From the Scholastic Bookshelf: How to Talk to Kids About Race

Teach your child about race and justice through the lens of empathy and compassion.

Jan 12, 2024



From the Scholastic Bookshelf: How to Talk to Kids About Race

Jan 12, 2024

It’s never too early to teach kids about race. Recognizing our racial differences and the injustices they come with is essential to raising an anti-racist child who speaks out against prejudice and implicit bias. Celebrating the beauty in diversity while also acknowledging how systemic racism disproportionally affects the Black and brown population is fundamental to building a truly more equitable and just world.

Unfortunately, racism can be experienced by people of all age groups, including children. Raising race-conscious children starts with teaching them about pivotal social justice moments in history, like the civil rights movement and its leaders who fought to end institutional racial segregation and disenfranchisement.

Then, take time to reflect with your child and answer their questions about how racism exists today, and discuss their role in fighting against racial bias. For example, it may prompt ways for them to find courage to respond when their peers are being treated unfairly because of their skin color.

For its 100th anniversary, Scholastic spoke with experts to identify a set of books, articles, and tips that make starting a conversation with your child about race easy and informative. These resources are part of a broader initiative, called the Scholastic Bookshelf to raise awareness around contemporary issues affecting children today.

Books About Race

One of the best ways to start conversations about race with your child is through books. Books about race written from the perspective of those who have experienced discrimination and racial gaslighting will help your child understand its impact on the everyday lives of marginalized people. It’s also important to celebrate thought leaders and revolutionaries of racial justice who have fought to drive change.

For example, introduce your child to the life stories of champions like Sonia Sotomayor, Toussaint Louverture, and more in  Little Heroes of Color for kids ages 2 to 5. Your child will love learning about each hero’s achievements and how they overcame their struggles to become the forces of positive change in the world. 

Meanwhile, children ages 6 to 8 will adore Tami Charles’ ode to Black and brown children in All Because You Matter. Written as lyrical poetry, Charles reminds children that their lives, hopes, and dreams have always — and will always — matter, even in times of struggle. Filled with colorful illustrations that evoke familiarity and emotion and prose that reinforces love and acceptance, All Because You Matter is a timeless classic.

Older readers will get lost in the pages of The Parker Inheritance. Winner of the Coretta Scott King Author Honor, this story follows Candice, who finds an old letter in an attic addressed to her grandmother, who had left the town in shame years earlier. As Candice reads on, she and her friend Brandon work to uncover a mystery and learn shameful secrets surrounding the town of Lambert, South Carolina.  

Articles About Race

If you’re looking for resources to help raise race-conscious preteens and teenagers, check out “Where's My Story?” in Scholastic Choices magazine. Seventh-grader Marley Dias didn't like that her school library didn't have many books with diverse characters, so she decided to take action.

Be sure to visit the Scholastic Bookshelf for more resources on race and other must-discuss topics. If you’re planning to talk with your child about other complex topics and seek tips or book recommendations, we invite you to visit our Tough Topics hub. You’ll find a wealth of advice from Scholastic editors to help you navigate challenging conversations thoughtfully. Recent topic additions include:

Shop more books about race, equality, and justice below. You can shop all books and activities at The Scholastic Store.

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