24 Anti-Racism Books, Movies, and Resources for Families

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Teaching people, especially kids and teens, to be anti-racist often begins with a conversation. And, many times the best conversation starters involve books, movies, television programs, and other resources. Not only do they give you a place to start but they help emphasize key issues about racial injustice and the challenges Black people face in the United States.

Below is a list of resources that can foster anti-racist conversations with the children, teens, and young adults in your family.

Books for Children

One of the best ways to teach kids about anti-racism is by reading books that they can relate to. Below is a list of the best books that can help facilitate conversations about racism and social justice with children. As you read these books together, take time to talk about the characters and what they're experiencing. Encourage your kids to ask questions—even if you don't have all the answers. Together you will come away with a better understanding of what it means to be Black in America.

All Are Welcome

By Alexandra Penfold

This picture book celebrates diversity in the classroom by showing that all children can grow and learn from each other's traditions. The rhyming text and inclusive illustrations make this book a great read-aloud that can inspire kids to learn how to appreciate one another's differences.

Black Is a Rainbow Color

By Angela Joy

This book offers a celebration of Black American culture and history that makes connections between current social justice movements and past civil rights movements. It adds context and continuity between generations. Although most of the book's content will be familiar to adult readers, the book does provide an afterword with information and ideas on sharing this information with children. There is also a playlist of songs and a bibliography of additional reading for adults.

Chocolate Me!

By Taye Diggs and Shane Evans

In this book, a boy is bullied and teased for the way he looks. With skin that is darker and hair that is curlier than the other kids, he tells his mom he wishes he could be like everyone else. But she helps him to see how beautiful he really is. This book is an ideal vehicle for prompting a discussion about racial bullying.

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

By Vashti Harrison

This book is filled with sweet illustrations and educational text that provides small biographies about 40 remarkable Black women in history. Stories about scientists, artists, and activists are all brought to life for readers. Young people will find heroes and role models—ordinary women who did extraordinary things—who made the world better for generations of girls and women to come.

Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History

By Vashti Harrison

This inspiring collection of biographies highlights the accomplishments of legendary men like Thurgood Marshall and Frederick Douglass as well as other lesser-known legends. From music, activism, and poetry to law, sports, and medicine the Black men mentioned in this book exemplify leaders who left their mark on the world. Young people will find heroes and role models that they can look up to in this beautifully illustrated book.

Our Beautiful World of Colors: A Book to Help Your Child Understand Racial Diversity

By Adanma Onuoha George

Designed to help kids understand that no skin color is superior, this book teaches racial equality and encourages kids to speak out against racism. This book provides the perfect vehicle for a family to discuss the importance of standing up and being anti-racist. Although this book is appropriate for kids as young as 2, it's ideal for kids 8 and older who can understand conversations about diversity, multiculturalism, and racism.

Woke! A Young Poet's Call to Justice

By Mahogany Browne

This collection of poems covers everything from social justice and activism to discrimination and empathy and focuses on the importance of speaking out. When it comes to social movements, poets have historically been at the forefront. This book will inspire young readers to create their own poems about injustices that they see.

Books for Teens

To facilitate conversations about racism with your teens, you may want to suggest that they read the following books with you. Read one of the books (or all of them) and discuss them as you go—kind of like your own little book club. And, if your teen doesn't enjoy reading consider looking into audio versions of these books. All of the included books offer great stories with insight into what it's like to experience racism in the U.S. Use these books as a starting point for in-depth conversations with your kids. You could even use these books as a springboard for getting your kids involved with social justice programs.

Dear Martin

By Nic Stone

This powerful book is about an Ivy League-bound, African American teenager named Justyce who becomes a victim of racial profiling. When he finds himself in handcuffs, he struggles to reconcile that instance with the fact that he's a "good kid." In the months that follow, Justyce confronts microaggressions and injustices and turns to Dr. Martin Luther King's writings for answers and ultimately begins a journal written to him as he wrestles for answers.

I'm Not Dying With You Tonight

By Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones

In this NAACP Image Award nominee book, two high school girls, one white and one black, must depend on their intelligence and each other in order to make it home after fights break out at their high school football game followed by rioting and looting in the streets. The girls don't start out as friends and they struggle to understand each other in spite of the racial divide that was the impetus for the violence they are caught in. This book is perfect for starting conversations about prejudice and the racial tensions that exist in the U.S.

Out of Darkness

By Ashley Hope Perez

This historical novel was named a 2016?Michael L. Printz?Award?Honor Book and is set in Texas in the 1930s. The book is about a relationship between a Mexican teen who is allowed to attend an all-white high school and a Black teen who lives in an all-Black neighborhood on the other side of town. They know the racial tensions in their divided Texas town better than anyone, but they dare to defy the rules. Due to sexual violence and excessive use of racial slurs, this book is recommended for mature teens.

