Updated: Aug 4, 2020
Our theme this month is Racial Injustice and Racial Justice. Here are 4 books from children's books to young adults (adults, you can benefit too) that you can add to your library today. Thank you to our partner, Bolen Books, for sponsoring this blog. Please buy your anti-racist books from Bolen Books either in-store (Victoria, BC) or online and they will ship to you!
Pictured: Moms Against Racism Monthly Book list brought to you by Bolen Books.
An inclusive library collection should provide both mirrors where children can see themselves represented in books, as well as windows where children are provided with a view into the lives of others. Mirrors allow children to feel valued, seen, and validated in their own identity, while windows build empathy and understanding for others.
August 2020: Racial Injustice and Racial Justice
There is a phrase commonly used by educators and children’s librarians striving to promote diverse representation which speaks of books as “mirrors and windows”. An inclusive library collection should provide both mirrors where children can see themselves represented in books, as well as windows where children are provided with a view into the lives of others. Mirrors allow children to feel valued, seen, and validated in their own identity, while windows build empathy and understanding for others.
Children’s books are one of the most powerful tools which can be utilized by parents and educators to initiate conversations on important topics such as racism and racial injustice. A good book can provide a gateway to open a conversation, guide dialogue, and prompt questions from children. Particularly for young children, curling up and having a caregiver read aloud also provides ideal conditions for connection and fostering family values.
The following resources are purposefully not categorized by suggested age ranges. This is a deliberate choice as parents are encouraged to preview books in advance to determine suitability based on their children’s developmental stage as well as individual family values and experiences. It is also important to recognize that families are at different stages in their antiracist journey and may be at different points in the conversation. Many of the suggested titles are appropriate for a wide range of ages, particularly picture books which are often overlooked for older children.
It is also recommended that parents read alongside their children in order to further discussions, particularly if these topics are new for your children. Additionally, the Middle Grades and Young Adult titles may contain more graphic depictions of violence and/or other sensitive subject matter which may require further discussion with an adult. Older children and teens may be reluctant to read with a caregiver, but in this case adults can independently read the same title in order to be equipped to answer questions and spark discussions. Above all, let your child lead and guide the discussion, and listen attentively to their thoughts and ideas. Simply asking them questions such as “what do you think?”, “why do you think this happened?”, or “why do you think the character did this?” can be a good starting point. Happy reading!
Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard
Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice by Mahogany L. Browne with Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood
I Am Not a Number by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Each week we will take an in-depth look at each recommended book and provide some more prompts and questions you can use when reading or talking with your kids.
If you have read a great book that you think should be on our next list, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We LOVE finding great new books!
Thank you, Bolen Books, for sponsoring this post!