Here are some resources for your consideration, to use on your own or with your children:
- Teaching Tolerance: Teaching About Race, Racism and Police Violence: https://www.tolerance.org/moment/racism-and-police-violence
- New York Times An Antiracist Reading List: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/29/books/review/antiracist-reading-list-ibram-x-kendi.html
- Your Kids Aren't Too Young to Talk About Race: Resource Roundup: https://www.prettygooddesign.org/blog/Blog%20Post%20Title%20One-5new4
Anti-Defamation League: lessons, table talks, and books:
- Table Talk: George Floyd, Racism, and Law Enforcement: https://www.adl.org/education/resources/tools-and-strategies/george-floyd-racism-and-law-enforcement
- Middle School Level lessons: https://www.adl.org/education-and-resources/resources-for-educators-parents-families/lessons?ed_cat_id%5b176%5d=176&ed_cat_id%5b216%5d=216&ed_cat_id%5b230%5d=230&grd_lvl%5bmiddle-school%5d=middle-school
- 100 Race Conscious Things You Can Say to Your Child – Conversation Starters: http://www.raceconscious.org/2016/06/100-race-conscious-things-to-say-to-your-child-to-advance-racial-justice/
- NPR: How White Parents Can Talk About Race: https://www.npr.org/2020/05/31/866426170/raising-white-kids-author-on-how-white-parents-can-talk-about-race
Social Justice Books book lists
Board Books: Ages 0 to 4A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
A bestselling ABC book that uses alliteration, rhyming and vibrant illustrations to introduce young children to activism, including civil rights, community, equality and justice.
This timely board book (out on June 16) outlines nine steps for building a more equitable world. It is bold and direct, with thoughtful text and bright illustrations, and is a great introduction to racism for toddlers.
An ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing and illustrated by Paulina Morgan
A chunky board book that is structured around the letters of the alphabet and aims to introduce young children to complicated concepts in an accessible way.
Picture Books: Ages 3 to 7
Ages 8 to 12
Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice by Mahogany L Browne with Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood and illustrated by Theodore Taylor III
This collection of poems by women of color covers topics relating to social justice, activism, discrimination and empathy, focusing on the need to speak out and inspiring middle-graders.
We Rise We Resist We Raise Our Voices edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson
This collection is a mix of poems, letters, personal essays, art and other works from 52 diverse children’s authors and illustrators. It features authors such as Jason Reynolds, Jacqueline Woodson and Kwame Alexander, all answering the question: In this divisive world, what shall we tell our children? It is heartfelt, inspirational and empowering.
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Ages 10 and up
Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams
This truly powerful novel delves deep into issues of colorism. It is often painful to read, as Genesis struggles with self-loathing, internalized racism, poverty and a verbally abusive family. Raw, honest and emotional, older middle-grade readers will fall in love with Genesis as they follow her battles and she finally learns to love herself.
A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée
This novel follows a young Black girl as she learns to navigate the world around her, investigating issues of race, racism, police brutality and racial injustice. It delves into the Black Lives Matter movement and the importance of protest as its twelve-year-old protagonist grows up and learns to find her voice.
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. Dead, he chronicles the aftermath of this injustice in a haunting, heartbreaking and powerful read.
Teen: Ages 12 and up
Say Her Name by Zetta Elliot
This collection of boldly illustrated poems pays tribute to victims of police brutality as well as the activists insisting that Black Lives Matter. It encompasses a range of styles and includes notes and back matter that details the inspiration and references for the poems.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi
This powerful reimagining of Dr. Ibram X Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped From the Beginning is balanced perfectly between the educational and the hopeful as it covers the deep-seated history of racist ideas in America, and also helps readers to identify and eradicate racist thoughts in their daily lives. Beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds brings an energizing narrative to Kendi’s work, and also lends his voice to the audiobook (highly recommend a listen, available on Libro.fm).
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The story of Starr Carter, a 16-year-old who sees her childhood best friend fatally shot by a police officer, has quickly become a staple on book lists like this one, designed to facilitate a conversation with young readers about police brutality and systemic racism in America. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s gripping debut is an absolute must-read.
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Justyce McAllister is a good kid, an honor student, and always there to help a friend—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. This gut-wrenching portrait of a young man reckoning with the persistent violence of social injustice is unapologetic in its spotlighting of historical and present racism in America. The highly anticipated sequel, Dear Justyce, comes out this fall and delivers an unflinching look into the flawed practices and silenced voices in the American juvenile justice system.