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social justice through storytelling: reading, hearing, and seeing others' stories

Reading a book on antiracism isn't going to make you antiracist, but its a good start.  It’s important to know what it means to be antiracist and to learn about the history of racism in America in order to learn how to help eliminate it and take actions towards social justice.

"Anti-racism is the active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures,  policies and practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably.”

"As a multicultural society, the United States is rich with the stories of the diverse groups that make up this country.  As a deeply racialized society, stained by structural racism, not all stories however are equally acknowledged, affirmed or valued.  Many stories survive through tenacious resistance in the face of a status quo that marginalizes, and often silences, their telling thus diminishing their truths.”

- NAC International Perspectives: Women and Global Solidarity

- Lee Anne Bell and Rosemarie Roberts


It’s not enough to read about what it means to be antiracist, however part of the work towards antiracism does involve stories:  


It involves seeing, reading and hearing stories that centralize BBIPOC from a very young age.  


It involves reading about the history of racism in America and understanding how and why the systems in our country were built to oppress black, brown, indigenous people of color.  


It involves understanding and sharing your own story - exploring the aspects of your identity that have been marginalized or oppressed and the words or actions you use to marginalized and oppressed others.  Understanding that we live in and were raised in a society built on racism helps us understand why we are inherently biased against people of color.    This extends to the biases within and between marginalized groups as well.  None of us are immune and we are all in this together.


Bias begins at birth, the process of learning how to be antiracist is lifelong, and finding ways to learn what we can and to take actions that effect change is a responsibility we all share.  Kids Create Change offers these resources to help support that learning and growth.

Picture Books, Written Books, Graphic Novels, Audio Books, Videos, Read Alouds, Spoken Word, Poetry, Podcasts...

These are all ways that we can read, hear, see and feel others' stories. Stories and storytelling in many forms encourages empathy.  It enables us to connect to experiences other than our own.  Pick up a new book, download a podcast, watch a film that broadens your understanding of race and racism in America. Being witness to other people's experiences and learning about the history and roots of racism are acts of antiracism.  One of the many things young people can do to make a difference.

Check out this powerful spoken word piece shared by Youth Speaks

Tell Me Who You Are: Sharing Our Stories of Race, Culture, & Identity
By Winona Guo, Priya Vulchi

Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi recount their experiences talking to people from all walks of life about race and identity on a cross-country tour of America. Spurred by the realization that they had nearly completed high school without hearing any substantive discussion about racism in school, the two young women deferred college admission for a year to collect first-person accounts of how racism plays out in this country every day--and often in unexpected ways. 

In Tell Me Who You Are, Guo and Vulchi reveal the lines that separate us based on race or other perceived differences and how telling our stories--and listening deeply to the stories of others--are the first and most crucial steps we can take towards negating racial inequity in our culture. Featuring interviews with over 150 Americans accompanied by their photographs, this intimate toolkit also offers a deep examination of the seeds of racism and strategies for effecting change.

This groundbreaking book will inspire readers to join Guo and Vulchi in imagining an America in which we can fully understand and appreciate who we are.

"The power of a book lies in its power to turn a solitary act into a shared vision"
           - Laura Bush

Adults, check out the titles of these books! They're a great start for antiracist reading.  For a booklist of more titles click here

For Adults: Reading and Learning About Race and Racism is Modeling Antiracism for Children

One of the most important things we as adults can do for our young people is show them what it looks like to be antiracist.  If children see the adults in their lives engaging in conversations about race and learning about the issues that plague our society, they'll see that it's okay to talk about it and ask questions.

Raising young people who are socially conscious and equipped to make change means we need to know how to make space for their learning.  This means we need to be doing the work ourselves.  There are endless books, blogs, podcasts, films, videos, and social media outlets to help.  By challenging ourselves to learn more on our own, together with our children, and in community with others we can gain the tools needed to act as change makers and allys.

For Teens and Young Adults: Reading and Learning About Race and Racism Prepares you for the Real World and Gives You the Tools You Need to Actively Participate in a Society You Have the Power to Change 

"Young people have the ideas, the creativity and great energy to shape a better world. Young people are full of hope and through innovation and imagination, they are problem solvers and have a great potential to generate a positive social change in the world."

- World Youth Alliance            


An understanding of the roots and history of racism are key to disrupting it. There are so many resources out there to help, and so many ways that you can start making a difference today.


