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Best Children’s Books to Encourage Racial Awareness

dani austin racial awareness children books

As a mama-to-be, I understand how important it is to raise my little one to know how to love others well – how to stand up for what’s right – how to say NO to any form of racism she might see others exhibiting. I’ve been working on educating myself a lot this week, and part of that education means lots of reading. Since my baby is gonna be read lots of stories, (and eventually read them him/herself!), I want to be prepared with some books that will encourage racial awareness. Since I’m a newbie, I want to lean on the suggestions of others, so here, I’m going to be sharing the roundups of The Melanin Shades Room on Insta and this article from The New York Times! I haven’t been able to read all of these myself yet, but these are some of the books I’m planning to order!

1. The Day You Begin

dani austin racial awareness children books the day you begin

This book talks about how everyone feels like they stand out sometimes, and how to embrace and celebrate the things that make us different!

2. The Snowy Day

dani Austin children books the snowy day

The Snowy Day is part of a series of books by Ezra Jack Keats about Peter and his everyday adventures.

3. Hair Love

dani austin racial awareness children books hair love

Hair Love was made into an Oscar-award-winning animated short this year! It’s the sweetest story about a dad who embarks on the journey of styling his young daughter’s hair. It celebrates diverse beauty and family.

4. Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library

dani austin children books schomburg the man who built a library

This is the story of one of the men who aimed to retell history the way it ACTually happened! Really inspiring and good for kiddos to understand that our current school system often leaves out black history.

5. Happy in Our Skin

dani austin racial awareness children books happy in our skin

Happy in Our Skin highlights the beauty of diversity and how wonderful our skin adapts as we grow, regardless of the color.

6. Let it Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters

dani austin racial awareness children books let it shine

I can’t wait for my little one to learn all about the powerful black women who have changed history time and time again. This book talks about freedom fighters such as Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman.

7. The Youngest Marcher

dani austin children books the youngest marcher

This book is based on the true story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, who was put in jail at just 9 years old for protesting in the Children’s March in 1963 in Birmingham. While it’s definitely an intense topic, the authors do a good job of keeping it positive and kid-friendly, encouraging kids to stand up for what they believe in.

8. Ruby Bridges Goes to School

dani austin racial awareness children books ruby bridges goes to school

Another true story, this book is about brave Ruby Bridges, the first black child to attend an all white school in New Orleans in 1960.

9. Malcolm Littledani austin racial awareness children books Malcolm little

Written by his daughter, Malcolm Little teaches us about Malcolm X as a child and his journey to becoming the historian figure we know him as today.

A special thank you to The Melanin Shades Room on Insta and to Jessica Grose from The New York Times for sharing these resources! I would love to hear any other children’s books recommendations you might have for increased racial awareness – this is really just a starting point! Let me know which ones I’m missing in the comments!

XOXO Dani Austin

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