There is no question that now more than ever it’s time to sow the seeds for a better tomorrow. Now, the words race, diversity, inclusion, empathy and compassion have heightened and urgent meaning. Many of us are grappling with explaining the hateful events of the day to our young children; trying not to underestimate the gravity of the situation, but at the same time striving to incorporate positive and hopeful messages into our explanations and to provide clear and realistic answers to their hard questions. We want to raise our kids with a deep sense of justice and inclusion. We want them to celebrate our differences and to honor diversity. We want them to always remember the Golden Rule. That’s a big responsibility. Fortunately there are abundant resources to turn to. Here we offer a brief list of books, videos and articles. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, teacher, spiritual leader or college student there is always something to learn and we can never learn enough about compassion and tolerance.
Books for Young Children
I Can Do Hard Things: Mindful Affirmations for Kids
What we tell ourselves matters! This is just as true for kids as it is for adults.
Help your child tap into their inner strength and find the encouragement they need to navigate their daily environments.
Mindful affirmations can help your child tune out the streams of messages they get about how they should be in the world.
A Little SPOT of Sadness: A Story About Empathy And Compassion
Sadness happens for many reasons. It can happen when a child misses a loved one, loses a favorite toy or gets hurt. This story shows a child how to visual their sadness as a SADNESS SPOT so that they can control it better. It walks them through several situations and offers guidance on how to help manage a SADNESS SPOT when it gets TOO BIG or stays for TOO LONG. It also shows how to help others with their SADNESS SPOT, too! It teaches EMPATHY, COMPASSION, FRIENDSHIP and much more!
It offers creative strategies for children on how to bring themselves back to a PEACEFUL SPOT!
Books for Adults
by Robin DiAngelo
The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.
Who We Be
by Jeff Chang
Chang explores pop culture, current events, corporate marketing, and the idea of a post-racial America. “I know of no better account of the glories and sorrows of contemporary American diversity, nor any so attuned to the outsized role that art has played in that journey,” wrote author Teju Cole.
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States
by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
In her Introduction, Dunbar-Ortiz points out that “writing U.S. history from an Indigenous peoples’ perspective requires rethinking the consensual national narrative.” She collects material here from a large body of scholarship, and “provides an antidote to the work of historians who have rationalized the settling of the West and the ‘civilizing’ of the Indians,” wrote the San Francisco Chronicle.
Between the World and Me
by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Framed as a letter to his teen son, Coates’s latest book is described as a “profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son … [and] offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis.”
Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
by Beverly Daniel Tatum
Tatum explores the ways that all of us express racial identity, and addresses head on the fears and anxieties that prevent parents from having honest conversations about race with their children. “Whites are afraid of using the wrong words and being perceived as ‘racist’ while parents of color are afraid of exposing their children to painful racial realities too soon.”
Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace
by Jen Johnson, illustrated by Sonia Sadler
This vibrant picture book “brings to life the empowering story of Wangari Maathai, the first African woman, and environmentalist, to win a Nobel Peace Prize. An engaging narrative and vibrant images paint a robust portrait of this inspiring champion of the land and of women’s rights.”
Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story
by Reem Faruqi, illustrated by Lea Lyon
In a new school and new country, Lailah is excited to participate in the celebration of Ramadan — but wonders if her classmates will understand. A supportive community helps Lailah share her beliefs and trust that others will respect them.
Let’s Talk About Race
by Julius Lester, illustrated by Karen Barbour
As Lester discusses how we all have a story, he brings up questions about why we think race is important and what it means to have a racial identity. This gorgeous book — great to read with kids of any age — allows for open-ended conversation and questions.
10 Tips for Teaching and Talking to Kids About Race
by Embrace Race