Book Recommendations


Guest Contributor

Farzana Saleem, PhD



Below are a few examples of books for children and adolescents focused on facilitating a conversation between African American parents and children regarding race, racial discrimination, and managing racial stress and trauma.



Preschool and Elementary


Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children by Sandra L. Pinkney

Picture book celebrating the beauty of African-American children in their skin, hair and eye colors.


Something Happened in Our Town by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins and Ann Hazzard

Describes a traumatic event, a police shooting, from the perspective of a White family and an African American family.


Middle School


Momma Did you Hear the News by Sanya Whittaker Gragg

In this rhyming picture book, black parents tell their sons how to behave if approached by a police officer.


Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

In a story that explicitly recalls the murder of Tamir Rice, Jerome, a 12-year-old black boy killed by a white Chicago cop, must, along with the ghosts of Emmett Till and others, process what has happened and how.


High School


Testimony: Young African Americans on Self-Discovery and Black Identity by Natasha Tarpley

Expressions of Black student experiences as they navigate personal, political and cultural challenges to embrace themselves and establish their identities.


The Hate you Give by Angie Thomas

A story (and now movie) of a 16-year-old black girl who is drawn to activism after she witnesses the police shooting of a childhood friend.


Guest Contributor

Dr. Farzana Saleem is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of California Los Angeles in the Departments of Psychiatry and Education. Farzana investigates factors at the family (e.g., racial socialization) and community levels (e.g., neighborhood cohesion) that buffer the effects of racial discrimination on the mental health of Black and Brown youth. She is dedicated to eradicating mental health racial disparities and promoting the well-being of underserved and racially diverse youth and families.

#BlackMentalWellness #Books #MentalHealth

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