Sharing the Megaphone:

Let’s raise a kinder, more compassionate generation, one book at a time 

As parents, we know our kitchen table is the best classroom. The opportunity to inspire change for the future lies in the conversations we share together. Ideally, the tone of what I discuss with my children, even something like race, should be loving, truthful, and eye-opening. And because I don’t know everything I want to know about ending racism, I asked for help.

Today, I turn my megaphone over to a kind and patient teacher who has expanded both my heart and my children’s library.

Valerie Bolling is a new friend. We talked on the phone and emailed a whole lot over the last few days and I am so grateful for her guidance.

Valerie is an educator and author. She has spent her entire 27-year career here in the Greenwich public school system. Coincidentally, she is speaking with my son’s second grade class today about her new book, “Let’s Dance!”

The book celebrates dancers from all over the world, including West Africa, Cuba, and Ireland.

As part of his homework, my son had to come up with a question for the author. So we read through her website and stopped at her bio to discuss her mission of “inclusiveness in children’s literature.”

What does inclusiveness mean? And who have we been excluding? I figured, if I need help answering these questions, other parents might too.

So I emailed Valerie, and she graciously responded. In our flurry of back-and-forth, she provided a spring of information that overflowed into this fantastic list of books. They serve to spark conversation and instill, at an early age, appreciation and acceptance for all races and cultures.

I am indebted to you, Valerie, for your generosity of time and expertise. Most of all, I appreciate the respectful and honest dialogue about race.


  • Let’s Dance! by Valerie Bolling
  • I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes
  • Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes
  • Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham
  • Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins
  • Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry
  • Saturday by Oge Mora
  • Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena
  • This Is It by Daria Peoples-Riley
  • The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad
  • The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander
  • The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You by Sonia Sotomayor
  • Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
  • Brown Baby Lullaby by Tameka Fryer Brown
  • The Arabic Quilt by Aya Khalil
  • Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon by Kelly Starling Lyons
  • The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard
  • Praline Lady by Kirstie Myvett (due out November 2020)
  • All Because You Matter by Tami Charles (due out October 2020 and available for pre-order)


  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
  • How to Be Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
  • Dying of Whiteness by Jonathan Metzl

This list was compiled with contributions by Valerie Bollings literary circle and her Twitter followers.