. Themes associated with child development and social harmony, such as friendship, acceptance, self-esteem, and diversity are promoted in simple and straightforward prose.

Shades of People Cover Image
ISBN: 9780823423057
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Published: Holiday House - June 1st, 2010

Cocoa, tan, rose, and almond—people come in lots of shades, even in the same family.

Amazing Grace Cover Image
By Mary Hoffman, Caroline Binch (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780803710405
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Published: Dial Books - September 2nd, 1991

Grace loves stories, whether they're from books, movies, or the kind her grandmother tells. So when she gets a chance to play a part in Peter Pan, she knows exactly who she wants to be. Remarkable watercolor illustrations give full expression to Grace's high-flying imagination.

Who We Are!: All About Being the Same and Being Different (Let's Talk about You and Me) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780763669034
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Published: Candlewick - March 22nd, 2016

New York Times best-selling author Robie H. Harris helps preschoolers understand what makes us who we are — from our height to our hair, from the shade of our skin to our eyesight.

We Are All Born Free Mini Edition: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781847801517
Published: Frances Lincoln Children's Books - October 25th, 2011

Now in a mini edition! The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed on 10th December 1948. It was compiled after World War Two to declare and protect the rights of all people from all countries.

The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage: The Fight for Interracial Marriage Cover Image
By Selina Alko, Sean Qualls (Illustrator), Selina Alko (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780545478533
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Published: Arthur A. Levine Books - January 27th, 2015

"I support the freedom to marry for all. That's what Loving, and loving, are all about." -- Mildred Loving, June 12, 2007

For most children these days it would come as a great shock to know that before 1967, they could not marry a person of a race different from their own. That was the year that the Supreme Court issued its decision in Loving v.

Remember: The Journey to School Integration Cover Image
ISBN: 9780618397402
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Published: Clarion Books - May 3rd, 2004

Remember is a unique pictorial and narrative journey that introduces children to a watershed period in American history and its relevance to us today. This beautiful 80-page hardcover picture book is a Coretta Scott King Award winner.

Helping Teens Stop Violence, Build Community, and Stand for Justice Cover Image
ISBN: 9780897935685
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Published: Hunter House Publishers - July 5th, 2011

Helping Teens Stop Violence, Build Community, and Stand for Justice is a guide for adults who work with young people ages ten and up on issues related to youth leadership and social justice. It is also a training manual for adults who want to become effective allies to young people and develop the skills needed so that they can facilitate community building among youth.

Black Lives Matter (Special Reports) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781624038983
Published: Essential Library - November 1st, 2015

Black Lives Matter covers the shootings that touched off passionate protests, the work of activists to bring about a more just legal system, and the tensions in US society that these events have brought to light. Aligned to Common Core Standards and correlated to state standards. Essential Library is an imprint of Abdo Publishing, a division of ABDO.

No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250044457
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Published: Square Fish - August 12th, 2014

No Choirboy takes readers inside America's prisons and allows inmates sentenced to death as teenagers to speak for themselves. In their own voices—raw and uncensored—they talk about their lives in prison and share their thoughts and feelings about how they ended up there.

Beyond Heroes and Holidays: A Practical Guide to K-12 Anti-Racist, Multicultural Education and Staff Development Cover Image
By Enid Lee (Editor), Deborah Menkart (Editor), Margo Okazawa-Rey (Editor)
ISBN: 9781878554178
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Published: Teaching for Change - February 1st, 2007

An incredible, informative, collection of essays, articles, analysis, interviews, primary documents and interactive & interdisciplinary teaching aids on civil rights, movement building, and what it means for all of the inhabitants of the planet.

Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices Cover Image
By Mitali Perkins (Editor), Various
ISBN: 9780763690953
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Published: Candlewick - August 23rd, 2016

“Will leave readers thinking about the ways that humor can be a survival tool in a world that tends to put people in boxes.” — Publishers Weekly

Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story about Racial Injustice Cover Image
ISBN: 9781433828546
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Published: Magination Press - March 1st, 2018

Now A Minneapolis Children's Theatre Company Original World Premiere Production
American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom's Top 10 Most Challenged Books
A Little Free Library Action Book Club Selection
National Parenting Product Award Winner (NAPPA)

Layla's Head Scarf (We Love First Grade!) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781595721778
Published: Star Bright Books - September 1st, 2009

Layla, the new girl in first grade, is hesitant to participate in school-day activities because she is afraid that her head scarf makes her look too different from her classmates. But as the day progresses, and the curious first graders learn more about Layla's culture, they help to make her feel more comfortable in her new school.

Making It Right: Building Peace, Settling Conflict Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781554518098
Published: Annick Press - October 11th, 2016

What if there were no prisons? Alternative approaches to dealing with crime are underway around the world to explore how victims, offenders, and communities can heal rifts and repair damage. It's often called restorative justice. It's a way to think about the deeper reasons behind crimes, and suggests that by building more caring communities, it's possible to change our societies--and ourselves.

The Hate U Give Cover Image
By Angie Thomas, Amandla Stenberg (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780062498533
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Published: Balzer + Bray - February 28th, 2017

8 starred reviews · Goodreads Choice Awards Best of the Best  ·  William C. Morris Award Winner · National Book Award Longlist · Printz Honor Book · Coretta Scott King Honor Book · #1 New York Times Bestseller!

"Absolutely riveting!" —Jason Reynolds

Hands Up! Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525552314
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Published: Dial Books - January 22nd, 2019

This triumphant picture book recasts a charged phrase as part of a black girl's everyday life--hands up for a hug, hands up in class, hands up for a high five--before culminating in a moment of resistance at a protest march.

The Wedding Portrait Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781609808020
Published: Triangle Square - October 17th, 2017

The Wedding Portrait is an essential book for kids about standing up for what's right. Here are stories of direct action from around the world that are bookended by the author's wedding story. He and his bride led their wedding party to a  protest, and were captured in a photo by the local newspaper kissing in front of a line of police just before being arrested.

Tell Me Who You Are: Sharing Our Stories of Race, Culture, & Identity Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780525541127
Published: TarcherPerigee - June 4th, 2019

An eye-opening exploration of race in America

Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship Cover Image
ISBN: 9781512404425
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Published: Carolrhoda Books (R) - January 1st, 2018

Two poets, one white and one black, explore race and childhood in this must-have collection tailored to provoke thought and conversation.

How can Irene and Charles work together on their fifth grade poetry project? They don't know each other . . . and they're not sure they want to.

When a Bully is President: Truth and Creativity for Oppressive Times Cover Image
ISBN: 9781945289088
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Published: Reflection Press - September 4th, 2017

Self-Care for Kids This is not your usual kid's book This book is a call to BE, to step forward and LOVE yourself, LOVE your community, know your history and your powerful place in it and strengthen your own creative power This book is a tool to use. I created it because I know you are an important part of our world and your strength matters.