If you’re a parent or caregiver of young children and you’re looking forward to Ibram X. Kendi’s upcoming event, get ready to mark your calendars for this workshop in October. Sachi Feris, of Raising Race Conscious Children, will help parents and caregivers become more comfortable discussing race with young children. The virtual workshop will take place on Wednesday, October 21st, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Register for the workshop here.
A couple of years ago, I came across some racially stereotypical illustrations while reading Dr. Seuss’ And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street to my toddler. I couldn’t let the illustrations stand unremarked upon, but also couldn’t immediately find the right words to challenge the images on the page in a way that seemed accessible for my two-year-old. In researching how to handle this situation better next time, I learned that a lot of parents are uncomfortable in moments like these and could use some help figuring out how to respond.
As librarians, we often talk about how we can provide positive representations of all people in children’s books, so that all children see themselves well-reflected in their reading. With this workshop, we can offer parents support in confronting negative representations like the one I encountered. We’re especially excited about Sachi’s approach to the subject, which uses picture books as a tool for constructive, race-conscious conversations with children.
Here’s what Sachi has to say about the workshop, and why it’s necessary for parents to learn and practice these skills. “We often avoid talking about race with our young children but, whether we like it or not, children notice similarities and differences between people. When we are silent, they are left to draw their own conclusions about what ‘different’ means. Fortunately – when we are intentional – we can impact the ways that our children see, categorize, and make meaning about race. In this workshop, you will develop confidence to talk about race with young children, practice various strategies to proactively talk about race with young children, and strengthen children’s ability to become a change-maker.”
This workshop is intended for parents of children from birth through 5th grade; learn more about Sachi's work at www.raceconscious.org. Leading up to the workshop, we’ll share recommended reading to get you thinking about some related topics, so look out for those posts near the end of September.
The workshop is supported by the White Plains Library Foundation.