23 Books on Race and Equality for Young Children

It is incumbent upon white Americans to be stronger, more active, and more consistent allies in the fight for racial equality. White parents, in particular, must ask ourselves how we can raise children who will be part of the solution to the racial inequities and injustices that pervade our society. Children perceive race before they’re even a year old, so our work in raising antiracist children needs to start at the very beginning. We need to introduce our children to the concepts of representation and inclusivity early and often, and one easy way to do this is by thoughtfully choosing the books we read to them.

The lack of representation and inclusivity has long been an issue in children’s literature. A 2019 study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison showed that more children’s books featured animals as main characters than depicted Black, Asian, Latinx, or Indigenous characters. Unfortunately, it’s much harder to find children’s books that are widely representative than it should be. We know that it’s incredibly important for people of color to see themselves represented in media, but it’s also very important for white children to see characters unlike themselves, too.

Here is a list that we’ve compiled for books that we recommend parents read to their young kids, starting from birth. Some of these books are examples of the type of representation we want to see more of in children’s books, and others teach valuable lessons of inclusion and equality. And we want to be clear — this is just one small step that parents can take. There are so many things that white parents can do to become better allies. We should read books and educate ourselves about race in America. We should talk to our kids about race and white privilege. We should model antiracism for our kids by thinking critically about everyday choices and actions we make. We should recognize that this is just the beginning of a long conversation, and that our efforts toward raising antiracist children should be an integral part of our everyday lives.

Ages 0-2: A playful and rhythmic book that celebrates babies from around the world

Ages 0-2: Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes
Ages 0-2:an adorable peekaboo book that babies and toddlers love to play along with
Ages 0-2: Peekaboo Morning

Ages 0-2: Celebrates 18 trailblazing Black women in American history, all in the perfecdt bedtime story

Ages 0-2: Dream Big, Little One
Ages 0-2: Teachers your child how to say,” I love you” in 10 different languages-and celebrates those cultures along the way
Ages 0-2: How Do You Say I Love You?
Ages 0-2: Not your standard alphabet book. Teaches your child the ABC’s, alongside lessons about activism, justice, protest, and equality
Ages 0-2: A is for Activist
Ages 2-4: The world would be so boring if everyone was the same. This book celebrates our differences, while reminding readers that deep down, we’re all alike
Ages 2-4: We're Different, We're the Same
Ages 2-4: It’s easy to celebrate a book that features a young Black girl who loves Science. Plus this a funand playful book to read
Ages 2-4: Ada Twist, Scientist
Ages 2-4: A great example of the type of families we’d love to see more of in children’s books
Ages 2-4: One Word from Sophia
Ages 2-4: A book for anyone who has ever been stumped by the question, “Where are you from?” It is a powerful book on self-acceptance and identity
Ages 2-4: Where Are You From?
Ages 2-4: Sophia and her abuelo inspire young change-makers everywhere as she navigates the local government to make changes in her town
Ages 2-4: Sofia Valdez, Future Prez
Ages 2-4: All about loving and celebrating who you are
Ages 2-4: I Am Enough
Ages 2-4: Follows a boy and his grandma as they travel to a soup kitchen by bus and meet interesting and unique people along the way
Ages 2-4: Last Stop on Market Street
Ages 4-6: Teaches kids how to navigate a world when they don’t feel like they fit in
Ages 4-6: The Day You Begin
Ages 4-6: A beautiful story that aims to teach Black girls- and everyone- that dark skin is beautiful
Ages 4-6: Sulwe
Ages 4-6: Take your kids on a journey around the globe
Ages 4-6: This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World
Ages 4-6: Beautiful in it’s simplicity. The book celebrates how all families are a little bit different
Ages 4-6: One Family
Ages 4-6: Another celebration of what makes us unique, while striving to spark conversation between you and your child
Ages 4-6: Let's Talk About Race
Ages 4-6: Every girl should have on their bookshelf. It celebrates all the qualities that make ALL girls beautiful- independence, strength, uniqueness, and fun
Ages 4-6: Beautiful
Ages 4-6: An important book that tells the stories of Black trailblazers in American history
Ages 4-6: Little Leaders : Bold Women in Black History
Ages 4-6: Learn about the first African American woman to travel to space
Ages 4-6: Mae Among the Stars
Ages 4-6:Celebrates acceptance and compassion
Ages 4-6: I Am Human: A Book of Empathy
Ages 4-6: This book isn’t meant to be read and put away, but should be a conversation starter for you and your family
Ages 4-6: A Kids Book About Racism
Ages 4-6: Follows 2 families as they discuss the police shooting a Black man in their community. It explores the concepts of injustice and trauma in a way that young children can understand
Ages 4-6: Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story About Racial Injustice

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