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Race and Racism: Selected Books for Pre-K to Grade 12

©2024, 2020 Cooperative Children's Book Center; updated 2021

When choosing books about race and racism and its impact on the lives of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), we have emphasized books by BIPOC creators. We have also included several books by white authors that can especially help white readers develop an awareness of whiteness and white privilege.

This list features books set in the past and books set in the present day: Understanding history is critical to understanding racism; it is also critical to acknowledge and discuss the realities of racism and the ongoing legacy of systemic racism today.

Most of the books are among titles included in our annual best-of-the-year list, CCBC Choices. There are many other books we've recommended that offer perspectives on race and racism in the past and present that you can access with the CCBC-Recommended Book Search.

Finally, it's important to keep in mind that no book can take the place of ongoing, meaningful conversations about race and racism. To that end, you may also find resources compiled by We Need Diverse Books and Teaching Tolerance, among others, helpful as you seek out additional information.

PreK - Grade 5

Abdel-Magied, Yassmin Stand Up and Speak Out Against Racism. Illustrated by Aleesha Nandhra. Candlewick/Walker, 2023. 127 pages. Ages 8-12

Atinuke, Have Fun, Anna Hibiscus!. Illustrated by Lauren Tobia. Kane Miller, 2011. 109 pages. Ages 4-8

Britt, Paige Why Am I Me?. Illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko. Scholastic, 2017. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

Brockenbrough, Martha and Grace Lin I Am an American: The Wong Kim Ark Story. Illustrated by Julia Kuo. Little, Brown, 2021. 32 pages. Ages 7-10

Callaghan, Jodie Ga's / The Train. Illustrated by Georgia Lesley. Translated by Joe Wilmot. Second Story, 2021. 36 pages. Ages 5-8

Craft, Jerry New Kid. Illustrated by Jerry Craft. Harper, 2019. 249 pages. Ages 9-13

hooks, bell skin again. Illustrated by Chris Raschka. Hyperion, 2004. 32 pages. Ages 5-10

Johnson, Varian The Parker Inheritance. Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2018. 331 pages. Ages 8-11

Maldonado, Torrey What Lane?. Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin, 2020. 125 pages. Ages 9-13

Miller, Sharee Don't Touch My Hair!. Illustrated by Sharee Miller. Little, Brown, 2018. 40 pages. Ages 5-8

Morales, Areli Areli Is a Dreamer: A True Story. Illustrated by Luisa Uribe. Random House Studio, 2021. 40 pages. Ages 5-9

Park, Linda Sue Project Mulberry. Clarion, 2005. 225 pages. Ages 9-12

Peoples-Riley, Daria America, My Love, America, My Heart. Illustrated by Daria Peoples-Riley. Greenwillow/HarperCollins, 2021. 32 pages. Age 8 and older

Reynolds, Jason and Ibram X. Kendi, Sonja Cherry-Paul Stamped (for Kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You. Illustrated by Rachelle Baker. Little, Brown, 2021. 164 pages. Ages 8-12

Robertson, David A When We Were Alone. Illustrated by Julie Flett. HighWater, 2016. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

Salazar, Aida Land of the Cranes. Scholastic Press, 2020. 243 pages. Ages 9-12

Shang, Wendy Wan-Long and Madelyn Rosenberg Not Your All-American Girl. Scholastic Press, 2020. 243 pages. Ages 9-12

Sorell, Traci and Charlene Willing McManis Indian No More. Lee & Low/Tu, 2019. Ages 9-12

Tokuda-Hall, Maggie Love in the Library. Illustrated by Yas Imamura. Candlewick, 2022. 32 pages. Age 8 and older

Tonatiuh, Duncan Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family's Fight for Desegregation. Illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh. Abrams, 2014. 40 pages. Ages 6-10

Weatherford, Carole Boston Freedom in Congo Square. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Little Bee, 2016. 32 pages. Age 6 and older

Weatherford, Carole Boston Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Carolrhoda, 2021. 32 pages. Ages 8-12

Williams-Garcia, Rita One Crazy Summer. Amistad/HarperCollins, 2010. 218 pages. Ages 8-12

Yang, Kelly Three Keys (Front Desk, #2). Scholastic, 2020. 288 pages. Ages 9-12

Grades 6 - 12

Abdel-Fattah, Randa The Lines We Cross. Scholastic Press, 2017. 400 pages. Age 12 and older

Boulley, Angeline Firekeeper's Daughter. Henry Holt/Macmillan, 2021. 494 pages. Age 14 and older

Delacre, Lulu Us, In Progress: Short Stories about Young Latinos. Harper, 2017. 242 pages. Age 11 and older

Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne and Jean Mendoza, Debbie Reese An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People. Beacon, 2019. 270 pages. Age 12 and older

Favreau, Marc and Michael Eric Dyson Unequal: A Story of America. Little, Brown, 2022. 347 pages. Age 12 and older

Fleming, Crystal M. Rise Up! How You Can Join the Fight Against White Supremacy. Henry Holt/Macmillan, 2021. 230 pages. Age 12 and older

Gibney, Shannon See No Color. Carolrhoda Lab, 2015. 186 pages. Age 13 and older

Joseph, Frederick The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person. Candlewick, 2020. 254 pages. Age 11 and older

Jung, Mike Unidentified Suburban Object. Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2016. 272 pages. Ages 9-13

King, A. S. Dig. Dutton/Penguin, 2019. 392 pages. Age 13 and older

King, Thomas Borders. Illustrated by Natasha Donovan. Little, Brown, 2021. 171 pages. Age 8 and older

Manzano, Sonia The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano. Scholastic, 2012. 224 pages. Age 12 and older

Morrow, Bethany C., compiler. Take the Mic: Fictional Stories of Everyday Resistance. Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2019. 245 pages. Age 12 and older

Rajurkar, Anuradha D. American Betiya. Knopf/Random House, 2021. 366 pages. Age 14 and older

Reynolds, Jason and Ibram X. Kendi Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You. Little, Brown, 2020. 294 pages. Age 12 and older

Rhodes, Jewell Parker Black Brother, Black Brother. Little, Brown, 2020. 239 pages. Ages 10-13

Ribay, Randy After the Shot Drops. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018. 325 pages. Age 12 and older

Smith, Cynthia Leitich Hearts Unbroken. Candlewick, 2018. 286 pages. Age 13 and older

Smith, Pauline Vaeluaga Dawn Raid. Illustrated by Mat Hunkin. Levine Querido, 2021. 217 pages. Ages 9-12

Takei, George and Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott They Called Us Enemy. Illustrated by Harmony Becker. IDW/Top Shelf, 2019. 204 pages. Age 11 and older

Treuer, Anton Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask. Levine Querido, 2021. 383 pages. Age 12 and older

Williams-Garcia, Rita A Sitting in St. James. HarperCollins/Quill Tree, 2021. 460 pages. Age 16 and older

Yang, Gene Luen American Born Chinese. Illustrated by Gene Luen Yang. First Second/Roaring Brook, 2006. 233 pages. Age 12 and older

Yoo, Paula From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement. Norton, 2021. 374 pages. Age 12 and older

Yoon, David Frankly in Love. Penguin Random House/Putnam, 2019. 406 pages. Age 13 and older

Yoon, Nicola The Sun Is Also a Star. Delacorte, 2016. 348 pages. Age 13 and older

Zoboi, Ibi and Yusef Salaam Punching the Air. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2020. 386 pages. Age 13 and older

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Our Recommended Book Search includes subject access to CCBC-recommended titles based on subject headings created by our staff.