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The recent, tragic death of George Floyd has brought the topics of racism and racial intolerance into the global spotlight. In a show of solidarity, people of all races have engaged in protests held around the world in support of racial equality.

At Peterson’s, we’re committed to showing our support of racial equality and becoming part of the solution. Through our publishing division, B.E.S. Publishing, we’re dedicated to releasing titles that drive conversation around difficult issues that need to happen at an early age. 

“Change starts with a conversation, and what better way to guide a conversation about acceptance and diversity than with books,” said Lori Burke, Director of Publishing at Peterson’s. “We are proud to publish titles on diversity that help foster not only a love of reading, but give adults a forum to discuss important social issues like racism with children. Books will shape the minds and hearts of our next generation, and each book read together by parents and children is a step in that direction of creating positive change.” 

We’ve gathered our recommended reading list of titles that help young readers learn about the important topics of racism, diversity, and acceptance. 

  1. Racism and Intolerance (Children In Our World Series)
    By Louise Spilsbury (Author), Hanane Kai (Illustrator)
    Grade Level: 1 – 2
    This book uses relatable comparisons, carefully researched text, and striking illustrations to help kids understand the many difficulties that children just like them face in the world today. In Racism and Intolerance, children can get answers to questions like: “What does it mean to be a racist—or intolerant?” and “How can I help?” Children will begin to understand the way others struggle with these issues and become empowered to make a difference.
  2. Together We Can!: A heart-warming ode to friendship, compassion, and kindness
    By Caryl Hart (Author), Ali Pye (Illustrator)
    Grade Level: Preschool – 2
    The message is clear — friends come in all different sizes, shapes, and colors. Children will love this story about the joys of bonding, sharing, playing, and working together. And parents and other adults will appreciate a message that builds character and fosters empathic skills in children.
  3. The Skin I’m In: A First Look at Racism
    By Pat Thomas
    Grade Level: Preschool – 2
    Featured on Amazon’s Best Sellers’ list in the category of Children’s Multiculturalism & Tolerance, The Skin I’m In encourages kids to accept and be comfortable with differences of skin color and other racial characteristics among their friends and in themselves. Titles in the A First Look At series explore the dynamics in relationships among children of preschool through early school age, and encourage kids to understand personal and social problems as a first step toward solving them.
  4. My Friend Moe
    By Jennifer Sattler
    Grade Level: Preschool and up
    My Friend Moe delivers an endearing, unforgettable story that helps children realize you don’t have to be exactly alike to be best friends. A guinea pig and his friend, Moe, have lots of traits that make them stand out. Most of the time, they aren’t alike at all, but it’s those differences that make them such great friends. Children will love seeing that true friends can be delighted by people who aren’t just like them… except in all the ways that really matter.
  5. Everyone Matters: A First Look at Respect for Others
    By Pat Thomas  (Author), Lesley Harker (Illustrator)
    Grade Level: Kindergarten – 2
    Children learn that having respect means treating everyone fairly. But there are some types of respect that each person must earn for themselves—by keeping promises, being honest in what they say and do, and being polite and respectful to others. Most important of all, boys and girls learn that people who are different deserve just as much respect as close friends. 

Looking for other children’s titles? Check out our Spring/Summer 2020 catalogue by B.E.S. Publishing by Peterson’s.