Conversations About Race: Read

Below are some resources compiled by The Leadership Institute for discussing race and racism. When using these books or movies, adults should be cautious to avoid projecting their own experiences and anxieties onto their children. Come to think of it, that’s good advice everyday. Instead, allow children to respond and process freely.  So often as adults, we sense the need to tell children how they are supposed to feel. These books can provide the space for children to express their feelings and their own sacred stories.

The movies listed below are for adults. Some have mature content and while watching them with teens can lead to powerful conversations about race, families should take caution using these films with children who are very young.

Walking With God (as seen on the Diocese of Bridgeport site)

An Anti-Racism Reading List (by National Catholic Reporter)

Archbishop Lori: How Church Teaching Can Help Explain Why ‘Black Lives Matter’ (by America Magazine)

Anti-Racism Resources (Greater Good Magazine)

Teaching Tolerance – great resources for teachers!

Recommended by Gloria Purvis (webinar speaker)

Slavery By Another Name (black history from Civil War to WWII)

Desegregating the Altar

Eyes on the Prize

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

Reflection Questions for Children and Pre-Teens

Adults: use this as a chance to help guide children in responding and processing. To engage conversations, we recommend the following questions:

Ages 3-5: What was important in this story? What bothered you about the story? What did you like about the story?

Ages 5-8: Have you ever felt like one of the characters? Have you had an experience or seen something like this happen – how did it that make you feel?

Ages 8-12: What feelings did you have about this story? I wonder why you felt ____. I wonder what you would do in this situation. I wonder how this story could have been different. I wonder what made this happen.

Ages 12 and older (movies-specific): What did you think about the experiences shown in the film? What challenges do you think the movie raises for today’s society?

Books With A Historical Context

I Have A Dream (ages 7 and up)
Martin Luther King Jr, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
This is the text of King’s speech, given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, August 28th, 1963. Beautifully bold paintings by Kadir Nelson bring the reader onto the steps with King.

Gordon Parks: How The Photographer captured Black and White America (ages 6-10)
Carole Boston Weatherford & Jamey Christoph
This book follows the life of Gordon Parks, famous for being the first black film director. The pictures and story captured in this book really show how he captured life where people were treated different because of the color of their skin via photography.

White Flour (ages 8-12)
David LaMotte
Inspired by true events in May of 2007, White Flour tells a story of humor conquering hatred. This was the day that the Ku Klux Klan met the Coup Clutz Clowns. It is an instructive and inspiring tale of a Third Way, illustrating that there are more creative responses to hatred and bigotry than fight or flight, and doing so in Seussian rhyme. Christian formation lesson plans and video available:

Relationship Building & Anti- Discrimination

The Judgmental Flower (ages 4-8)
By: Julia Cook
Using flowers, this book discusses differences and helps us to learn how to value differences by exploring  how we might feel when excluded and how we should treat one another.

Giraffes Can’t Dance (ages 3-7)
By: Giles Andreae
A story about not judging a book by its cover. Themes of being different, accepting others, and celebrating gifts.

The Crayon Box that Talked (ages 3-7)
By: Shane DeRolf (Anti-Discrimination)
This book is an illustration about not getting along and being different and how to accept one another by using crayons who live in a same box.

Strictly No Elephants (ages 6-8)
By: Lisa Mantchev
This book displays the importance of friendship despite differences, when his pet elephant isn’t allowed into the local pet club.

Chinese Eyes (ages 6-9)
Marjorie Ann Waybill and Pauline Cutrell  *Out of print but widely available used
A story about a first-grade girl who is adopted from Korean. How she feels and how her mother supports her when she comes from from school having been called “Chinese eyes” by older children. An honest and heartfelt book. 10 minutes to read aloud.

Faith Based Books

God’s Dream (ages 3-7)
By Archbishop Desmond Tutu
This book discusses unity and forgiveness and reminds us that we are all brothers and sisters.

The Beatitudes: From Slavery to Civil Rights (ages 8-12)
Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Tim Ladwig
Churches that follow the Revised Common Lectionary in 2017 will be hearing the Beatitudes, Matt 5: 1-12, for Epiphany 4. In this book, using free-form poetry, Weatherford connects Jesus’ powerful sermon (found along the bottom of each page) with the experiences of African-Americans: from the earliest instances of slavery through the Civil Rights Era and today.

Bestselling Books for Kids

  • “The Colors of Us” by Karen Katz
  • “Let’s Talk About Race” by Julius Lester
  • “The Skin I’m In: A First Look at Racism” by Pat Thomas
  • Sesame Street’s “We’re Different, We’re the Same” by Bobbi Jane Kates
  • “Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story about Racial Injustice” by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard
  • “I Am Enough” by Grace Byers
  • “Happy in Our Skin” by Fran Manushkin and Lauren Tobia
  • “Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement” by Carole Boston Weatherford and Ekua Holmes
  • “Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America” by Jennifer Harvey
  • “Daddy Why Am I Brown?: A healthy conversation about skin color and family” by Bedford F. Palmer
  • “A Terrible Thing Happened” by Margaret Holmes
  • “Antiracist Baby” by Ibram X. Kendi

Books for Adults

  • “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism” by Robin DiAngelo
  • “How to Be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi
  • “Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do” by Jennifer L. Eberhardt
  • “Raising White Kids” by Jennifer Harvey
  • “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo
  • “The Black and the Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes, Racism, and Injustice in America’s Law Enforcement” by Matthew Horace and Ron Harris
  • “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” by Bryan Stevenson
  • “The Fire Next Time” by James Baldwin
  • “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge
  • “They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, And A New Era In America’s Racial Justice Movement” by Wesley Lowery
  • “Hood Feminism: Notes From The Women That The Movement Forgot” by Mikki Kendall
  • “Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism” by bell hooks
  • “Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People” by Ben Crump
  • “From Slavery To Freedom: A History of African Americans” by John Hope Franklin
  • “The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear” by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and William Barber II
  • “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
  • “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander
  • “The Color of Law” by Richard Rothstein
  • “Fatal Invention” by Dorothy Roberts
  • “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Olou
  • “Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present” by Harriet Washington
  • “The Wretched of the Earth” by Frantz Fanon
  • “Breathe: A Letter to My Sons by Imani Perry
  • “The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
  • “A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies by Bartolomé de las Casas

Books for Teens

  • “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas
  • “Harbor Me” by Jacqueline Woodson
  • “This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do The Work” by Tiffany Jewell and Aurelia Durand
  • “Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson
  • “Dear White People” by Justin Simien


White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

Remember That You Were Once Foreigners

Anti-Racism Work

Open Wide Our Hearts: Diocesan Anti-Racism Campaign

When Talking About Racial Inequality, Don’t Forget the Gap of Black Stress

Racism in Our Streets and Structures

A Guide to the Discussion You Are Scared to Have Right Now

The Assumptions of White Privilege and What We Can Do About It

Meet Father Bryan Massingale: A Black, Gay, Catholic Priest Fighting for an Inclusive Church

Joint Statement of Catholic Bishops of Mississippi Against Racism

Anti-Racist Resources from Greater Good

Can Catholics support ‘Black Lives Matter’?

This Is the Casual Racism That I Face at My Elite High School

Fatal Police Shootings Of Unarmed Black People Reveal Troubling Patterns


Should Catholic Schools Teach Critical Race Theory?

Bishop Frank Caggiano wants to bring catechesis into the modern digital age

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