Books to Help Raise Good Humans

We want to raise good humans – kids that spot injustice and stand for equity. But where do we start? And when do we start? Sometimes we hear parents worry introducing topics like racism too early can be harmful, but it turns out kids notice race as early as preschool. Studies have shown parents’ silence on racism actually reinforces it. According to a study just last year, 60% of parents rarely or never discuss race/ethnicity or social class with their children. We are here to say, it’s not too early, and it’s critical that we start young if we want to raise a generation of good humans.

Books are a great way to start, so we reached out to Founder & CEO, Brittany Murlas. “Parents can’t teach anti-racism all by themselves at home. Raising anti-rascist/sexist/ableist humans requires we build empathy in our little ones, and we learn empathy from others, from their stories. Diverse children’s books are truly the best tool! The question of how early to introduce our kids to racism is only a question for white folks. Moms of Black boys do not have a choice of when to bring up racism, neither do parents who wear hijab.”

In March, Little Feminist published their own board book series, titled “We Are Little Feminists,” created specifically to help families discuss race, gender, sexuality, and disability to babies and toddlers. And’s monthly book club subscription uses the power of children’s books to help families integrate lessons of injustice and fighting for equity into storytime. But, with their help, we have also pulled together a list of books, for different ages of children to help families diversify their bookshelves.

Biographies of people of color, beyond athletes and musicians

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History – our favorite anthology of Black female leaders!
What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? – highlights the remarkable life of Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. She shattered glass ceilings serving as a Texas State Senator in 1967 alongside 30 White men.
Seeds of Change – tells the story of environmentalist Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Through her life’s work, she consistently demonstrated perseverance and dedication.

Fun fiction books by Black authors about Black characters

Baby Goes to Market – the routine task of grocery shopping becomes a colorful adventure filled with joy, and delicious treats! Enjoy counting along as Baby and Mama work their way through a bustling West African market together.
Thinker: My Puppy Poet – poet Eloise Greenfield uses relatable verse to give voice to Jace and his puppy, Thinker. Her poetry will draw in every kid (and adult) who’s ever dreamed of talking to animals.
The Jaden Toussaint series – a series of 5 early chapter books, Jaden’s environmentally friendly solutions remind us that kids think differently than adults, and that’s their strength!

Books about racism

The Undefeated – stunning poetry and illustrations highlight Black history and Black futures in this award-winning book. Understanding Black history is essential to understanding American history, and this book serves as a great tool for acknowledging and celebrating the contributions of African Americans.
Separate is Never Equal – both informative and engaging, this story of desegregation in California schools is so important for us to share so we can continue this movement today. This story follows Mexican-American families who advocated for themselves and other Mexican families at a time when race-based segregation was the accepted law.
Pies from Nowhere – the story of Georgia Gilmore, a civil rights activist, reminds us that we can all stand for justice using our unique skills. We love how the story celebrates Georgia’s big body too!

Books about being bullied for being different

Sulwe – a gorgeous tale about loving ALL of ourselves by Academy Award winner Lupita Nyongo.
Always Anjali – provides a window into Indian culture and shows us what it’s like to grow up with a unique name. Anjali’s story portrays the complexities of bullying, showing how people can be active upstanders who support the person getting bullied versus passive bystanders.
The Proudest Blue – Hijabi gold-medal Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad brings authenticicity to her own story of wearing hijab at school. A powerful reminder that something as simple as showing up in the world observing your faith and heritage requires incredible bravery.

Books that feature faiths beyond Christianity

Hats of Faith – a beginner’s encyclopedia of religions head coverings. The simple introductions to different religious practices opens our hearts to learning more about our communities and our world. It is important to note we don’t love “Hats” in the title, as hats are often worn due to fashion or weather, while religious head coverings are often worn based on deeply valued beliefs.
Mommy’s Khimar – there are a handful of stories about Muslim women wearing hijabs, veils, and khimars (yes, there are lots of different types and names), and this is our favorite by far.
The Many of Colors Harpreet Singh – provides a window into Sikh-American culture through the universal theme of navigating a new experience like moving. Harpreet’s story reflects how affirming it is to choose what we wear, while touching on the significance of a Sikh head-covering: a patka.

Books that celebrate all bodies and abilities

Lovely – there are so many bodies and intersecting identities celebrated in this book, every time we read it we discover something new we love. Jess Hong uses sparse words like ‘black’ and ‘white’ and ‘fancy’ and ‘sporty’ to highlight how all of our bodies are lovely. We love how the illustrations challenge our expectations!
We Are Little Feminists: On-the-Go – where are all the books featuring characters with disabilities as more than someone to pity or save? We have NO idea! So we published this book to feature as many kids with disabilities as possible moving in all sorts of ways.
Benny Doesn’t Like To be Hugged – we love that this story is told from the perspective of a little girl, describing what she loves and appreciates about her austic friend, Benny.

Books celebrating (and by) Indigenous Peoples

My Heart Fills with Happiness – with beautiful scenes reflecting Indigenous cultures, this book celebrates the simple joys of life.
May We Have Enough to Share – gorgeous photos all taken by Indigenous female photographers capture the spirit of gratitude.
Fry Bread – about the popular indigenous food, fry bread, this story features history, identity and modern idigenous culture through the diverse forms this food takes. The illustrations capture the complexity of natvie identity, as being Indigenous is about more than just race.

Books celebrating all family structures & genders

We Are Little Feminists: Families – with photos of real families and rhyming text, this board book showcases different families with one thing in common: love. Let your kiddos wonder about gender pronouns and expressions as they observe the people on each page.
When Aidan Becomes a Brother – centers on Aidan, a trans boy, who shows the depth and complexity of gender identity. Aidan shows us there are many ways of being a boy and there are many ways of being a kid
My Footprints – this book packs bullying, intersectional identity, a multiracial queer family, and complex emotions into one simple and visually stunning storyline.

Hungry for more? Or want our help curating the best picks for your family? Join Little Feminist book club. Use code ERGOBABY for 15% off any subscription.

Christina is a mama, conservationist, DIY’er, vintage fanatic, dog lover and the Ergobaby director of community.

She is passionate about babies, babywearing, birth, yoga, natural living, and healthy eats. When not online reading and writing about all of the above, she can be found spending time with her daughter, creating their family story in Los Angeles.

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