By Gwen Glazer, a librarian in the Readers Services unit of the New York Public Library.
It’s been almost impossible for adults to process the acts of violence in the U.S. over the last few weeks amid rising racial tensions, let alone explain them to our children. But we can’t let that powerlessness trickle down to the next generation—and books can help.
From simple stories for toddlers about recognizing and accepting our differences to young-adult novels about fighting racism, this reading list offers a few selections for children of all ages to read and talk about with their parents. These aren’t historical books about the Civil Rights movement and school integration, although many excellent book lists include those topics. Instead we've rounded up a dozen books to address social justice and race, with a focus on African-Americans. We hope these titles pave the way for open conversation and empowering us to change our own communities.
The NYPL recently issued its Summer Reading Challenge and Contest, urging kids to read 20 minutes a day, along with an Anti-Summer Slide Guide in partnership with Mommy Poppins to keep kids engaged during the school break. We think these books would make great additions to your summer book bag.