Our theme this month is Mis-Education. Here are 10 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-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.
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.
September and October 2020: Mis-Education
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.
This September and October, MAR Canada will be showcasing books themed around the topic of education. The chosen titles feature varied depictions of school experiences, both positive and negative. In addition to “back to school” season arriving in September, the 30th also marks Orange Shirt Day, acknowledging residential school survivors. Many BIPOC children and families have complicated relationships with schools as a system of oppression, and the residential school system is example of this.
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 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!
The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade by Justin Roberts
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
On the Playground: Our First Talk about Prejudice by Dr. Jillian Roberts
The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
The Orange Shirt Story and Phyllis’s Orange Shirt by Phyllis Webstad
New Kid by Jerry Craft
Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation by Monique Gray Smith