This year has been one of upheaval. There have been jobs lost, businesses closed, and kids confused about what’s happening. But there’s also been change. It’s been messy and painful, and it’s still ongoing, but the topic of racism is being discussed within the United States, and the world.
Kids understand more than we give them credit for sometimes. They often won’t recognize the names of murdered Black men and women that flash across the screens, but they feel the tension. They might not get why people walk down city streets with signs, but they understand that they haven’t seen something like that before. For Black families, race and racial injustices are a part of their daily conversations because they feel first hand the pain of racism and the fear of losing another friend, another family member, another community leader. But for white families, like mine, the conversation is just as vital.
My husband and daughter are part of the indigenous community, but I’m white and the color of their skin is considered “safe.” I never fear something happening to my daughter, but I don’t want her growing up blind to the world around her. Books are a helpful way to introduce topics to kids and start conversations they can more easily understand.
I have a short list of some books you may wish to add to your bookshelf to help begin or further the dialogue of what’s wrong, who is hurting, and how we can come together to make things right.
Good for preschoolers up, this book was written by a team of psychologists who include helpful conversation starters for parents to help explore the topics of race and racism. It follows a Black and white family as they each discuss a Black man’s death at the hands of the police.
This one explains ways to protest peacefully and raise awareness like donating money or time and making signs for protests. It’s a simple way to explain how small acts can help to make a big difference.
Using characters kids already know can be helpful in beginning a gentle dialogue at a young age. This book shows how we’re all born different, but that doesn’t mean we should be treated differently.
This rhyming book is a different spin on the usual ABCs. Important topics replace the fluffy animals and the message is gentle enough for basically all ages.
This one follows a young, Black boy as his parents explain police brutality to him. It’s educational and lays out how some communities have a rightful mistrust of the police. It’s a good basis for explaining how something like a simple traffic stop isn’t simple to everyone.
A simple title for simple facts. This book isn’t a colorful story using animals instead of people to get a message across, but clearly lays out what racism is and how to confront it.
Brief list, I know, but falling through the book rabbit hope to discover books that are right for your families and your kids is part of the conversation. Have you incorporated books like these into your personal library? Let me know, and please comment is you have any you found particularly helpful.
Stay safe, stay healthy, and best wishes to you and yours.