Why Use Books that Address Racial Injustice?
I remember hearing (I wish I could remember from where), that if you want to have a conversation with your child about a “heavy” topic… ask them what they know about it. For instance, in the case of racism, you might ask your child, “What do you know about racism?”
This is exactly what I did with my own son recently.
It opened up great dialogue, and I told him about the recent events that had me so heartbroken. I was hesitant to talk to my sensitive boy about the brutal killing of George Floyd. But, when he said, “But Mom, I thought that didn’t happen anymore!!”, it instantly reminded me that THIS was WHY we were having this conversation. It was to teach him that racial injustice is not just a thing of the past, it’s still happening right now. We talked more about what it meant to be an ally and a co-conspirator. We talked about so many important things.
And it stemmed from one question.
“What do you know about racism?”
Start there. Or start with a book. Whatever you do… start the conversation.
Books as Conversation Starters about Racial Injustice
As mentioned in the other blog posts in this series, the books listed below should be read by a teacher, or parent, before being placed on a bookshelf. Explicitly addressing questions that come up is so important while reading books on topics that may be challenging for kids to process on their own.
You might be inclined to call these “hard topics”, but re-frame that thinking… they are important topics!
All the books listed here can be found at a Toronto-based, Black-owned bookstore “A Different Booklist“. Please consider purchasing from them if you see a book that interests you.
Something Happened in Our Town
Written by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard
Illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
Ruth and the Green Book
Written by Calvin Alexander Ramsey
Illustrations by Floyd Cooper
The Village That Vanished
Written by Anne Grifalconi
Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Racism and Intolerance
Written by Louise Spilsbury
Illustrated by Hanane Kai
WOKE – A Young Poet’s Call to Justice
Written by Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood
Art by Theodore Taylor
We Rise, We Resist, We Raise our Voices
This collection of work was a collaboration among fifty children’s authors and illustrators.
Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box
Written by: Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein
Illustrations by: James E. Ransome