In order for us to build a strong anti-racist world, the change has to start at home. From a very early age, babies begin to learn from their surroundings and to mimic the behaviours of those around them. They are like little sponges, absorbing everything they see and hear as their personalities and world views begin to form.
Below we have put together some great examples of books, media and further resources to help you your children to grow up aware, informed and equipped to be actively anti-racist. From educational tools to teach them about how to be an equality activist every day, to diverse storytelling that normalises differences and commonalities in our lived experiences, this guide is packed with resources that will empower a new generation of anti-racist allies.
Where to start
Books are an essential part of our little one’s daily lives and the stories we choose to share with our kids can have a profound impact on the ideas and beliefs that they develop as they grow up. Brightly have published a guide on how to diversify your child’s bookshelf and why it is essential to do so.
What to read them at bedtime
Bold board books and sweet stories for your littlest anti-racism advocates.
- A is for Activist – Innosanto Nagara. An ABC board book designed to inspire children to advocate unapologetically for key issues in society today, including civil rights, environmental justice & LGBTQ rights.
- Woke Baby – Mahogany L. Browne. An adorable, empowering board book to inspire hope, perfect for progressive babies.
- An ABC of Equality – Chana Ginelle Ewing, with illustrations by Paulina Morgan. A straightforward introduction for little ones to the complexities of social justice.
- Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History; Little Leaders: Exceptional Men in Black History, both by Vashti Harrison.
- AntiRacist Baby – Ibram X. Kendi. This board book provides 9 easy steps to build a more equitable world and introduces little readers to antiracism and the language tools they will need to fight it at such a formative age.
- The Mega Magic Hair Swap! – Rochelle Humes, with illustrations by Rachel Suzanne. A joyful story that teaches the importance of loving and celebrating yourself and your differences from the lens of friendship.
- Ruby’s Worry: A Big Bright Feelings Book – Tom Percival. Part of the Big Feelings series, this is the perfect book for discussing childhood worries and anxieties, no matter how big or small.
- Children in Our World: Racism and Intolerance – Louise Spilsbury, with illustrations by Hanane Kai. A beautiful picture book that explores what racism and intolerance are and how they affect children all over the world.
- Kind – Alison Green. An inspiring picture book about the many ways children can be kind, from sharing their toys and games to helping those from other countries feel welcome.
- I am Human – Susan Verde, with illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds. A celebration of empathy and compassion that lifts up the flawed fullness of humanity and encourages children to see themselves as part of one big diverse and imperfect global family.
- Where’s Lenny – Ken Wilson-Max. A sweet book for the very littles, packed with colourful, bold illustrations.
Books for older children
Fun fiction and inspiring real-life stories to guide independent readers.
- This Books is Anti-Racist – Tiffany Jewell. A positive resource with lessons on the origins of racism, how these perpetuate today and guidance for everyone to feel empowered to recognise and actively defy racism and xenophobia. The Quarto Group will be donating 100% of their profits from the This Book Is Anti-Racist eBook to Black Lives Matter and Color of Change throughout the month of June.
- What is Race? Who are Racists? Why Does Skin Colour Matter? And Other Big Questions – Nikesh Shukla & Claire Heuchan (Published 13th Aug). This book encourages its reader to engage in conversation about racism and offers sensitive discussion of how to identify & challenge racism and to protect against and stop racist behaviour.
- A Kids Book About Racism – Jelani Memory [Available in July] A clear explanation of what racism is and how to know when you see it.
- Anisha, Accidental Detective – Serena Patel, with illustrations by Emma McCann. Warm tale that touches upon childhood insecurity about change.
- Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls – Elena Favella, with illustrations by Francesca Cavallo. Empowering stories of women across the globe who have lived extraordinary lives.
- Young Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present – Jamia Wilson, with illustrations by Andrea Pippins. A a carefully selection collection of stories that celebrate to encourage, inspire and empower the next generation.
- Not My Idea – Anastasia Higginbotham. A primer on systemic racism that will open up discussions of race among white families.
- Let’s Talk about Race – Julius Lester, with illustrations by Karen Barbour. An exploration and celebration of what makes each of us special and worth celebrating.
- Amazing Grace – Mary Hoffman, with illustrations by Caroline Birch. Provides an opening for talking about race, gender and self-esteem with young children.
