If there is one major lesson that this pandemic has taught us it is that nothing on earth is stronger than love and the power of community- – not even a global virus.
Isolation has given us time to reflect on ourselves, to grow, and has brought to light the systems that no longer serve love and the power of community. We are waking up and voicing the truth – the colour of our skin should not be an indicator of one’s worth or lack thereof; and the importance of developing compassion for the groups that are oppressed as a result of systemic and institutional racism. The black lives matter movement is not a vocation that other lives do not matter. Instead, it is a platform for marginalized people (created by and for them) who feel they are not valued and need to voice their frustrations and inter-generational hurt to make change and to heal.
Although contributing to change may be difficult at this time due to pandemic restrictions and having the rug pulled out from under us as a global community, education is perhaps the most powerful tool that children and adults can use to come out of isolation as more loving, anti-racist, empowered and united beings. It is okay to feel overwhelmed, triggered, uncomfortable and maybe even a little hesitant. We are all navigating this changed world from different walks of life and a more compassionate and just world will hopefully be part of this new reality.
There are many resources out there right now for all ages, but it can be very overwhelming. That is why in this blog post, we are choosing to only share children’s literature – because they can be very eye opening, mind expanding, and a great stepping stone into conversations about racism – with children and ourselves. Take the first step and then see if you can take some more!
In Racism and Intolerance, children can get answers to questions like: “What does it mean to be a racist or intolerant?” and “How can I help?” Children will begin to understand the way others struggle with these issues and become empowered to make a difference. Award-winning illustrator Hanane Kai uses a deft hand to create powerful illustrations that help children visualize the people impacted by poverty, hunger, war, racism, and more. All of the images are sensitively rendered and perfectly suited for younger children. These books are an excellent cross-curricular resources used for exploring important issues and tie them into discussions about food, wealth, compassion, empathy, and current affairs.
From the National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist comes a fresh new board book that empowers parents and children to uproot racism in our society and in ourselves. Take your first steps with Antiracist Baby! Or rather, follow Antiracist Baby’s nine easy steps for building a more equitable world. With bold art and thoughtful yet playful text, Antiracist Baby introduces the youngest readers and the grown-ups in their lives to the concept and power of antiracism. Providing the language necessary to begin critical conversations at the earliest age, Antiracist Baby is the perfect gift for readers of all ages dedicated to forming a just society.
Counting on Community is Innosanto Nagara’s follow-up to his hit ABC book, A is for Activist. Counting up from one stuffed piñata to ten hefty hens–and always counting on each other–children are encouraged to recognize the value of their community, the joys inherent in healthy eco-friendly activities, and the agency they posses to make change. A broad and inspiring vision of diversity is told through stories in words and pictures. And of course, there is a duck to find on every page!
Featuring forty trailblazing black women in American history, Little Leaders educates and inspires as it relates true stories of breaking boundaries and achieving beyond expectations. Illuminating text paired with irresistible illustrations bring to life both iconic and lesser-known female figures of Black history such as abolitionist Sojourner Truth, pilot Bessie Coleman, chemist Alice Ball, politician Shirley Chisholm, mathematician Katherine Johnson, poet Maya Angelou, and filmmaker Julie Dash. Among these biographies, readers will find heroes, role models, and everyday women who did extraordinary things – bold women whose actions and beliefs contributed to making the world better for generations of girls and women to come. Whether they were putting pen to paper, soaring through the air or speaking up for the rights of others, the women profiled in these pages were all taking a stand against a world that didn’t always accept them. The leaders in this book may be little, but they all did something big and amazing, inspiring generations to come.
I Am Enough is a gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another—from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo.
Racial discrimination is crueland especially so to younger children. This title – The Skin I’m In – encourages kids to accept and be comfortable with differences of skin color and other racial characteristics among their friends and in themselves. A First Look At is an easy-to-understand series of books for younger children. Each title explores emotional issues and discusses the questions such difficulties invariably raise among kids of preschool through early school age. Written by a psychotherapist and child counselor, each title promotes positive interaction among children, parents, and teachers. The books are written in simple, direct language that makes sense to younger kids. Each title also features a guide for parents on how to use the book, a glossary, suggested additional reading, and a list of resources. There are attractive full-color illustrations on every page.
In Child of the Civil Rights Movement – a Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year, Paula Young Shelton, daughter of Civil Rights activist Andrew Young, brings a child’s unique perspective to an important chapter in America’s history. Paula grew up in the deep south, in a world where whites had and blacks did not. With an activist father and a community of leaders surrounding her, including Uncle Martin (Martin Luther King), Paula watched and listened to the struggles, eventually joining with her family–and thousands of others–in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery. Poignant, moving, and hopeful, this is an intimate look at the birth of the Civil Rights Movement.
In Something Beautiful, a little girl longs to see beyond the scary sights on the sidewalk and the angry scribbling in the halls of her building. When her teacher writes the word beautiful on the blackboard, the girl decides to look for something beautiful in her neighborhood. Her neighbors tell her about their own beautiful things. Miss Delphine serves her a “beautiful” fried fish sandwich at her diner. At Mr. Lee’s “beautiful” fruit store, he offers her an apple. Old Mr. Sims invites her to touch a smooth stone he always carries. Beautiful means “something that when you have it, your heart is happy,” the girl thinks. Her search for “something beautiful” leaves her feeling much happier. She has experienced the beauty of friendship and the power of hope.