Discussing Race and Racism with Children

Discussing race and racism with children is imperative to creating change. Children’s ideas about their own race and others’ races begin early in life. Research shows babies begin to notice differences related to race as early as 3-6 months and that children ages 2 to 4 start internalizing racial biases. Reading with our children helps their growing brains and choosing books with diverse characters helps promote tolerance and diversity as well as teach children about different cultures. There are also many great children books focused on fairness, activism and history. We want to empower you as a caregiver with the tools you may need to have these conversations. We have compiled a list of age appropriate resources that may be helpful when discussing these topics with your children.

Websites: 

Books:

Babies to 3-year-olds

  • Global Babies by The Global Fund for Children
  • Whose Knees Are These? By Jabari Asia
  • All Kinds of People by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M Kelly

Ages 3-5

  • Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry
  • I Believe I Can by Grace Byers
  • Sulwe by Lilith Nyong
  • Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de Pena
  • We’re Different, We’re the Same by Bobbi Jane Kates

Ages 6-8

  • The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Little Leaders:Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
  • Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
  • The Barefoot Book of Children by Kate DePalma and Tessa Strickland
  • The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

Ages 9 and up

  • The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander
  • Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Be Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz
  • Resist: 35 Profiles of Ordinary People Who Rose Up Against Tyranny and Injustice by Veronica Chambers
  • Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford
  • Voice of Freedom:Fannie Lou Hammer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford

Poetry Prompt

Erika Roberts, an activist and poet from Chattanooga, guides you through a prompting moment for your family to think about what the word freedom means to you and those in our community. To watch that video, please click here.