Skills Building: A Kid's Book About Racism (PK-2)

Unit 14 Book - Kids Book About Racism

Written by and illustrated by Jelani Memory

Pre- Reading Questions 

  1. What does it mean to be racist?
  2. What does it mean to be anti-racist?
  3. Do you think kids can talk about racism?
  4. Why is talking about racism important?

Post- Reading Questions

  1. Why do you think some people think it’s OK to treat others differently because they have a different skin color?
  2. Have you ever seen someone be treated differently because of their skin color? Have you ever been treated differently because of your skin color?  (Hint: if you have white students, challenge them to think of a time that they might have had an advantage because of their whiteness.)
  3. How can we help others learn about the harms of racism?
  4. What will you do next time when you see or experience someone being racist?

Creative Enrichment Activity: Our Masks of Differences


In the books Something Happened in Our Town and A Kid’s Book About Racism, we read about racism and how we might see it in our lives. In this activity, we are going to make masks that represent ourselves and the things that we love about ourselves. At the end of this activity, we will talk more about racism, how we can work towards being anti-racist, and reflect on what we’ve learned.


  • Mask templates printed on cardstock
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Markers/crayons
  • Tape
  • Scissors 
  • Stickers

Duration45 minutes (for staff: 5-minute pre-activity setup, 15-minute prep)

  • 5 minutes: Introduce the activity using the book
  • 15 minutes: Students decorate their masks, older students also cut-out their masks
  • 5 minutes: Clean up
  • 20 minutes: Reflect, share, and discuss racism


  1. Introduce the activity. 
  2. Each student receives a mask template. Staff should pre-cut masks for younger students or students who may have trouble cutting it themselves. Older students can cut the masks themselves
  3. Decorate one side of the mask in a way that represents the student in some way (favorite colors, foods, family, sports, etc). The other side of the mask should be left blank. 
  4. Tape the popsicle stick to the blank side of the mask. 
  5. Clean up the materials. 
  6. Reflect, share, and discuss racism.

Reflection Questions

  • Share your mask with your neighbor. How are your masks similar and different? 
  • Have all students flip their mask so the blank side is facing out. 
    • How does it feel if we all look the same? 
    • Now flip the masks, how does it feel now that we all look different? 
    • What would it be like if we were all the same? 
    • You all worked hard on your masks, would you like it if no one noticed what makes you unique and said that you are all the same? How would that feel?

Privilege & Racism Activity

Do this part of the exercise with students in grades 2-5 only; PK – 1 students to observe and discuss, if possible, but should watch rather than participate. Before beginning this exercise, explain to the students that we are going to “role-play” or act and that you are impressed with how hard they worked on their masks and love all of them in their own unique way.


  • “Everyone who used blue in your mask stand-up!” Any color can be used but pick a color that not every student used. Move that group of students to one side of the space. 
  • “Everyone who used pink on their masks stand-up!” Move that group of students to the other side of the space. 
  • Give each student who used the first color in their mask two stickers and tell them all how wonderful, smart, talented, etc. they are. Praise them in an exaggerated way but do not look too closely at their masks. 
  • Look very closely at each of the masks of the students who used the second color, give only one sticker to one student. Tell that student that they worked hard but do not praise them like you did the first group.
  • Start a discussion using questions on the right
  • Give all students two stickers and congratulate them for thinking hard and reflecting. 

Reflection Questions

  • How did it feel to be in the first group that got two stickers and lots of praise? 
  • How did it feel to be in the second group where only one person received one sticker? 
  • Is it fair that one group got two stickers and lots of praise for just using blue (or the color you chose) on their mask? 
  • Is it fair that only one person in the pink group (or the color you chose) got one sticker? 
  • How do you think this relates to racism? 
  • Explain that racism isn’t just a bad person saying mean words; racism is also systems and laws that are unfair, hard, and create obstacles to certain groups of people and allows other groups to succeed much more easily. It is our job as students learning about anti-racism to pay attention and notice when and where these systems and unfair rules are taking place, and to stand up for the groups of people who are being treated unfairly. If we are in the group that is allowed to succeed more easily, it is ESPECIALLY important that we use our privilege and our success in these unfair systems to bring light to inequities and unfairness in the system.
Mask Activity1
Mask Activity2