A shortlist of colourful anti-racist literature for kids

When it comes to difficult conversations, explaining to our children that systemic racism exists is up there with the hardest of them. We recall a passage in Ta-Nehisi Coate’s oeuvre “Between the world and me” where he is forced to explain to his teary-eyed son why there was no conviction in the senseless killing of Trayvon Martin. It was heartbreaking but it introduced this one-day black man to the structural oppression experienced by people who look like him. These conversations, no matter how painful, can serve as a sort of protection for our young children, by preparing them for what they may one day have to face. Starting to have conversations about racism with our kids at an early age can help empower them to be better people. We’ve put together a list of books for young children that promote racial literacy.

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold


By  Alexandra Penfold

Discover a school where—no matter what—young children have a place, have a space, and are loved and appreciated.

Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where students from all backgrounds learn from and celebrate each other’s traditions. A school that shows the world as we will make it to be.

Antiracist Baby Picture Book by Ibram X. Kendi


By Ibram X. Kendi

From the National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist comes a new 9×9 picture book that empowers parents and children to uproot racism in our society and in ourselves, now with added discussion prompts to help readers recognize and reflect on bias in their daily lives.

Woke Baby


By Mahogany L. Browne

For all the littlest progressives, waking up to seize a new day of justice and activism.

Woke babies are up early. Woke babies raise their fists in the air. Woke babies cry out for justice. Woke babies grow up to change the world.

This lyrical and empowering book is both a celebration of what it means to be a baby and what it means to be woke. With bright playful art, Woke Baby is an anthem of hope in a world where the only limit to a skyscraper is more blue.

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara


by Innosanto Nagara

A is for Activist is an ABC board book written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives: families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for. 

The alliteration, rhyming, and vibrant illustrations make the book exciting for children, while the issues it brings up resonate with their parents” values of community, equality, and justice. This engaging little book carries huge messages as it inspires hope for the future, and calls children to action while teaching them a love for books.