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April 15, 2021

A Diverse, Anti-Racist Reading Guide for Grades 3-5

Explore this anti-racist reading list for grades 3-5 students and find ways to promote diverse books and readings in your classroom and at home.

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Anti-Racist Reading List for Grades 3-5

Are you looking to add anti-racist books to your library but don’t know where to start? Have you been thinking about how to have meaningful conversations with young people about race, but lack confidence in how to begin? The books in our Anti-Racism Reading List will help you take the first steps or continue the critical discussions about anti-racism work relevant to your setting.

In this blog post, we’ve rounded up books from our anti-racism reading list for grades 3-5. You can find more of our anti-racism titles in our Anti-Racism Diverse Reading List and the corresponding book collection.

Ana Maria Reyes Anti-Racist Reading List

Ana María Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle written by Hilda Eunice Burgos: In this sparkling middle grade debut, Ana María Reyes has to figure out life with three sisters, a tiny two-bedroom apartment, and one chance to shine in the upcoming city piano showcase.

Dream Builder Anti-Racist Reading List

Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon written by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Laura Freeman: You’ve seen the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Now meet the. man whose life went into building it.

As Fast as Words Could Fly Anti-Racist Reading List

As Fast As Words Could Fly written by Pamela M. Tuck, illustrated by Eric Velasquez: Mason Steele, an African American boy in 1960s Greenville, North Carolina, relies on his inner confidence and typing skills to face challenges and break racial barriers after he begins attending a “whites only” high school.

Friends from the other side Anti-Racist Reading List

Friends from the Other Side/ Amigos del otro lado written by Gloria Anzaldúa, illustrated by Consuelo Méndez: This poignant immigration story captures not only the hardship of daily life on the border, but also the beauty of the landscape and the dignity and generosity of spirit that Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants share. (Bilingual English/ Spanish)

Indian No More Anti-Racist Reading List

Indian No More written by Charlene Willing McManis with Traci Sorell: Winner of the American Indian Youth Literature Award! In this middle grade novel set in the 1950s, when the US government terminates the tribal rights of the Umpqua people, Regina and her family must leave their beloved reservation in Oregon and move to Los Angeles.

Love to Langston Anti-Racist Reading List

Love to Langston written by Tona Medina, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie: This biography in verse of the beloved poet Langston Hughes shows how he overcame numerous obstacles to follow his dreams and become a poet.

Step Up To the Plate Anti-Racist Reading List

Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh written by Uma Krishnaswami: While her parents and neighbors are struggling through World War II, working for India’s independence, and trying to stay on their farmland, nine-year-old Maria Singh learns to play softball just like her heroes in the All-American Girls’ League.

The People Shall Continue Anti-Racist Reading List

The People Shall Continue written by Simon J. Ortiz, illustrated by Sharol Graves: Renowned Acoma Pueblo poet and storyteller Simon J. Ortiz traces the progress of Native/ Indigenous people in North America from the time of creation to the present. (Also available in Spanish)

The Wind Called My Name Anti-Racist Reading List

The Wind Called My Name written by Mary Louise Sanchez: In this heartwarming historical middle-grade novel set in the 1930s, Margarita Sandoval and her family navigate the shifting winds of belonging in their new Wyoming town.

What We Believe Anti-Racist Reading List

What We Believe: A Black Lives Matter Principles Activity Book written by Laleña Garcia, illustrated by Caryn Davidson: This powerful activity book will engage hands, hearts, and minds as it introduces children to the guiding principles of the Black Lives Matter movement.

About Lee & Low Books: Founded almost thirty years ago, Lee & Low Books publishes award-winning children’s books that are “about everyone, for everyone.” The company is committed to fostering conversations about race, gender, and diversity in publishing and beyond. For more information, visit leeandlow.com.


Lee & Low Books

LEE & LOW BOOKS is an independent children’s book publisher specializing in diversity. Our motto, “about everyone, for everyone,” is as urgent today as it was when we started in 1991. It is our goal to meet the need for stories that all children can identify with and enjoy.

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