Dismantling Racism Toolkit: Recommended Reading

This page provides a guide to selecting anti-bias children’s books along with some recommended reading.

Guide for Selecting Anti-Bias Children’s Books

“Children’s books teach children about who is important, who matters, who is even visible. Consequently, carefully choosing quality children’s books is an indispensable educational and child-rearing task.” This guide by Louise Derman-Sparks, published on socialjusticebooks.org, helps parents choose books that do not reinforce harmful stereotypes, etc.

Selected Books by Quraysh Ali Lansana

Books for Parents and Teens

The Skin of Dreams: New and Collected Poems 1995-2018
by Quraysh Ali Lansana | Apr 27, 2019

  • Publisher: Calliope Group (April 27, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1733647406
  • ISBN-13: 978-1733647403

The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (ed.) (Haymarket Books, 2015)

  • ISBN-10: 1608463958
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608463954

Anthology of poetry and essays

The Walmart Republic w/Christopher Stewart (Mongrel Empire Press, September 2014)

  • ISBN-10: 0990320405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0990320401


They Shall Run: Harriet Tubman Poems (Third World Press, 2004)

  • ISBN-10: 0883782642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0883782644


Southside Rain – October 1, 1999
by Quraysh Ali Lansana  (Author)

  • Publisher: Third World Press; 1 edition (October 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0883782197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0883782194


Books for Children

A Gift from Greensboro- October 11, 2016

  • Age Range: 8 – 11 years
  • Grade Level: 3 – 5
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Penny Candy Books (October 11, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0997221917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0997221916

Books for Teachers/Educators

Our Difficult Sunlight: A Guide to Poetry, Literacy, & Social Justice in Classroom & Community w/Georgia A. Popoff (Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 2011)

  • ISBN-13: 978-0915924288
  • ISBN-10: 0915924285

Pedagogy/Essays/Lesson Plans

Anti-bias Education: A Selection of Children’s Books for Each Topic

This list, compiled by childpeacebooks.org, features “children’s picture books have been selected as companions to each of the chapters in the new Anti-bias Education book now available from NAEYC.” These chapters include: Culture & Language, Racial Identity, Gender Roles, Economic Class, Abilities & Disabilities, Family Structure, Holiday, Activism. 

Early Childhood Anti-Bias Education Booklists

From socialjusticebooks.org. “Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves, by Louise Derman-Sparks and Julie Olsen Edwards, offers practical guidance to early childhood educators (including parents) for confronting and eliminating barriers of prejudice, misinformation, and bias about specific aspects of personal and social identity; most importantly, it includes tips for adults and children to respect each other, themselves, and all people. [In this list,] you will find recommended books for young children, teachers, and parents for each chapter as well as additional resources on anti-bias themes and topics.”

Social and Emotional Learning Diverse Reading List from Lee & Low Books

“Discover our educator favorites for SEL read-alouds to pair with your curriculum! These exemplar texts will help you model and explore strategies for tackling challenges and building community. Both fiction and nonfiction titles feature protagonists from diverse backgrounds and are written by award-winning authors and illustrators. Check each Lee & Low book’s link for corresponding lesson ideas and activities.” Learn more about “How Diverse Books Can Support Social and Emotional Learning in Kindergarten” here.

Trauma-Informed Diverse Reading List from Lee & Low Books

“Many children experience trauma, or adverse childhood experiences, and go through times of extreme stress. Trauma has the ability to impact children’s learning, social interactions and relationships, and overall well-being. Literature can be a safe space for young people to talk about characters’ actions and situations and the ways that they navigated distressing scenarios. The following books showcase child protagonists who cope with trauma in a variety of ways and provide students the opportunity to discuss trauma through the lens of a relatable and engaging character.”

“From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation” by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

From haymarketbooks.org: “The eruption of mass protests in the wake of the police murders of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York City have challenged the impunity with which officers of the law carry out violence against Black people and punctured the illusion of a postracial America. The Black Lives Matter movement has awakened a new generation of activists.

In this stirring and insightful analysis, activist and scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor surveys the historical and contemporary ravages of racism and persistence of structural inequality such as mass incarceration and Black unemployment. In this context, she argues that this new struggle against police violence holds the potential to reignite a broader push for Black liberation.”

Fulton Street Books and Coffee: Book Recommendations

Futon Street Books and Coffee, owned by Onikah Asamoa-Caesar, is a fantastic local resource for discovering and purchasing books written by people of color and other marginalized communities. Read Fulton Street’s list of recommended titles here, and visit their website at fultonstreet918.com.

Author and Illustrator Recommendation

Derrick Barnes wrote the New York Times bestseller The King of Kindergarten, as well as the critically acclaimed picture book Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut (illustrated by Gordon James), which received a Newbery Honor, a Coretta Scott King Author Honor, the 2018 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award, and the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers. He also wrote the bestselling chapter book series Ruby and the Booker Boys. He owns the copy-writing company Say Word Creative Communications and created the popular blog Raising the Mighty, where he “chronicles the experience of bringing up four beautiful Black boys in America.” He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife and their four sons.

Gordon C. James illustrated the critically acclaimed picture book Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut (by Derrick Barnes), which received a Caldecott Honor, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, an Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor, the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers, and a Society of Illustrators Gold Medal. He also illustrated Let ‘Er Buck!: George Fletcher, the People’s Champion (by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson). He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife and two children.

About Barnes’ & James’ newest book, “I am Every Good Thing”: “The confident Black narrator of this book is proud of everything that makes him who he is. He’s got big plans, and no doubt he’ll see them through–as he’s creative, adventurous, smart, funny, and a good friend. Sometimes he falls, but he always gets back up. And other times he’s afraid, because he’s so often misunderstood and called what he is not. So slow down and really look and listen, when somebody tells you–and shows you–who they are. There are superheroes in our midst!”

TCCL Booklists, “From the Limitations of Now”

Tulsa City-County Library put together some excellent booklists to complement Philbrook Museum’s exhibition, “From the Limitations of Now,” which “reflects on the important ways art and literature allow us to examine America’s past and picture a future in which, in the words of renowned Oklahoma author Ralph Ellison, “we are able to free ourselves from the limitations of today.”

From the Limitations of Now: Children’s Books

From the Limitations of Now: Young Adult Books

From the Limitations of Now: Books for Adults

1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission Reading List

A list of recommended resources put together by the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission

“Sometimes I Get the Wiggles” by Andee Cooper

*Local Author* “Kannon is a little boy with a form of epilepsy that sometimes gives him the wiggles, and when that happens, just like Jell-O, his whole body jiggles. Kannon would very much like to go to school with everyone else his age, but he worries his condition might scare the other children away. After much thought, he comes up with an idea to enlist and train all of his classmates as Seizure Heroes as a way of helping his teacher and his fellow students see him through each school day. Based on a true story and written by Kannon’s mother.”

Representation Matters: 10 Picture Books About People with Disabilities

Kelsey McAfee, of local bookshop Eleanor’s Bookshop, recommends 10 beautiful picture books about people with disabilities.

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