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How to Introduce Race + Racism to Kids


Article by Jill Devine

Photography by Jill Devine & Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

When I interviewed Dr. Kira Hudson Banks for my podcast, we specifically talked about different ways to introduce race and racism to kids. Obviously it's going to be different based on the age of your child, but for my girls, it's all about reading books.

After listening to Dr. Banks' advice, conducting some research online, and speaking with Katie Mohr, another guest on my podcast, here are the five books I bought for my girls. (Lu will be 4 in September and Charli will be 2 in December.)

1. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (Author)

No book has captured the magic and sense of possibility of the first snowfall better than The Snowy Day. Universal in its appeal, the story has become a favorite of millions, as it reveals a child's wonder at a new world, and the hope of capturing and keeping that wonder forever.

The adventures of a little boy in the city on a very snowy day.

2. Last Stop On Market Street by Matt de la Peña (Author), Christian Robinson (Illustrator)

Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don't own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.

This energetic ride through a bustling city highlights the wonderful perspective only grandparent and grandchild can share, and comes to life through Matt de la Pena’s vibrant text and Christian Robinson’s radiant illustrations.

3. Be Who You Are! by Todd Parr (Author)

Be who you are!

Be proud of where you're from.

Be a different color. Speak your language.

Wear everything you need to be you.

Who better than Todd Parr to remind kids that their unique traits are what make them so special? With his signature silly and accessible style, Parr encourages readers to embrace all their unique qualities.

4. I Am Enough by Grace Byers (Author), Keturah A. Bobo (Illustrator)

This gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another comes from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo.

We are all here for a purpose. We are more than enough. We just need to believe it.

5. All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold (Author), Suzanne Kaufman (Illustrator)

Discover a school where—no matter what—young children have a place, have a space, and are loved and appreciated.

Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where students from all backgrounds learn from and celebrate each other's traditions. A school that shows the world as we will make it to be.

All of the books are great and I understand why they were recommended. Both girls love "Be Who You Are!", especially Charli. I think it's because it's full of bright colors. I love "All Are Welcome". If you have any of the above books or you decide to purchase any of them, let me know your thoughts!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.