- New Kid – Jerry Craft. A timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real.
- Eighth-Grade Superzero – Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich. A middle-schooler from Brooklyn gets involved with a local homeless shelter in an attempt to turn his reputation around after a humiliating first day back at school.
Books for teenagers
Compelling, thought-provoking Young Adult fiction rooted in real-world issues.
- Noughts & Crosses (series) – Malorie Blackman Speculative fiction describing an alternative history in which native African people had colonised the European people, rather than the other way around, with Africans having made Europeans their slaves.
- You Should See Me in a Crown – Leah Johnson (Published 2nd July) YA fiction that tells the story of Liz, who – despite believing herself to be too black, too poor and too awkward – dreams of attending an elite college and becoming a Doctor.
- The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, it tells the story of teenager Starr, who lives between the poor neighbourhood where she was raised and her affluent suburban high school.
- On the Come Up – Angie Thomas a powerful story about hip hop, freedom of speech.
- Dear Martin – Nic Stone A high-performing high school student grapples with the teachings of Martin Luther King after he experiences racial discrimination from a white off-duty police officer.
- The Black Flamingo – Dean Atta, with illustrations by Anshika Khullar A gorgeous and moving first person exploration of sexuality, poetry, blackness and love.
- Pride – Ibi Zoboi a timely update of Pride and Prejudice that touches on key issues of cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love.
- March (trilogy) – Andrew Aydin The inside story of the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of one of its most iconic figures, Congressman John Lewis.
- The Parker Inheritance – Varian Johnson Part historical fiction, part critical problem-solving exercise, part suspenseful mystery, this story weaves through the past and present of one town’s struggle with hatred and racism
- Stamped: Racism, Antiracism , and You – Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi [non-fiction]. An accessible, energising read for teenagers that shines a light on racism and its roots in modern society and inspires hope for an antiracist future.
Good things for kids to watch
Movies, series & YouTube videos that inspire and educate your little ones about racism, diversity and empathy.
- Hidden Figures [Movie] Untold story of the brilliant African American women working at NASA, who served at the brains behind one of the greatest Space missions in history. Available on Netflix
- A Ballerina’s Tale [Documentary] Behind-the-scenes story of how iconic ballerina Misty Copeland became the 1st African American woman to be named principal danger of the legendary American Ballet Theatre. Available on Amazon Prime
- Harriet [Movie] Tells the story of abolitionist Harriet Tubman who liberated hundreds of slaves through the underground railroad. Available on Amazon Prime
- The Hate U Give [Movie] based on the YA novel of the same name. Available on Amazon Prime
- The Secret Life of Bees [Movie] A story of love and healing. Available on Amazon Prime
- Motown Magic [Series] Animated series inspired by iconic Motown music. Available on Netflix
- Mira, Royal Detective [Series] Mystery-adventure series inspired by Indian culture & customs. Available on YouTube
- The Proud Family [Series] The adventures & misadventures of Penny, a typical African American girl as she navigates life in the early years of her teen-dom. Available on Disney+
- Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Kids Academy [YouTube]
- Systemic Racism Explained – Act.TV [YouTube]
- Something Happened in Our Town – Saladin Allah [YouTube]
- Say Something! – Allie Lamb [YouTube]
- Explaining Racism and Discrimination – thatswhy.tv [YouTube]
- Civil Rights Heroes for Kids – HomeSchool Pop [YouTube]
- A brief history of the Black Lives Matter movement – CBC Kids News [YouTube]
- Subscribe to Woke Babies Box – a monthly discovery box of black children’s books, activities and fun learning resources. Each box is tailored especially to a child’s age and features black trailblazers designed to inspire and educate.
- Listen to Injustice and Anger: Understanding your emotions – Brains On! Science Podcast for kids [03.06.20] Available on Apple Podcasts
- Shop from Conscious Kids – an advocacy group that works to raise awareness through literature and offers book bundles focused on racial and social justice for children of all ages.
- Support The Brown Bookshelf – A group of authors & illustrators who advocate to increase visibility for African American voices writing for young readers.
- Draw with Crayola ‘Colours of the World’ crayons to normalise the diversity of skin tones that exist in the world.
My 1st Years x