Our children pay closer attention to what is happening in the world than we realize they do! As it is important for me to guide my kids’ understanding of race and racism, I choose to include them in the conversations that I have with my partner about the Black Lives Matter movement and reflection on our own personal racial biases. I’ve listed below the resources that we are using, to help guide these conversations. And for the record I am no expert here, just a parent who cares enough to learn how to raise anti-racist kids!
We are using these books for discussion points with my kids ages 4-8.
- The Day You Begin – This book is fantastic and works beyond black/white racism discussions. I think it would work for even older kids, too.
- You Are Mighty: A Guide to Changing the World – This book is inspiring, especially for young girls, and helps kids realize they can be involved in activism, too!
- A Kids Book About Racism – I would say this one is a great starting point, with some solid discussion points. Not as layered as some of the others but great starter material. This was the first book we purchased.
For my toddler, we use The Conscious Kid, an advocacy group that focuses on disrupting racism in young children. They offer book of the month clubs based on age level. And he also loves listening to the ‘big kid’ stories. 🙂
FINALLY, I picked up a guided journal for myself (pictured below) that helps me examine my own implicit racial bias. The other day my 5 year old saw me writing in the journal and asked what I was writing about. This simple question prompted a 10 minute conversation about what race is. I really believe that it was the journal that prompted the natural conversation, and will be much more effective than my trying to initiate the conversation myself. If you have young kids but journaling isn’t your thing, then think about reading a book about racism or watching television. I know mine will be up in my face wondering what I am doing, no matter what! Kids are naturally interested in what we DO, and learn from our actions more so than our words.
For Older Kids and Adults
For older kids I highly recommend picking up a guided anti-racism journal like the first one below (pictured above) that you can fill out on your own and use as talking points; OR allow your child to fill out with you. Especially with older kids sometimes it’s easier to ‘talk’ through words on the page, just as it’s easier to ‘talk’ to them in the car when we aren’t looking directly at each other.
- Anti Racism Guided Journal: Reflections on Racial Bias – A journal with questions that guide you through investigating your own racial biases. Good for your own introspection or working through with older kids.
- Piecing Me Together, by Renee Watson – I REALLY love how layered this book is, and I would be comfortable reading this to my 7 and 8 yr old, too, because there are some great conversations that would come from this story.
- All American Boys, by Jason Reynolds – I enjoyed this one, but my kids are not old enough yet to handle some of the language. I would suggest ages 13+ for this one.
We also have begun consciously seeking diverse television shows that we can watch as a family, to use as talking points for conversations about race.
- Our kids especially enjoy Family Reunion on Netflix. We pause and talk through some of the stereotypes and references that would typically go over my kids’ heads.
- Common Sense Media has some wonderful tips for using media as learning tools for helping kids understand racism.
- Be the Change! has curated a collection of videos to help teenagers educate themselves about race and identity.
- There are dozens of podcasts out there who tackle this issue. Start with the goop episode “Dismantling White Fragility” that features the author of the popular adult book White Fragility (Robin DiAngelo).
So far these are the resources that we have personally found most helpful. I would love to hear your own experiences, what works, what doesn’t. Shoot me an email and let me know what works for you!
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