Books and Resources to Help You Raise Anti-Racist Children
by the Brightly Editors
America is still deeply racially divided. At Brightly we’re committed to helping you raise kids that are not only “not racist” but who are actively “anti-racist.” When we are anti-racist, we speak out against the human injustices that happen every day, because change does not come from staying silent.
It’s never too early to talk to children about race. According to HealthyChildren.org, “As early as 6 months, a baby’s brain can notice race-based differences. By ages 2 to 4, children can internalize racial bias. By age 12, many children become set in their beliefs — giving parents a decade to mold the learning process, so that it decreases racial bias and improves cultural understanding.”
Books play an important role in combating racial bias. Children need to see themselves and their experiences represented in the books they read, and perhaps even more crucial, they need to read about the experiences of people who are different from them. Sharing stories fosters empathy and understanding, allowing readers to gain new perspective by walking in someone else’s shoes.
Reading books featuring BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) characters and experiences provides a great way to start a conversation about race with the kids in your life. But support for these communities goes well beyond that. We’ve complied further reading resources for parents, caregivers, and educators — from how to talk to your kids about protests to understanding white privilege. If we truly wish to see change happen, it’s vital that we put in the work, with and for our children.
The 1619 Project: Born on the Water
The Name Jar
Love Makes a Family
Max and the Tag-Along Moon
I am Rosa Parks
Last Stop on Market Street
The King of Kindergarten
Back of the Bus
We Are a Garden
We Are Still Here!
I Am Enough
The Day You Begin
That Is My Dream!
My Dadima Wears a Sari
Of Thee I Sing
Malcolm LittlePreorder from:
Books for Tweens and Teens
What Is Juneteenth?
And We Rise
Brave. Black. First.
They Call Me Güero
Brown Girl Dreaming
This Is Your Time
What Is Black Lives Matter?
Count Me In
Bud, Not Buddy
It's Trevor Noah: Born a Crime
The Stars Beneath Our Feet
Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults)
The Hate U Give
145th Street: Short Stories
The Many Meanings of Meilan
Resources for Parents:
- How to Talk to Your Kids About Race: Books and Resources That Can Help (Brightly)
- Talking to Children About Racial Bias (HealthyChildren.org)
- How to Talk to Kids About Anti-Asian Violence (Parents.com)
- Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race (Academia)
- How silence can breed prejudice: A child development professor explains how and why to talk to kids about race (Washington Post)
- How to talk to your children about protests and racism (CNN)
- Why It’s Important to Talk to Your Child About Racism and Hate (Brightly)
- Anti-Racist Books and Resources for Our Readers (Penguin Random House)
- Here’s How Your Family Can Support the Asian American Community (Verywell Family)
- Books to Help Kids Understand the Fight for Racial Equality (Brightly)
- How to Diversify Your Child’s Bookshelves (Brightly)
Resources for Educators:
- Anti-Racism: Educators Must Do the Heavy Lifting (Learning for Justice)
- Five Activities to Promote Diversity in the Classroom (Purdue Global)
- Race Talk: Engaging Young People in Conversations about Race and Racism (ADL)
- Anti-Asian Violence: What Schools Should Start Doing About It (Education Week)
- 15 Classroom Resources for Discussing Racism, Policing, and Protest (Education Week)
- How Should I Talk about Race in My Mostly White Classroom? (ADL)
- Teaching Young Children about Race (Teaching for Change)
- Speaking Up Against Racism Around the Coronavirus (Learning for Justice)
- Social Justice Resources (The Children’s Community School)
More Anti-Racism Resources for Adults
- Harvard University’s Implicit Bias Test (Harvard)
- White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack (The National SEED Project)
- 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice (Medium)
- How Racism Invented Race in America, Ta-Nehisi Coates (The Atlantic)
- The Greatest White Privilege Is Life Itself (The Atlantic)
- The 1619 Project (The New York Times)
- White Allyship 101: Resources to Get To Work (Dismantle Collective)
- Anti-Racism Project
Editor’s Note: This article was published in 2020 and updated in 2022.