Even though we would like to believe that racism and discrimination do not exist. They are a sad part of our reality and is present in every aspect of our lives. These concepts can be very difficult to explain to a child, so we have prepared a list of books that will make the process a little easier.
The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles
The year is 1960, and six-year-old Ruby Bridges and her family have recently moved from Mississippi to New Orleans. A judge orders little Ruby to attend first grade at William Frantz Elementary, an all-white school. Ruby faces angry mobs of segregationists as she walks through the school door on her first day. Being the only student in her class she is taught by a supportive teacher. This is a moving picture book about a little girl’s calm perseverance and gracious forgiveness in the ugly face of hate and racism.
Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester
I am a story. So are you. So is everyone. Julius Lester says, “I write because our lives are stories. If enough of those stories are told, then perhaps we will begin to see that our lives are the same story. The differences are merely in the details.” In this book, Lester shares his own story as he explores what makes each of us special. He emphasizes that race is just one of many facets of a person.
Lillian’s Right To Vote by Jonah Winter
Lillian’s Right to Vote is a moving and lyrical account of black people’s fight for voting rights. An elderly African American woman, en route to vote, remembers her family’s tumultuous voting history in this picture book. Her great-grandfather voting for the first time, her parents trying to register to vote, herself marching in a protest from Selma to Montgomery. This book is beautifully illustrated.
My Name is Bilal by Asma Mobin-Uddin MD M.D.
A young boy wrestles with his Muslim identity in this picture book for children written by Dr. Asma Mobin-Uddin, with illustrations by Barbara Kiwak. When Bilal and his sister Ayesha move with their family, they have to attend a new school. They soon find out that they are the only Muslims there. My name is Bilal is a heartfelt story about a young boy struggling with his identity and a great starting point for discussions about prejudice and discrimination.
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is a 1976 novel by Mildred D. Taylor. It is a book about racism in America during the Great Depression and the Jim Crow era. The book tells the tale of one family’s struggle to maintain their integrity, pride, and independence in the face of racism and social injustice.