25 Diverse Books on Reproductive Justice.

This month, MAR explores the theme of Reproductive Justice. As mothers, caregivers, or birthing people, it’s our responsibility to examine the narratives around our reproductive rights and body autonomy and to lean into our intuitive knowledge of our bodies. We must teach our children these topics in a way that empowers them to love, protect, and honour their bodies. Learning our collective reproductive rights is important as is assessing our differing personal experiences in pregnancy, birth, IVF, postpartum care, and the many other ways the most intimate healthcare is withheld or granted depending on privilege.


This month’s book list has been compiled as a group effort by our MAR volunteers and addresses themes of Reproductive Justice, body autonomy, consent, abortion, IVF, birth and birthing, family composition, and feminism (not just white feminism). Here are 25+ titles ranging from children's board books to Adult non-fiction relating to Reproductive Justice that you can add to your library today.



15 of the 25 book covers from the list on a red background


"...as a birth worker focused on anti-racism and de-colonized modes of practice, it is necessary for her and everyone in her industry to be radical advocates. Her job is to guide her clients to a sovereign experience in a system that is designed to subordinate."

MAR Recommends: 25 Books on Reproductive Justice.


This intro is written as a takeover for the wonderful MAR blogger and teacher-librarian, Catilin Baker, as she takes a short leave to welcome her third child. I, Becky Leyva, MAR Blogger, write this post as a white woman who experienced a safe and carefree path to the birth of my children. As with most experiences as a cis white woman; my voice was heard, my body autonomy respected, and I had choice and power in the decisions that I made in my pregnancy and birth. In learning about the vastly different and often dangerous experiences of many marginalized birthing people, I began to consider what reproductive justice means through the lens of anti-racism and how vulnerable populations are affected by systemically racist and patriarchal systems, and white supremacist ideology when it comes to reproductive rights.


To learn a little more about modern birth work as it relates to reproductive justice, I spoke to my friend and full-spectrum doula, Carissa Reed. Carissa helped me to understand some issues that are affecting birthing people, especially Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour. Carissa shared that as a birth worker focused on anti-racism and de-colonized modes of practice, it is necessary for her and everyone in her industry to be radical advocates. Her job is to guide her clients to a sovereign experience in a system that is designed to subordinate.


She shared some history on Black midwives in the 1800s who expertly birthed not only babies in their enslaved communities but also those of their white slave owners. When the medical institution became a profitable one, there was a smear campaign enacted against them, decimating their livelihoods. We also discussed the coercion, abuse, and sterilization that takes place today in Canada against Indigenous mothers and the colonial mindset around making Indigenous birthing practices illegal and enforcing medical systems that are biased and dangerous.


As with most of the topics I research in order to blog on, this one has me steeped in realizations of the depth of my privilege and the ways in which colonization, industry, and capitalism affect us. One actionable conclusion I always return to is teaching ourselves in order to teach our kids. Learning about the myriad of ways in which reproductive rights are withheld will help us to fight for equity on a more focused scale. I encourage you to challenge the systems that are designed to give inequitable care and look at the ways in which reproductive issues are still following a colonized and white supremacist structure. Please use some of these books on this month’s list to teach your children about their own body autonomy and rights and learn about the ways in which other cultures approach pregnancy, birth and all that reproduction encompass.


-Becky


*This month's list includes several titles by white authors. These books are denoted with an asterisk (*) in the title.


**We always recommend pre-reading books prior to reading them with, or giving them to, your children. This month, due to the sensitive and sometimes traumatic content of the books - especially at the middle grade and young adult level - we strongly suggest you review them first to ensure they are appropriate for your child and that you are prepared for the discussions that could follow.



Board Books, Babies, Preschool


Global Babies by Global Fund for Children


"Appealing photos of babies from seventeen cultures around the globe are woven together by simple narration. Global Babies presents children in cultural context. Diverse settings highlight specific differences in clothing, daily life, and traditions, as well as demonstrate that babies around the world are nurtured by the love, caring, and joy that surround them." -Goodreads Review


Kiss by Kiss / Ocêtôwina A Counting Book for Families by Richard Van Camp


"One kiss, two kiss, three kiss, four! So many kisses and so many more. From bestselling author Richard Van Camp comes a delightful counting book that honors families and can be used to praise your little ones as they learn to count. Ten kisses from your sweet baby might not be enough to get you through this adorable book, so you'll just have to read it over and over!" - Strong Nation Review


Hug? by Charlene Chua