Believe it or not I have been sitting on these anti-racism books for months, waiting to write up my thoughts. It’s not that I didn’t find them important. In fact it was the complete opposite. These are some of the most important books I have read in a long time. The problem is that these books, although aimed at children and teens, gave me a lot to think about and I needed time to process and really understand these voices. They rocked me, inspired me, lifted me, and educated me. I can only hope that more people will discover these books.
Books for Kids that Tackle Racism
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I am very fortunate in my career to work with some incredible publishing companies that are truly working to raise a future generation that is better, stronger, smarter and more inclusive.
A few months ago I was sent some books by Quarto Kids. If you follow my social media you have likely seen me promoting their STEAM titles and products as part of their Quarto STEAM Club for Kids. I noticed they had a number of other titles that fit our other mandate here at STEAM Powered Family, that of childhood mental health and inclusiveness. So I asked if I could review those books too, and I am so happy they agreed. These books are brilliant and in today’s world even more critically important in the messages and lessons they share.
Normally when I am passionate about a subject, I can sit down and write out my thoughts and hit publish in record time. But with this I hesitated. I wanted to shout about these books to the world. But I also felt the need to listen, process and understand.
For me and my family this is just too important to screw it up.
It was important that I truly read these books, cover to cover. That my children read these books and provided their feedback. That I listened to the authors speak on their social media channels to learn even more about their messages. That I really dug in deep and understood these titles and how they impacted my family and society before recommending them.
Why This Is Important
What you may or may not know, is that we are a multi-racial family. I am white and my son is black. Every year, as he grows into a young man, I am also growing, learning and educating myself.
And with every passing year, I am learning there is still so much more to hear, understand, process and learn.
The one thing I have come to understand with absolute certainty over the years is that racism is complex. This is not something you can truly understand by attending a one weekend workshop or reading one book or talking to one person.
But when I became a mother and dedicated myself to raising a black man, I also dedicated myself to learning about these issues and started on a journey of education that I will be on for the rest of my life as we unwrap the racism that pervades all aspects of our society.
Thankfully, I know many of you are also on this same journey. So today I wanted to share my discoveries.
Here are a few books that I highly recommend. They are written in an approachable way for children and teens, but also contain powerful messages for all of us. In fact, I can tell you from experience that these are books you will want to read them over and over again, each time gaining a deeper and stronger understanding of the issues.
This Book is Anti-Racist – 20 lessons on how to wake up, take action and do the work
Being an ally is lifelong work…. Allyship is not about you… It’s something you are working toward for a more just society.Tiffany jewell – This book is anti-racist
This book is so important. It is written in a highly approachable way, while also being incredibly direct and to the point. Tiffany Jewell is powerful in her storytelling, while also holding back nothing as she spells out her lessons.
Learn about the concepts of social identity, race, privilege, ethnicity, and power. Followed by activities that promote introspection and greater understanding. Then learn tools and techniques for interrupting and disrupting the racism that is all around us.
The book is organized into 20 lessons. And guess what? Tiffany is also a teacher. This book is perfect for teachers to use in the classroom and the publisher even offers a special classroom guide and posters free of charge.
If you want to learn tools and approaches that will start to effect real change, this is the book you need to read.
For the month of June 2020, the publishers are donating all profits from this book to Black Lives Matter and Color of Change. Due to it’s popularity right now, it can be hard to find. I know in Canada Chapters Indigo still has them on back order but you can order a copy. However, the ebook is always available and on sale for only $2.99.
The Power Book – What is it? Who has it, and Why?
Learn more, think more. Knowledge is power. … The more knowledge you have, the more power you have to make up your own mind about things – and maybe one day change them.The Power Book
This book surprised me. I thought it was going to be too young, too simple for my upper elementary and middle school aged kids. Boy was I wrong!
This book is written in a relatively simple way with lots of gorgeous colours and images, but it doesn’t shy away from the tough topics.
The power of this book is the way it conveys and educates in a very approachable way, on a very complex topic.
It covers everything from voting, war, the power of words, sexism, homophobia, plus a section exploring personal power and how to use it to promote positive change in our world.
Most importantly for our focus today, it discusses racism in both it’s own section, but also throughout the book readers will gain a better understanding of how racism is about more than hate, bias or discrimination, it is about power.
For older kids it will be a quicker read, but still very powerful.
What I loved is how it introduces important people who found their power, such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Emmeline Pankhurst, Rosa Parks, Malala Yousafzai, and Stephen Hawking. Once introduced, hopefully readers will want to learn more about these powerful people. I know it made my children curious to learn more.
I highly recommend this book. Again, due to popularity it might be hard to find as it is selling out everywhere.
More Bookshelf Additions
These two books are far from an exhaustive list. Here are a few more books we love and come back to over and over again when exploring and deepening our understanding of racism.
Anti-Racism Picture Books
Since I have been asked, here are a few of the picture books we have on our shelves for little ones. You can never start addressing these issues too early!