On Wednesday October 21st, Sachi Feris of the blog Raising Race Conscious Children will lead a workshop to help parents and caregivers learn how to talk about race with young children. Each week until the workshop, I’ll share an article or resource to help you begin thinking about some related topics.
This week, I’m sharing a New York Times article: “These Books Can Help You Explain Racism and Protest to Your Kids.” While the article was written in early June, it’s still relevant. Author Jessica Grose interviewed a variety of writers and professionals in the field of child development. In the article, she explains why it’s important to talk about race with young children, and offers a few examples for bringing the topic up with different age groups.
At the Library, we’re especially interested in approaches to race consciousness that use books as starting points for conversation. This article points out an important concept that we as librarians keep in mind when purchasing and recommending books: “Christine Taylor-Butler, the prolific children’s author and writer of The Lost Tribes Series, said that she got into children’s literature because she wanted to see more stories of black joy. ‘I want stories about kids in a pumpkin patch, and kids in an art museum,’ she said.” School Library Journal offers more examples of children’s books that celebrate black joy here.
A few years ago, I noticed that when review journals featured young adult books starring characters of color, the stories were often tragic, or focused on some heavy societal issue. But over the last couple of years, I’ve been happy to see many more new books being published that depict kids and teens of color happily living their lives. While young adult books continue to speak important truths about social justice, it’s important to realistically show all facets of life for young people of color, and to make sure kids and teens are seeing those positive representations.
How have you talked with your children about the protests in the news this summer? What ideas have worked for you, or have come to mind, for encouraging social justice action for your family? Feel free to consider these questions on your own, or share in the comments section below.
The workshop is supported by the White Plains Library Foundation.