A Book List to Inspire Young Readers In Challenging Times

As we’ve witnessed protests from around the world in the name of justice and equality, it has become evident there is plenty of conversation to be had about the way society treats one another and what we can do to help make things better. It isn’t always an easy conversation to have, and it can be even more challenging when you’re faced with explaining our current state of affairs to children and teens.


While we don’t have all of the answers, we have hope; and we’ve compiled a list of books to share with young readers to help initiate conversations about race relations in America as well as instill confidence and love when those conversations are difficult. You can find these books at your local library as well as on our shelves.

A is for Activist by Innosanta Nagara

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A Terrible Thing Happened by Margaret Holmes
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman
Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi
Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki
Count Me In by Varsha Bajaj
Counting on Community by Innosanto Nagara Daddy Why Am I Brown?: A healthy conversation about skin color and family by Bedford F. Palmer
Happy in Our Skin by Fran Manushkin and Lauren Tobia
Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
I Am Enough by Grace Byers
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Islandborn by Junot Díaz
Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell
I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont & David Catrow
Trailblazer: The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson by Leda Schubert
She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman by Erica Armstrong Dunbar
Be Boy Buzz by Bell Hooks & Chris Raschka
The Bell Rang by James E. Ransome
We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices by Wade Hudson & Cheryl Willis Hudson
An ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing
Someday Is Now: Clara Luper and the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-ins by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Not Quite Snow White by Ashley Franklin
Dr. Wangari Maathai Plants a Forest by Rebel Girls
A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata
Firebird by Misty Copeland
Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry
Equality’s Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America by Deborah Diesen
Chocolate Me! by Taye Diggs
That Is My Dream! by Langston Hughes
Rap A Tap Tap: Here’s Bojangles Think of That! by Leo & Diane Dillon
Another by Christian Robinson
Just Like a Mama by Alice Faye Duncan & Charnelle Pinkney
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Peña
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Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester
Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America by Jennifer Harvey
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
Rosa by Nikki Giovanni
Seeds of Change by Jen Johnson
Sesame Street’s We’re Different, We’re the Same by Bobbi Jane Kates
Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story about Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard
Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o
The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
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The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial by Susan E. Goodman
The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
The Skin I’m In: A First Look at Racism by Pat Thomas
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
The Stone Thrower by Jael Ealey Richardson
The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford and Ekua Holmes
We March by Shane W. Evans

Let us know what you’ve been reading with the young readers in your life to help get through these times. Also, be sure to keep up with our Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program to keep your kids learning through fun resources like online storytimes, coloring sheets and more.

One thought on “A Book List to Inspire Young Readers In Challenging Times

  1. Or, y’know, we can just stop stereotyping POC as victims and start seeing them as human beings.
    And we can expose them to other cultures through these excellent books:

    Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe
    The Rough Faced Girl by Rafe Martin
    Who’s In Rabbit’s House? by Verna Aardema
    Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco
    In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord
    When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky by Lauren Stringer
    Black, White, Just Right! by Margaret W. Davol
    How My Parents Learned to Eat by Ina R. Friedman
    Apple Pie and Onions by Judith Caseley
    El Chino by Allen Say
    William’s Doll by Charlotte Zolotow
    Yo! Yes? by Chris Raschka
    A Story, A Story by Gail E. Haley
    Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears by Verna Aardema
    The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
    Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
    Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema
    Jambo Means Hello: Swahili Alphabet Book by Muriel Feelings
    The Legend of the Bluebonnet by Tomie DePaola
    I Hate English by Ellen Levine

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