Kids and Teens, check out the titles of these books! They're a great start for antiracist reading.  For a booklist of more titles click here

A Guide to Choosing Books for Kids

Tips for Choosing Picture Books from Embrace Race

8 tips for choosing “good” picture books featuring Black and Indigenous people and People of Color (BIPOC)

by Dr. Krista Aronson, Anne Sibley O’Brien, and Dr. Andrea Breau

8 consejos para escoger libros ilustrados “buenos” con personas negras, indígenas y de color (BIPOC)

por Dra. Krista Aronson, Anne Sibley O’Brien, Dra. Andrea Breau


Guide for Selecting Anti-Bias Children’s Books

Selecting and Using Culturally Responsive Children’s Books

OHS National Center on Cultural & Linguistic Responsiveness

Screenshot of ScreenFloat (6-2-20, 11-16

click here for English

haga clic aquí para Español

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:  The Danger of a Single Story


Buhle Ngaba: Storytelling Can Change How We See the World 

Baratunde Thurston: How to Deconstruct Racism One Story at a Time

Black Lives Matter Reading

Click here to access the Black Lives Matter Instructional Library with access to children's books in English and Spanish read aloud!

Book Lists
Books on Social Justice

Social Justice Booklist - The National Network of State Teachers of the Year

click here for a pdf of the full text

Screenshot of ScreenFloat (6-3-20, 1-23-

The following booklists contain recommended reading for children's books that feature bbipoc main characters, and antiracism themes.  We are working to link the books to offer visual references and easy access to purchasing, but are being mindful of linking them directly to bookstores owned by local bbipoc and lgbtq owned bookstores.

Booklist of Children's Stories with BBIPOC Main Characters
This booklist is filled with stories for young people
ages 0-12 that feature black and brown central characters.

Ages 0-3

A Letter to Amy

by Ezra Jack Keats

Baby Dance

by Ann Taylor, illustrated by Marjorie Van Heerden

My Friends

by Taro Gomi

Hi, Cat!

by Ezra Jack Keats

The Snowy Day

by Ezra Jack Keats

Woke Baby

by Mahogany L. Browne

Whistle for Willie

by Ezra Jack Keats

Ages 1-5

A Day with Nellie

by Marthe Jocelyn 

All the World

by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee

Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo

by Kevin Lewis and Daniel Kirk, illustrated by Daniel Kirk

Daddy Calls Me Man

by Angela Johnson, illustrated by Rhonda Mitchell

Every Little Thing

by Cedilla Marley, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Everywhere Babies

by Susan Meyers, illustrated by Marla Frazee

F is for Feelings

by Dr. Goldie Millar and Dr. Lisa Berger

Feast for 10

by Cathryn Falwell

Full, Full, Full of Love,

by Trish Cooke, illustrated by Paul Howard

Girl of Mine

by Jabari Asim, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Joshua by the Sea

by Angela Johnson, illustrated by Rhonda Mitchell

Lola at the Library

by Anna McQuinn, Illustrator, Rosalind Beardshaw

Nana’s Cold Days

by Adwoa Badoe, illustrated by Bushra Junaid

Soo’s Boo-Boos

by Tilda Balsley, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas

Ages 3-5


Ada Twist, Scientist

by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts

Chavela and the Magic Bubble

by Monica Brown, illustrated by Magaly Morales

Drawn Together

by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat

Hair Love

by Matthew A. Cherry, illustrated by Vashti Harrison

Jabari Jumps 

by Gaia Cornwall

Last Stop on Market Street

by Matt De La Pena, illustrated by Christian Robinson

Library Mouse

by Daniel Kirk


by Oge Mora

Sofia Valdez, Future Prez

by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts


When Louis Armstrong Taught Me Scat

by Muriel Harris Weinstein, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Wow! It Sure Is Good to Be You!

by Cynthia Jabar

Ages 5-8

Amanda Bean’s Amazing Dream

by Cindy Neuschwander, illustrated by Liza Woodruff

Be Boy Buzz

by bell hooks, illustrated by Chris Raschka

Big Red Lollipop

by Rukhsana Khan, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Bree Finds a Friend

by Mike Huber, illustrated by Joseph Cowman

City Shapes

byDiana Murray, illustrated by, Bryan Collier

Come on, Rain!

by Karen Hesse, illustrated by Jon J. Muth

Cora Cooks Pancit

by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore, illustrated by Kristi Valiant

Dalia’s Wondrous Hair / El cabello maravilloso de Dalia

by Laura Lacamara

Dream Dancer

by Jill Newsome, illustrated by Claudio Muñoz

Grace for President

by Kelly S. DiPucchio, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest

by Marti Dumas, illustrated by Marie Muravski

Lola’s Fandango/El fandango de Lola

by Anna Witte, illustrated by Micha Archer

Malala’s Magic Pencil

by Malala Yousafzai, illustrated by Kerascoet

My Name is Yoon

by Helen Recorvitz, illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska

Peeny Butter Fudge

by Toni Morrison

Raising Dragons

by Jerdine Nolan, illustrated by Elise Primavera

The Freckled Speckled Rainbow Dog Salon

by Kelly Greenawalt, illustrated by Amariah Rauscher

What Should I Make?

