Let's Learn Together: Racial Literacy Picture Books

Start Date

Books can be gateways to meaningful conversation and opportunities to build empathy and expand vocabulary. When you’re reading together, take time to ask questions about the story and illustrations. Talk about skin color, acknowledge unfairness, name actions like prejudice or racism, and encourage your child’s natural sense of fairness.


Picture Books

collage portrait of a brown skinned girl against an abstract background

Just Like Me by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

This book of vibrant, uplifting poems invites you to find yourself within its pages.



two cartoon children stand in against the backdrop of a newspaper

Something Happened in Our Town: a child’s story about racial injustice by Marianne Celano

After discussing the police shooting of a local Black man with their families, Emma and Josh know how to treat a new student who looks and speaks differently than his classmates. Includes guidance about addressing racism with children.


dark skinned boy in a bright green hat and glasses in profile

Milo Imagines the World by Matt de la Peña

Milo observes strangers on the subway and draws what he imagines their lives to be. A story that explains implicit bias in a relatable way.



Black boy grinning and riding a skateboard

A Place Inside of Me by Zetta Elliott

Lyrical text and meaningful illustrations express a child's awareness of being filled with deep emotions, from joy to sorrow and anger to compassion, but above all, love.



Light skinned girl with almond eyes and black hair holding a flower

Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho

A self-confident and strong young girl recounts how she shares her eyes--and so much more--with her mother, her amah and her little sister.




three smiling children holding a banner

The Antiracist Kid: a book about identity, justice and activism by Tiffany Jewel

This guide explains: IDENTITY: What it is and what it means for you. JUSTICE: What it is, what racism has to do with it, and how to fight injustice. ACTIVISM: How to be the best antiracist kid you can be.



brown skinned boy against a white background

Brown: the many shades of love by Nancy Johnson James

In this loving ode to the color brown, a boy describes the many hues of his family.




nine people engaged in different activities against a white background

Some Bodies by Sophie Kennen

Through playful rhymes and colorful artwork, all the things that make our bodies special--from the texture of our hair to the color of our eyes--are celebrated.




photographs of children set against a yellow background

All the Colors we are: the story of how we get our skin color  by Katie Kissinger

Explains, in simple terms, the reasons for skin color, how it is determined by heredity, and how various environmental factors affect it



abstract painting of people with a speech bubble over their heads

Let's Talk about Race by Julius Lester

The author introduces the concept of race as only one component in an individual's or nation's story.




12 cartoon children with different skin tones around the border of the cover

Our Skin: a first conversation about race by Megan Madison

An age-appropriate introduction to the concept of race that combines clear text with engaging artwork to help the youngest children recognize and confront unjust actions.



brown skinned girl in profile wearing a head scarf

The Proudest Blue: a story of hijab and family by Ibtihaj Muhammad

Faizah relates how she feels on the first day her sister, sixth-grader Asiya, wears a hijab to school.




photograph of a group of children in a park

Families by Shelley Rotner

This inclusive look at many varieties of families will help young readers see beyond their own immediate experiences




six photos children with different shades of skins

Shades of People by Shelley Rotner

Explores the many different shades of human skin, and points out that skin is just a covering that does not reveal what someone is like inside.



cartoon girl against a white background surrounded by speech bubbles

That's Not my Name by Anoosha Syed

Mirha questions her name after her classmates continually pronounce it wrong on the first day of school so her mother helps her to learn the significance of her name and to be proud of it.



dark skinned girl with her mother who is wearing a headscarf

Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow

Saddened by her classmates' and teacher's mispronunciations of her name, a girl is empowered by her discovery that names are like songs




Black boy facing a Black woman against a pastel background

The Talk by Alicia Williams

As a little boy grows into a bigger boy, he first must have the difficult conversation Black families have with their sons, warning them about the challenges they face due to racism.

Post Author
Sarah Zaharako