9 Books to Help Start a Dialogue About Race With Your Tween or Teen
As protests for racial justice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder continue across our nation, we’re clearly looking for ways to do better. One of the biggest ways is to educate the younger generation about racism and race relations. That’s why we created a list of 9 books that will start the at-home dialogue between parents and their tweens/teens. Keep reading for all the details.
1. 'Ghost Boys'
Written by: Jewell Parker Rhodes
The story is told from the perspective of Jerome, a 12-year-old boy who was shot and killed by the police while playing with a toy gun. As a ghost, Jerome watches protests unfold and slowly begins to understand the significance of his wrongful death.
2. 'White Water'
Written by: Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein
Back in the ’50s and ’60s, simple daily tasks—like drinking from a water fountain—were impacted by the color of your skin. The book tells the story of a young boy named Michael, who is unsatisfied with the “Blacks Only” fountain due to the water quality. So, he sneaks over to the “Whites Only” fountain only to learn there’s no difference.
3. 'All American Boys'
Written by: Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
This one’s recommended for ages 12 and up. The book highlights a tale of police brutality as told by two teen boys. The catch? One is white and one is black, creating an eye-opening dichotomy between their stories.
Written by: Sharon M. Draper
As a biracial woman of divorced parents, Isabella has always felt divided. Her world is turned upside-down when she and her stepbrother are pulled over by the cops, who mistake a cellphone as a weapon. Shots are fired. Lives are changed. And Isabella learns the truth about discrimination.
5. 'The Hate U Give'
Written by: Angie Thomas
Meet Starr, a young girl who witnessed her childhood friend being killed by the police. When the media wrongly labels her friend as a “thug,” Starr must decide whether to speak out for what she knows is right, even if it puts her family at risk.
6. 'A Kids Book About Racism'
Written by: Jelani Memory
A Kids Book About Racism will undoubtedly kickstart the at-home conversation. The book provides an extremely straightforward approach, introducing the basics before diving into why racism occurs and how it makes other people feel. While it’s geared toward young readers, the comprehensive guide is a great introduction for tweens.
7. 'This Book Is Anti-Racist'
Written by: Tiffany Jewell
It offers 20 foolproof lessons on how to dismantle racism. Using tangible examples of how to take action, This Book Is Anti-Racist aims to give your teen enough confidence to use his/her voice.
Written by: Veronica Chambers
This book includes 35 inspiring stories about people who stood up for their beliefs. Each story offers a different lesson about fighting injustice sans violence.
Written by: Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
If you have a teenager, this is a must-read. It gives a historic account of how racism has developed over time in America, using modern-day examples—like Eric Garner and Mike Brown—to highlight its impact on society.
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