by Nandini Nayar, illustrated by Proiti Roy

Ages 7-9

As Brave as You

by Jason Reynolds

Buzz Beaker Series

by Cari Meister, illustrated by Bill McGuire

EllRay Jakes Series

by Sally Warner, illustrated by Brian Biggs and Jamie Harper

Kunu’s Basket

by Lee DeCora Francis, illustrated by Susan Drucker

The Skates of Uncle Richard

by Carol Fenner, illustrated by Ati Forberg

Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions

by Chris Barton and illustrated by Don Tate

Ages 8-12

A Walk on the Tundra, Writers, Rebecca Hainnu and Anna Ziegler, Illustrator Qin Leng


Karma Khullar’s Mustache

by Kristi Wientge

The Egypt Game

by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, illustrated by Alton Raible

The House on Mango Street

by Sandra Cisneros

Up Home

by Shauntay Grant, illustrated by Susan Tooke

Antiracism Booklist for Kids and Families
This booklist is filled with stories for young people
ages 0-17 to help encourage conversations about
race and racism.

Ages 0-3

A is for Activism

by Innosanto Nagara

AntiRacist Baby

by Ibram X. Kendi, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky

Global Babies 

by Global Fund for Children

I Like Myself

by Karen Beaumont, illustrated by David Catrow

Ages 4-8

Coretta Scott

by Ntozake Shange, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills

by Renée Watson, illustrated by Christian Robinson

If You're Going to a March

by Martha Freeman, illustrated by Violet Kim

Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America

by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jamey Christoph

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom

by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

My Hair is a Garden

by Cozbi A. Cabrera

Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis

by Jabari Asim, illustrated by E.B. Lewis


by Nikki Giovanni, illustrated by Bryan Collier

Something Happened in Our Town

by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin ​

That’s Not Fair! Emma Tenayuca’s Struggle for Justice

by Carmen Tafolla and Sharyll Tenayuca, illustrated by Terry Ybáñez

The Day You Begin

by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael López

The Legendary Miss Lena Horne

by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

We Are Grateful, Otsaliheliga

by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac

What Can a Citizen Do? (Kids Story Books, Cute Children's Books, Kids Picture Books, Citizenship Books for Kids)

by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Shawn Harris

When We Were Alone

by David A. Robertson, illustrated by Julie Flett

Young Water Protectors: A Story About Standing Rock

by Aslan and Kelly Tudor

Ages 6-10

Every Human Has Rights: A Photographic Declaration for Kids

by National Geographic 

Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History

by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by Floyd Cooper

I Am Not A Number

by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer, illustrated by Gillian Newland

Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X

by Ilyasah Shabazz, illustrated by AG Ford

Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters

by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Stephen Alcorn

One Crazy Summer

by Rita Williams-Garcia 

Ruth and the Green Book

by Calvin Alexander Ramsey, illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Say Her Name

by Zetta Elliott (Author)  Loveis Wise (Illustrator)

Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation

by Duncan Tonatiuh

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up

By Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney​

Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story

by Paula Yoo, illustrated by Lin Wang

Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride

by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney

The Whispering Town

by Jennifer Elvgren, illustrated by Fabio Santomauro

Unstoppable: How Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team Defeated Army

by Art Coulson, illustrated by Nick Hardcastle

Viola Desmond Won’t Be Budged!

by Jody Nyasha Warner and Richard Rudnicki


When I Was Eight

by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard ​

Ages 9-13

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

by Vashti Harrison

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library

by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Eric Velasquez

The Boy and the Wall

by Palestinian refugee children in the Aida Refugee Camp

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Ekua Holmes


Ages 10-17

A Young People's History of the United States: Columbus to the War on Terror (For Young People Series)

by Howard Zinn and Rebecca Stefoff 

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People

by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, adapted by Jean Mendoza & Debbie Reese 

Ages 14-17

Brown Girl Dreaming

by Jacqueline Woodson

Dear White People

by Justin Simien

Harbor Me

by Jacqueline Woodson

The Hate U Give

by Angie Thomas

This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do The Work

by Tiffany Jewell and Aurelia Durand

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

For additional social-emotional resources click here
For resources on "talking to kids about race and racism" click here
To learn about social justice through art click here
Support Local Black-Owned Bookstores!

Check out the winners from the APALA (Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association, a division of the American Library Association) Literature Awards 2005-2021

Asian Pacific American Library Association Book Awards List

Below are the books from this list for children ages 3-12 that can be found at the Evanston Public Library:

Recent Asian/Pacific American Awards Picture Book Winners and Honor Titles

Recent Asian/Pacific American Awards Children’s Literature (Middle Grade) Winners and Honor Titles

Skokie Public Library

A Literary Guide to Combat Anti-Asian Racism in America

LA Times

A Reading Guide on the Asian American Experience from Viet Thanh Nguyen, Charles Yu and More

Social Justice Books

Asian Americans

APIDA Booklists

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