Chapter 8

Learning About Racialized Identities and Fairness

Race is not a biological truth, yet everyone has a racialized identity.

Books that clarify what “race” really is. Books that have, front and center, main-character stories, of people of color. Always start with books where the story line and the characters are presented as multi-faceted, interesting, human beings. Then add books that reveal bias and unfairness, and courage and change making.

To find more books like these, use the book search page. Look under “Making People Visible – Racialized identities” or Special Topics “Activism”.


All the Colors We Are - Cover
All the Colors We Are
Katie Kissinger, Redleaf Press 2014
Ages 4 - 8

Large, gorgeous pictures and simple, clear text explain “The Story of How We Get Our Skin Color.”  At last!! Every classroom, library, and family needs this fully bi-lingual (Spanish/English) book!
Goal 1, 2, 3 & 4
Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race - Cover
Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race
Megan Madison, Penguin 2021
Ages 4 - 8

Simple and clear. One of the best books we have found on skin color, words for racialized identity, and, rarely seen it has a clear and age approrpiate explanation of racism. Its simplicity makes it work with children as young as three. The book’s respectful, straight forward approach makes it work with 6 and 7 year olds. A section for adults (Continue the Conversation) is at the back of the book. Available as a board book or as a larger, just right for a circle time, picture book.
Goal 1, 2, 3 & 4
Black Cowboys - Cover
Black Cowboys
Andrea Robbins, Home Grown Books, Mimi Museum Series 2010
Ages 2 - 8

Wonderful photographs show real-life, modern day African American cowboys at work and at leisure. The pictures include men and women, young and old, two women who are wearing Muslim head scarves. This one breaks stereotypes over and over!
Goal 1 & 2
Eyes That Kiss in the Corner  - Cover
Eyes That Kiss in the Corner
Johanna Ho, Harper Collins 2021
Ages 4 - 8

A beautiful and poetic book about a family with Asian eyes “that kiss in the corners.” Mama, Amah, and little sister are each described by the child who is narrating the story of her loving family.
Goal 1, 2, 3 & 4
Hairs/Pelitos - Cover
Sandra Cisneros, Alfred A. Knopf 1994
Ages 2 - 8

In this exquisite and loving bilingual book, a child describes how each person in the family has hair that looks and feels different. Papa’s hair is like a broom, Kiki’s like fur, Carlos’s hair is straight, Nenny’s is slippery. And Mama’s hair has the snuggle up smell of warm bread. Written in Spanish and English. Drawn from the adult novel “The House on Mango Street” also by Sandra Cisneros.
Goal 1 & 2
Honeysmoke - Cover
Monique Fields, Imprint Books 2019
Ages 4 - 8

Simone’s mama is African American. Her daddy is white. Simone wants a name for her own skin color, one that tells her very own, personal, family story. Mama’s skin reminds her of the honey from the beehives at Grandma’s house. Daddy’s hair looks like the smoke that billows from a train. So Simone finds her own name for her very own skin… Honeysmoke!
Goal 1, 2, 3 & 4
I Am Enough - Cover
I Am Enough
Grace Byers, Harper Collins 2018
Ages 5 - 8

“I’m here to shine, to sing, to grow, fight, love, dream learn…” Poetry and illustrations that encourage brown-skinned girls to be all they can be – making it clear that they are – just as they are – enough.
Goal 1 & 2
I Am Latino: The Beauty in Me - Cover
I Am Latino: The Beauty in Me
Sandra L. Pinkney, Little Brown & Co. 2007
Ages 1 - 6

This book is a celebration of Latino children in all of their various shades, cultures, and customs. Poetic, affirmative text accompanies the bright and striking photos of children and lead the reader on an exploration of Latino foods, music, language, families, and more. One of the very few books of its kind representing the beauty and diversity of Latino American children.
Goal 1 & 2
Mixed Me - Cover
Mixed Me
Taye Diggs, Feiwel & Friends 2015
Ages 2 – 8

Mike is a PERFECT blend of his light mom and his dark dad. This is an exuberant tale of a high-energy boy. The kids at school say his parents don’t match, but Mom and Dad assure him he’s mixed just right!
Goal 1, 2, 3 & 4
Sequoyah - Cover
James Rumford, Houghton Mifflin Co 2004
Ages 5 – 8

Written in Cherokee and English, this beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Sequoyah who invented a written form for the Cherokee language – not once, but twice! With great courage, imagination and intelligence he persisted over the objections of many. His invention made possible the recording of Cherokee wisdom by the Cherokee people. The great Sequoia redwoods are named in his honor.
Goal 1, 2, 3 & 4
Shades of People  - Cover
Shades of People
Sheila M. Kelly, Holiday House 2009
Ages 1 - 5

This is a simple, beautiful book with a powerful message. A great introduction to racial and ethnic diversity. “If you look through the pages of this book there are many different children of all shades. You can see creamy ivory, sandy, peach, coffee, cocoa, copper, tan, pink, rose, almond, shades of gold, bronze, and brown”. A great introduction to diversity for toddlers through five year olds.
Goal 1 & 2
These Hands - Cover
These Hands
Margaret H. Mason, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2011
Ages 5 – 8

Grandfather uses his hands to teach Joseph to tie a shoe, play a piano, shuffle cards, hit a ball – as he tells Joseph about all the things he used his own hands to do. But he wasn’t allowed to bake bread in the factory because the owner thought white people wouldn’t buy bread baked by black hands. So he used his hands to sign petitions and carry signs and now anyone can bake break – including Joseph! As always, Cooper’s illustrations carry such deep feeling and detail that they put the reader directly into the story.
Goal 1, 2, 3 & 4