Raising Conscious Kids

Raising Conscious Kids
Raising conscious and informed children requires an education on social and racial inequalities and injustices. We’re highlighting some young reader titles to inspire open conversations about race, racism, and prejudice.

Ages 0 and up

AntiRacist BabyAntiRacist Baby
Written by Ibram X. Kendi
Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky
24 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board Book
ISBN 9780593110416 | Kokila
From the National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist comes a fresh new board book that empowers parents and children to uproot racism in our society and in ourselves. With bold art and thoughtful yet playful text, Antiracist Baby introduces the youngest readers and the grown-ups in their lives to the concept and power of antiracism. Providing the language necessary to begin critical conversations at the earliest age, Antiracist Baby is the perfect gift for readers of all ages dedicated to forming a just society.

Ages 3 and up

Last Stop on Market StreetLast Stop on Market Street
By Matt de la Peña
Illustrated by Christian Robinson
32 Pages | Ages 3-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399257742 | G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.

The New NeighborsThe New Neighbors
By Sarah McIntyre
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781524789961 | Penguin Workshop
New neighbors have moved into the ground floor of a bustling apartment building. The bunnies upstairs are excited, but what will the other residents think? Sarah McIntyre’s funny, light-hearted tale reveals there’s no room for prejudice. The bunnies upstairs are thrilled to find out that rats have moved into the first-floor apartment. But when other neighbors discover the news, excitement soon turns to jitters, panic, and worse! As the residents descend the stairs to investigate, the rats prepare a yummy dessert. Will all of the animals make the rats leave, or can fear be conquered with delicious, homemade cake?

A Is for ActivistA is for Activist
By Innosanto Nagara
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781609806934 | Triangle Square
This bestselling ABC book is written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives: families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for. A continuous bestseller, we heard from booksellers around the country who clamored for a large format edition that would appeal to children over the age of 5. This engaging book carries huge messages as it inspires hope for the future, and calls children and parents to action.

Ages 4 and up

Hands UpHands Up!
Breanna J. McDaniel
Illustrated by Shane W. Evans
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525552314 | Dial Books
A young black girl lifts her baby hands up to greet the sun, reaches her hands up for a book on a high shelf, and raises her hands up in praise at a church service. She stretches her hands up high like a plane’s wings and whizzes down a hill so fast on her bike with her hands way up. As she grows, she lives through everyday moments of joy, love, and sadness. And when she gets a little older, she joins together with her family and her community in a protest march, where they lift their hands up together in resistance and strength.

We Really Do CareWe Really Do Care
By Tami Lewis Brown and Tania de Regil
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984836304 | Philomel Books
Inspired by current events, this picture book shows the importance of compassion, empathy, and demonstrates how even the smallest act of kindness can make a difference. A little boy has a ball. It’s his, and he really doesn’t care if nobody else has a ball. He’s not sharing. He’s not sharing his pets either. Or his family. Especially not his brother. But then he realizes that both he and the new little girl he meets – the one who’s all alone without a ball or a pet or a family of her own – are actually quite similar. And when he sees their similarities instead of their differences, he’s happy to share. Even his little brother.

Ages 5 and up

The Other SideThe Other Side
By Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by E. B. Lewis
32 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399231162 | G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Clover’s mom says it isn’t safe to cross the fence that segregates their African-American side of town from the white side where Anna lives. But the two girls strike up a friendship, and get around the grown-ups’ rules by sitting on top of the fence together. With the addition of a brand-new author’s note, this special edition celebrates the tenth anniversary of this classic book. As always, Woodson moves readers with her lyrical narrative, and E. B. Lewis’s amazing talent shines in his gorgeous watercolor illustrations.

Each KindnessEach Kindness
By Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by E. B. Lewis
32 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399246524 | Nancy Paulsen Books
This unforgettable book is written and illustrated by the award-winning team that created The Other Side and the Caldecott Honor winner Coming On Home Soon. With its powerful anti-bullying message and striking art, it will resonate with readers long after they’ve put it down. Chloe and her friends won’t play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe’s teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she’d shown a little kindness toward Maya.