Stella by Starlight

By Sharon M. Draper

This book is a winner of the Charolette Huck Award. Set in Bumblebee, North Carolina the main character Stella lives in the segregated South where there are some stores she can go into and some she cannot. Meanwhile, some people are nice and some are not too nice. Then, late one night she sees something she's not supposed to see—the Klu Klux Klan (KKK)—and decides to fight fire with fire. This book is perfect for tweens and young teens because the story paints a realistic picture of what life has been like for Black people in the U.S.

To Kill a Mockingbird

By Harper Lee

First published in 1960, this Pulitzer Prize winner examines racism through two children named Jem and Scout. Set in Depression-era Alabama, the children tell the story of a Black man accused of raping a white woman. This book is a true American classic that many teens have been required to read and discuss in school.

Watch Us Rise

By Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan

The main characters in this book start a Women's Rights Club in their NYC high school. After they post their work online, they not only go viral but also are targeted by trolls. Despite this backlash, they refuse to be silenced and are willing to risk everything just to be heard. These two girls are inspiring characters that teach readers the importance of loyalty, friendship, and fighting for what's right.

X: A Novel

By Ilyasah Shabazz and?Kekla Magoon?

This 2016 NAACP Image Award-winner and Coretta Scott King Author Honor book describes the harrowing story of Malcom X's early life as a troubled hustler—before his religious conversion and career as a civil rights activist. Throughout the book, Malcom feels destined for an early death or imprisonment. After being imprisoned at the age of 20 for theft, Malcom finds a faith and strength that leads him down a new path where he becomes a powerful voice for change.

Movies and Shows For Teens

The movies and documentaries recommended in this section are meant for mature teenagers and adults. While teens can watch these films on their own, it's best if they're watched together so that you can discuss the content afterward.

Find out what your kids think and ask what they've learned from the films. Here are some of our top movie picks for teens and adults.

13th

This Netflix documentary by filmmaker Ava DuVernay exposes racial inequality within the criminal justice system. It focuses on the fact that American prisons are disproportionately filled with African Americans. It is named after the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which abolished slavery throughout the U.S. This documentary, while heartbreakingly real, can be difficult for young people to watch. It's recommended for mature teens.

Becoming

This Netflix documentary follows Michelle Obama on her book tour. It also features her travels and talk-show appearances as well as her tenure as the First Lady of the United States. Throughout the documentary, Obama meets with students across the nation who open up about their struggles and their concerns.

Dear White People

This film is about being Black at a predominantly white Ivy League college. The story revolves around escalating racial tensions at a prestigious, but also fictitious, college and is told through the perspective of several Black students. The film has since been adapted into a Netflix series of the same name.

Hidden Figures

This film highlights how the brilliant African American women of NASA were treated while contributing to the success of the organization. While working as human computers, these women helped the engineers solve problems, but were kept segregated from the rest of the workers. These women even had to walk long distances just to find a restroom they were allowed to use.

Just Mercy

Just Mercy is a film based on civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson's work on death row in Alabama. This powerful and thought-provoking true story illustrates how Black men are often falsely imprisoned despite weak cases and little evidence. Overall, it's an eye-opening look at how broken the justice system is.

Remember the Titans

This film is about a newly-integrated football team in Alexandria, Virginia. Tensions rise when players of different races are forced to play together on the same team. Based on a true story, this film is about how friendship can overcome prejudice.

The Hate U Give

This film is based on the young adult novel by the same title and portrays what it's like to be Black in America. The movie portrays a Black, unarmed teenager who is shot by a police officer in front of his friend after they are pulled over coming home from a party. Although both the book and the movie are fiction, they are inspired by true stories.

Other Resources

Talking About Race

The National Museum of African American History and Culture has put together a number of helpful resources called "Talking About Race." The tools they have developed are designed to provide guidance on inspiring conversations.

Anti-Racist Resources for Teachers

The Early Childhood Education Assembly has developed a list of Resources for Educators Focusing on Anti-Racist Learning and Teaching?that are designed to help parents and teachers talk about anti-racism. These resources are provided in hopes that teachers and families will have vibrant conversations about race in the U.S. and learn how to dismantle racism.

Raising Race Conscious Children

The organization, Raising Race Conscious Children has put together a list of 100 Race-Conscious Things You Can Say To Your Child To Advance Racial Justice. This resource is ideal for parents who want to talk to their kids about race but aren't really sure what to say.

A Word From Verywell

Understanding and addressing systemic racism begins with each one of us looking inward and honestly examining our attitudes and belief systems and making the necessary changes no matter how difficult that may be.

It also requires us to have ongoing conversations with our kids about race and social justice so that we are able to raise a generation of young people who will do better at addressing injustice. We hope you find these resources useful as you work to educate your children about the issue of racism.

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