6 books to teach young kids about race & inequality

Books can tell us so much about ourselves and the world around us. They can also be a powerful way to change the world for the better, teaching our children about themselves and others in a positive way — including about race and racism, diversity and inequality.

There are lots of great books for children about race, diversity and ethnicity being talked about. Some address the topic of racism or difference head-on. Some feature characters of colour front and centre. All are great stories that make delightful and insightful reading with your children. (Note: This post contains affiliate links.)


1. My Hair by Hannah Lee

My birthday’s coming up so soon,
I’ll need new clothes to wear.
But most of all, I need to know,
How shall I style my hair?

This book is a collaboration between two BAME writers and illustrators and addresses one of those very emotional topics — hair. Booktrust calls it, ‘a delightful debut collaboration’. Order now.



2. Brick by Brick Giuliano Ferri

This wordless board book shows the story of a mouse who plucks a flower from an old wall and sees through to the other side for the first time. The creatures on both sides of the wall break it down and build a bridge together — wonderful metaphors about working together and breaking down barriers between each other. Order now.



3. The Snowy Day Read by Ezra Jack Keats

Ezra Jack Keats’s classic award-winning story is the most checked out children’s book in the New York Public Library. The vibrant collage illustrations bring the simple story to life in this much beloved volume. This was the first book featuring an African American child to win the Caldecott Medal for excellence in children’s picture books, and Keats highly valued the feedback he received from children. His favourite was one which said, “We like you because you have the mind of a child.” Share that feeling with your child. Order now. 

You can also see the story here with animation by Jay Boucher and narration and sound by Napoleon Maddox.



4. Look Up by Nathan Bryon

This book, shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, features a science-mad chatterbox, Rocket. She’s determined to be the greatest astronaut, star-catcher, space-traveller that has ever lived!

It’s won a litany of plaudits including being shortlisted for the Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Awards 2019, called ‘outstanding’ in Kirkus Reviews and ‘energetic’ and ‘wry’ by The Guardian. Order now.





5. The Skin I’m In by Pat Thomas

This book’s subhead is ‘A first look at racism’, indicating its aim to address the topic of diversity and equality head-on. Reading it is a way to open discussion points between parents and children and there is even a glossary and suggested reading and resources. Order now. 




6. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice

This New York Times bestseller couldn’t be more topical. It follows a white family and a Black family as they discuss a police shooting of a Black man in their town. In addition to the story itself, it includes extensive advice for parents on addresses racial injustice and research on attitudes about race that develop in children as young as 3. By providing a framework for talking about traumatic events around race, it aims to end the taboo of talking about race openly with our children. Buy now.

Do you have any books about race, diversity and racism that you recommend? Share them in the comments below!



More resources

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Talking to Uju Asika, author of Bringing Up Race

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