FirebirdFirebird
By Misty Copeland
Illustrated by Christopher Myers
40 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399166150 | G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
In her debut picture book, Misty Copeland tells the story of a young girl – an every girl – whose confidence is fragile and who is questioning her own ability to reach the heights that Misty has reached. Misty encourages this young girl’s faith in herself and shows her exactly how, through hard work and dedication, she too can become Firebird. Lyrical and affecting text paired with bold, striking illustrations that are some of Caldecott Honoree Christopher Myers’s best work, makes Firebird perfect for aspiring ballerinas everywhere.

The Day You BeginThe Day You Begin
By Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by Rafael López
32 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399246531 | Nancy Paulsen Books
There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it. Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael López’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.

Preaching to the ChickensPreaching to the Children: The Story of Young John Lewis
By Jabari Asim
Illustrated by E. B. Lewis
32 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399168567 | Nancy Paulsen Books
Critically acclaimed author Jabari Asim and Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator E. B. Lewis give readers a fascinating glimpse into the boyhood of Civil Rights leader John Lewis. John wants to be a preacher when he grows up—a leader whose words stir hearts to change, minds to think, and bodies to take action. But why wait? When John is put in charge of the family farm’s flock of chickens, he discovers that they make a wonderful congregation! So he preaches to his flock, and they listen, content under his watchful care, riveted by the rhythm of his voice.

Seeds of FreedomSeeds of Freedom
By Hester Bass
Illustrated by E. B. Lewis
32 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Paperback
ISBN 9780763695163 | Candlewick Press
Mention the civil rights era in Alabama and most people recall images of terrible violence. But for the citizens of Huntsville, creativity, courage, and cooperation were the keys to working together to integrate their city and schools in peace. This engaging celebration of a lesser-known chapter in American and African-American history shows how racial discrimination, bullying, and unfairness can be faced successfully with perseverance and ingenuity.

Go Show the WorldGo Show the World
By Wab Kinew
Illustrated by Joe Morse
40 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735262928 | Tundra Books
“We are a people who matter.” Inspired by President Barack Obama’s Of Thee I Sing, Go Show the World is a tribute to historic and modern-day Indigenous heroes, featuring important figures such as Tecumseh, Sacagawea and former NASA astronaut John Herrington. Celebrating the stories of Indigenous people throughout time, Wab Kinew has created a powerful rap song, the lyrics of which are the basis for the text in this beautiful picture book, illustrated by the acclaimed Joe Morse. Including figures such as Crazy Horse, Net-no-kwa, former NASA astronaut John Herrington and Canadian NHL goalie Carey Price, Go Show the World showcases a diverse group of Indigenous people in the US and Canada, both the more well known and the not- so-widely recognized.

Ages 6 and up

Mr Lincolns WayMr. Lincoln’s Way
By Patricia Polacco
48 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9780425288313 | Puffin Books
Mr. Lincoln is the coolest principal ever! He knows how to do everything, from jumping rope to leading nature walks. Everyone loves him . . . except for Eugene Esterhause. “Mean Gene” hates everyone who’s different. He’s a bully, a bad student, and he calls people awful, racist names. But Mr. Lincoln knows that Eugene isn’t really bad-he’s just repeating things he’s heard at home. Can the principal find a way to get through to “Mean Gene” and show him that the differences between people are what make them special?

Ages 8 and up

Clean GetawayClean Getaway
By Nic Stone
240 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984892973 | Crown Books for Young Readers
How to Go on an Unplanned Road Trip with Your Grandma:
– Grab a Suitcase: Prepacked from the big spring break trip that got CANCELLED.
– Fasten Your Seatbelt: G’ma’s never conventional, so this trip won’t be either.
– Use the Green Book: G’ma’s most treasured possession. It holds history, memories, and most important, the way home.

What Not to Bring:
– A Cell Phone: Avoid contact with Dad at all costs. Even when G’ma starts acting stranger than usual.

Set against the backdrop of the segregation history of the American South, take a trip with this New York Times bestseller and an eleven-year-old boy who is about to discover that the world hasn’t always been a welcoming place for kids like him, and things aren’t always what they seem – his G’ma included.”

