Broaching the Topic with Books
As a parent, aim to bring up the topic of race as soon as possible, and set a goal to return to the discussion whenever topics naturally arise. Books and media can be great resources for your family as you explore topics related to race and equity together. Award-winning author/illustrator Eric Velasquez says: “Once children see themselves represented in books, their existence is validated, and they feel that they are part of the world.” This is called representation. This infographic takes a closer look at the importance of representation for children of color.
Representation of Children in Books
Recognizing the importance of representation in media, Common Sense Media compiled a list of books with characters of color to offer role models for children. These books can also encourage readers to explore and appreciate cultures other than their own. Follow this link to browse Common Sense Media’s list of books with diverse characters; the list contains books for children of all ages.
Does your student prefer games over reading? Common Sense Media’s website also has a great article spotlighting apps and games with diverse characters. Check it out here!
Social Justice Begins with Me: A GRPL Book Club for Kids
Grand Rapids Public Library offers a safe space for local children ages 4-11 to use literature to explore social justice topics that can sometimes be difficult to discuss. According to their website, “GRPL, the School of Social Work at Grand Valley State University, Safe Haven Ministries Gender Equity Reading Initiative, and community volunteers will read children’s books on that month’s social justice topic (e.g. celebrating diversity, gender, equity, disability). After the book readings, we virtually discuss the month’s social justice topic in small groups. Participants will leave with instructions to a creative activity that can be done at home.” Follow this link to learn more, and to register your child(ren)!
- October 16, 2021: Healthy, Happy Brain
- November 13, 2021: Economic Justice
- December 11, 2021: Racial Justice
Beyond the Golden Rule
Tolerance.org offers an amazing resource for parents called Beyond the Golden Rule: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing and Responding to Prejudice. “Teaching tolerance must begin with the Golden Rule, but it certainly does not end there,” the book’s author, Dana Williams, says. “Too often, simply advising a child to ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ is insufficient. There are times when we as parents must explain things that are painful and unfair — racism, sexism, stereotypes, hate. Times when we must comfort our children, times I have had to help my 10-year-old son learn that what some would do unto him isn’t always kind or fair.” Beyond the Golden Rule contains reading guides for students of all age groups, preschool through teens; the FACE office encourages all GRPS families to explore this resource together!
This list contains reading and media resources that parents and caregivers can use to discuss race, racism, and other related topics with children:
- Resources from Issaquah School District
- Resources from Somerville Public Schools
- Resources from the Center for Racial Justice in Education
- Resources from Read Brightly