5 Anti-Racist Books for Parents and Young People (13–19)

Here, I will talk about books I would show to parents of teenagers — texts I think parents would find useful in opening dialogues with their children on race, identity and Black history.

For me, I was twelve when I began to talk about police brutality, which was also the time when I was introduced to Flavor Flav, Chuck D and Public Enemy… boooooi!

Photo by Suad Kamardeen on Unsplash

Here are five books that will challenge teens, who will have everything they think they know about all things distorted and reevaluated, making them ask more questions about inner-conflict and identity — from racism and crime to Black history and policing.

Boys Don’t Cry (2010), Malorie Blackman

Summary: Dante is seventeen, waiting to recieve his A-Level exam results, hoping for future of university education and journalism. When his ex-girlfriend Melanie turns up unexpectedly with a baby, his life is flipped upside down. Left holding, Dante has a life now that he did not expect and Malorie’s novel really is a page-turner.

‘Boys Don’t Cry’ starts strong and then goes on to tackle teenage pregnancy and fatherhood in the UK

Malorie Blackman (Penguin)

Appropriateness: Age 14+

Taking Up Space: The Black Girl’s Manifesto for Change (2018), Chelsea Kwakye and Ore Ogunbiyi

Ore Ogunbiyi (lef) and Chelsea Kwakye (right)

Appropriateness: 15+

I Am Nobody’s Nigger (2013), Dean Atta

Writer, poet and revolutionary Dean Atta

Appropriateness: 13+

If Beale Street Could Talk (1974), James Baldwin

James Baldwin

Appropriateness: 14+

Beginning with Your Last Breath (2016), Roy McFarlane

There is an African spiritual power here, of oral storytelling that has lasted thousands of years. If you are to buy a lockdown poetry book that is also politically and socially relevant to our current moment, let this be the verse.

Appropriateness: 12+

These are texts that parents and their children can look at, young people will be challenged by the ideas presented in these books and perhaps begin to see the world a bit different. Maybe, even feel inspired.

Writer-Poet | Muses: Black and Mixed-Race histories, inequality, identity, arts et al| Race and Black History Educator | treventour.com | MA Student |