Ages 9 and up

Heart of a ChampionHeart of a Champion
By Ellen Schwartz
272 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9781770498815 | Tundra Books
Ten-year-old Kenny (Kenji in Japanese) worships his older brother, Mickey (Mitsuo), a baseball hero whose outstanding performance on the Asahi baseball team has given him fame and popularity. But world events soon overtake life in this quiet community. When Japan attacks Pearl Harbor in 1941, everything for Kenny and his family spirals out of control: schools are closed, businesses are confiscated, fathers are arrested and sent to work camps in the BC interior and mothers and children are relocated to internment camps. Coming across a “vacant” field covered with scrap wood, broken shakes and torn tar paper, Kenny gets permission to clear it and convert it into a baseball field. One by one, the boys in the camp pitch in, and the work gives purpose to their long days. Kenny’s persistence, hard work and big dreams shape the teen he is to become in this story of happiness found despite all odds.

Ages 10 and up

Brown Girl DreamingBrown Girl Dreaming
By Jacqueline Woodson
368 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780147515827 | Puffin Books
Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

Five Thousand Years of SlaveryFive Thousand Years of Slavery
By Marjorie Gann and Janet Willen
176 Pages | Ages 10+ | eBook
ISBN 9781770491519 | Tundra Books
When they were too impoverished to raise their families, ancient Sumerians sold their children into bondage. Slave women in Rome faced never-ending household drudgery. The ninth-century Zanj were transported from East Africa to work the salt marshes of Iraq. Cotton pickers worked under terrible duress in the American South. Ancient history? Tragically, no. In our time, slavery wears many faces. James Kofi Annan’s parents in Ghana sold him because they could not feed him. Beatrice Fernando had to work almost around the clock in Lebanon. Julia Gabriel was trafficked from Arizona to the cucumber fields of South Carolina. Five Thousand Years of Slavery provides the suspense and emotional engagement of a great novel. It is an excellent resource with its comprehensive historical narrative, firsthand accounts, maps, archival photos, paintings and posters, an index, and suggestions for further reading. Much more than a reference work, it is a brilliant exploration of the worst – and the best – in human society.

Voice of FreedomVoice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer
By Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by Ekua Holmes
56 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9781536203257 | Candlewick Press
“I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
Despite fierce prejudice and abuse, even being beaten to within an inch of her life, Fannie Lou Hamer was a champion of civil rights from the 1950s until her death in 1977. Integral to the Freedom Summer of 1964, Ms. Hamer gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention that, despite President Johnson’s interference, aired on national TV news and spurred the nation to support the Freedom Democrats. Featuring vibrant mixed-media art full of intricate detail, Voice of Freedom celebrates Fannie Lou Hamer’s life and legacy with a message of hope, determination, and strength.

Ages 12 and up

Speak a Word for FreedomSpeak a World for Freedom
By Janet Willen and Marjorie Gann
216 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781770496514 | Tundra Books
From the early days of the antislavery movement, when political action by women was frowned upon, British and American women were tireless and uncompromising campaigners. Without their efforts, emancipation would have taken much longer. And the commitment of today’s women, who fight against human trafficking and child slavery, descends directly from that of the early female activists. Speak a Word for Freedom: Women against Slavery tells the story of fourteen of these women. Meet Alice Seeley Harris, the British missionary whose graphic photographs of mutilated Congolese rubber slaves in 1904 galvanized a nation; Hadijatou Mani, the woman from Niger who successfully sued her own government in 2008 for failing to protect her from slavery, as well as Elizabeth Freeman, Elizabeth Heyrick, Ellen Craft, Harriet Tubman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frances Anne Kemble, Kathleen Simon, Fredericka Martin, Timea Nagy, Micheline Slattery, Sheila Roseau and Nina Smith. With photographs, source notes, and index.

As a publisher, we are learning a lot and have a long ways to go to diversify our staff, work culture, and the voices and experiences we publish. While we work on this, we are committed to amplifying the BIPOC voices on our lists.

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