Librarians’ Social Justice Reading Recommendations for Kids and Families

By on

Amid ongoing national conversations about anti-Blackness and racial violence, librarians from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) and the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) have put together a social justice reading list for youth.

The list, titled Community, Connecting, Cultivating & Constructing Conversations Through Literacy, highlights books for kids in pre-K, elementary, and middle school. Some titles include mature content; parents and families are advised to use care in discussing the books with their children.

Here are all 60 recommendations:

Pre-K Through Fourth Grade

A Girl Like Me, by Angela Johnson (writer) and Nina Crews (illustrator)

Black Is a Rainbow Color, by Angela Joy (writer) and Ekua Holmes (illustrator)

Chocolate Me!, by Taye Diggs (writer) and Shane W. Evans (illustrator)

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, by Derrick Barnes (writer) and Gordon C. James (illustrator)

Don’t Touch My Hair!, by Sharee Miller (writer and illustrator)

Going Down Home With Daddy, by Kelly Starling Lyons (writer) and Daniel Minter (illustrator)

Hair Love, by Matthew A. Cherry (writer) and Vashti Harrison (illustrator)

Hands Up!, by Breanna J. McDaniel (writer) and Shane W. Evans (illustrator)

Happy Hair, by Mechal Renee Roe (writer and illustrator)

Hey Black Child, by Useni Eugene Perkins (writer) and Bryan Collier (illustrator)

IntersectionAllies: We Make Room for All, by Chelsea Johnson, Carolyn Choi, and LaToya Council (writers) and Ashley Seil Smith (illustrator)

Let The Children March, by Monica Clark-Robinson (writer) and Frank Morrison (illustrator)

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, by Vashti Harrison

Little Legends: Exceptional Men In Black History, by Vashti Harrison

M is for Melanin: A Celebration of the Black Child, by Tiffany Rose (writer and illustrator)

Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration, by Samara Cole Doyon (writer) and Kaylani Juanita (illustrator)

My Hair Is Beautiful, by Shauntee Grant

Parker Looks Up, by Parker Curry and Jessica Curry (writers) and Brittany Jackson (illustrator)

Princess Hair, by Sharee Miller (writer and illustrator)

Ruth and the Green Book, by Calvin A. Ramsey with Gwen Strauss (writer) and Floyd Cooper (illustrator)

Sing a Song: How Lift Every Voice and Sing Inspired Generations, by Kelly Starling Lyons (writer) and Keith Mallett (illustrator)

Our Town: a Child’s Story About Racial Injustice, by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard (writers) and Jennifer Zivoin (illustrators)

Sulwe, by Lupita N’yongo (writer) and Vashti Harrison (illustrator)

The Day You Begin, by Jacqueline Woodson (writer) and Rafael López (illustrator)

The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned To Read, by Rita Lorraine Hubbard (writer) and Oge Mora (illustrator)

The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne, by Lesa Cline-Ransome (writer) and John Parra (illustrator)

The Undefeated, by Kwame Alexander (writer) and Kadir Nelson (illustrator)

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy, by Tony Medina (writer) and Javaka Steptoe, Gregory R. Christie, Ekua Holmes, and Floyd Cooper (illustrators)

Ways to Make Sunshine, by Renée Watson

We March, by Shane Evans (writer) and Sharee Evans (illustrator)

You Matter, by Christian Robinson (writer and illustrator)

Fourth Through Eighth Grade

A Good Kind of Trouble, by Lisa Moore Ramee

Betty Before X, by Ilyasah Shabazz and Renée Watson

Black Brother, Black Brother, by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Black Enough: stories of being young & Black in America, by Ibi Zoboi (editor)

Black Women in Science: A Black History Book for Kids, by Kimberly Brown

Blended, by Sharon Draper

Brave. Black. First.: 50+ African American Women Who Changed the World, by Cheryl Hudson and Erin K. Robinson (illustrator)

Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson

Clean Getaway, by Nic Stone

Dark Sky Rising: Reconstruction and the Dawn of Jim Crow, by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Tonya Bolden

Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z, by Irene Latham & Charles Waters (writers) and Mehrdokht Amini (illustrator)

Finding Langston, by Lesa Cline-Ransome

For Black Girls Like Me, by Mariama J. Lockington

From the Desk of Zoe Washington, by Janae Marks

Genesis Begins Again, by Alicia D. Williams

Ghost Boys, by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Hidden Figures: The Untold True Story of Four African-American Women who Helped Launch Our Nation into Space, by Margot Lee Shetterly

March Forward, Girl, by Melba Patillo Beals (writer) and Frank Morrison (illustrator)

One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams Garcia

One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance, by Nikki Grimes

Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson, by Katherine Johnson

Say Her Name, by Zetta Elliott (writer) and Loveis Wise (illustrator)

Schomburg: the Man Who Built a Library, by Carole Boston Weatherford (writer) and Eric Velasquez (illustrator)

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning Stamped From the Beginning, by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

The Parker Inheritance, by Varian Johnson

The Season of Styx Malone, by Kekla Magoon

This Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality, by Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debby Levy

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices, by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson

What Lane?, by Torrey Maldonado

To learn more about the selections on this list, visit the ALSC website.

For more book recommendations and other content from libraries, subscribe to the I Love Libraries newsletter.