I’m going to be 100% transparent and admit that I forgotten my privelige simply because of the color of my skin. (And I truly hope I am speaking delicately enough about this situation.) Being half-white and half- Asian Pacific Islander, I will admit that no one treated me any different because I looked white enough. However, there are hundreds of thousands of people that are treated differently every day, based solely on the color of their skin. And I want to raise my children to realize that their voice makes a difference. As a parent, it is our duty to teach our children about racism, justice and equality.
We must empower this, and the next generation, to have the confidence to speak out against injustice. Because, unfortunately no matter how much we teach our children about loving one another, we continue to see issues with racism. However, that does not mean that racism and hate need to prevail.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that children can begin to recognize racial differences as early as 6 months old. Children can even begin to internalize racial biases by 4 years of age! The AAP recommends to talk to our children about racial differences and biases and encourage them to challenge these racial steroetypes by being kind and compassionate.
I promised to raise a kind and compassionate child.
As I stated in How I found Jesus Christ, I told God I wanted to raise a kind and compassionate child in His image. And as I was holding my son for his nap, I couldn’t help but scroll through the #justiceforGeorgeFloyd posts and realize that meant purposefully educating my son on these sensitive issues.
Before Baby G was born, I already knew that I wanted him to have an entire library of books. Therefore, it made sense to find books that we could read and talk about so that my son can be competent when it comes to challenging racial biases. The following list is only the start of a conversation-sparking library that I hope can help your family as much as it will ours.
Disclaimer: This post does contain affiliate links through Amazon. However, I truly want to share these titles to help us all teach our young children about race and equality. Therefore, I will commit to donate at least 25% of affiliate earnings from June through August to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Books to Teach Your Child About Equality and Activism
From Amazon: A is for Activist is an ABC board book written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives: families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for.
From Amazon: Woke babies are up early. Woke babies raise their fists in the air. Woke babies cry out for justice. Woke babies grow up to change the world.
This lyrical and empowering book is both a celebration of what it means to be a baby and what it means to be woke. With bright playful art, Woke Baby is an anthem of hope in a world where the only limit to a skyscrapper is more blue.
From Amazon: 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.
From Amazon: A is for Ability, B is for Belief, C is for Class. All people have the right to be treated fairly, no matter who they are, what they look like, or where they come from. An ABC of Equality introduces complicated concepts surrounding social justice to the youngest of children.
From Amazon: Little ones who love to say “No!” can chime in while they learn about iconic activists from Frederick Douglass and Alice Paul to Martin Luther King Jr. and Malala.
Each spread introduces an iconic figure—such as Gloria Steinem or Cesar Chavez—along with a super simple summary of the actions they took to change the course of history. Activists of all ages will learn about the abolitionist movement, civil rights, women’s rights, and more! Detailed, colorful art will thoroughly engage toddlers and preschoolers.
Keep the Conversation on Race and Racism GoingThis list of books is just a starting point to get the conversation on race and equality going. My son is only a few months old, but as a parent I must make an active effort to teach him, ‘Yes, we are different. That’s okay and it is important to come together and celebrate what makes us unique.’ I must teach him that there may be people who treat others different based on their looks and that he must use his voice in order to speak up. As parents, its our job to especially learn to navigate our children through these difficult conversations.
Resources for Talking to Children about Race and Racism
- From the AAP: Talking to CHildren about Racial Bias
- Kids and Race Website Resources
- Pretty Good’s Resource Roundup
- Anti-Racism Resources from justiceforbreonna.org
- Lovevery’s Resources for addressing race and racism with young children