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Moms Against Racism Canada Recommends: November 2020 Book List

Our theme this month is Holidays. Here are 21 books from children's picture books to non-fiction that you can add to your library today. Thank you to our partner, Bolen Books, for sponsoring this blog. Please buy your diversity, anti-racism, and racism unlearning 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.

Can a calendar year be racist? Yes, yes it can.

November and December 2020: Holidays and Celebrations

Have you ever stopped to think about the recognized holidays that are celebrated in Canada? Can a calendar year be racist?

Yes, yes it can.

Here is a list of National* Canadian holidays in 2020 per

  • New Year’s Day,

  • Family Day,

  • Good Friday,

  • Easter Monday,

  • Victoria Day,

  • Canada Day,

  • Civic Holiday (August Long Weekend),

  • Labour Day,

  • Thanksgiving,

  • Remembrance Day,

  • Christmas Day, and

  • Boxing Day.

*observed by the majority of provinces and territories.

Do you know the origins of these holidays? Most are born from Christian/Catholic/Protestant beliefs and are deeply rooted in colonization. What does it say about how Canada sees itself that these are the only holidays that are nationally recognized as worthy of a day off in observance? What does it say to all the Canadians and the Indigenous community who don’t recognize these holidays but celebrate other important days?

There are so many beautiful holidays, significant days, festivals and celebrations that occur throughout the year. Many of the people who live in Canada observe special days that are not recognized as the “standard” holidays. Here is a list of 22 books you can buy (or borrow from the library) to increase your family’s understanding and acceptance of celebrations that may be different than your own family’s traditions. We encourage you to also learn more about the holidays you currently celebrate. You may find an increased sense of pride or perhaps a need to re-evaluate.

Do you know of any other books about the world’s celebrated holidays that we should include in a future list? Comment below or send us an email! We would love to share it with our readers.

Happy Holidays!

Li'l Rabbit's Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington

Let's Celebrate Diwali by Anjali Joshi

Metis Christmas Mittens by Leah Marie Dorion

Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto

The Nutcracker in Harlem by T.E. McMorrow

Festival of Colors by Surishta Sehgal and Kabir Sehgal

Together For Kwanzaa by Juwanda G. Ford and Shelly Hehenberger

Binny's Diwali by Thrity Umrigar and Nidhi Chanani

Dear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein by Amanda Peet and Andrea Troyer

We have also included the following non-fiction books that are part of the Orca Origins Series. Founded in 1984, Orca Book Publishers is an independently owned Canadian children’s book publisher of award-winning, bestselling books in a number of genres.

"We strive to produce books that illuminate the experiences of people of all ethnicities, people with disabilities and people who identify as LGBTQ+. Our goal is to provide reading material that represents the diversity of human experience to readers of all ages. Orca aims to help young readers see themselves reflected in the books they read."

Powwow: A Celebration through Song and Dance by Karen Pheasant-Neganigwane

Christmas: From Solstice to Santa by Nikki Tate & Dani Tate-Stratton

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.

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 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!

Read any of these books with your kids? Send us their reviews and we will publish them on our Facebook page and Intagram accounts. Show us your little Anti-Racist Readers!

If you have read a great book that you think should be on our next list, please email us at We LOVE finding great new books!

Thank you, Bolen Books, for sponsoring this post!

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