Reading has been proven to make you kinder. Right now, the world needs a lot of kindness. However, it’s not only kindness that we need. Whether you are American or European, African or Asian, we all need to start educating ourselves about the inequality and racism in our societies. A heavy topic? Maybe. But I can’t think of a better way to broach it than a book. No matter what age you are, you can always learn from a book. Sometimes the best way to understand difficult or uncomfortable ideas is to read about them. So, here are books for every age that talk about racism: why it exists, how it affects people and what we can do to change it. From now on, every week I will be posting three book recommendations for everyone in the family, so if you like these ones stay tuned in for next week. Let’s educate ourselves. Let’s discuss what we’ve learned. Let’s start the conversation.
For Younger Children
Little People Big Dreams Martin Luther King by Isabel Sanchez Vergara
Little people big dreams are mini biographies for younger children of people who changed the world. Martin Luther King is one of the several black activists that are included in the series, along with Rosa Parks, Jesse Owens and Harriet Tubman. The books are easy to understand and beautifully illustrated and are perfect to open up conversations about activism and also oppression with your child.
For Middle Schoolers
You Must Be Layla by Yassmin Abdel-Magied
This funny and heart-warming story follows Layla, a girl who had just moved to a new scholarship school, after being targeted for racism and islamophobia at her old school. This book is open and uplifting and teaches children the importance of standing up against injustice wherever you see it.
For Young Adults
Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if the roles were reversed? In Noughts and Crosses Malorie Blackman creates a world where white people are the oppressed minority and black people are the ruling majority. The book is not only a page-turning novel, it is also a profound look at racism that has become so ingrained in our society. Noughts and Crosses is now also an incredible TV series on the BBC.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
The Underground Railroad is a gripping and shocking depiction of one woman’s desperate attempt to escape slavery in the nineteenth century. It depicts the brutal reality of the lives that slaves led and is an eye-opening look at the history that America has chosen to sweep under the rug.