Using Picture Books to Talk to My Son About Racism

Submitted by CCCL_DesireeC

My son was just 3 years old when he asked, “Mommy, are your teachers brown like me?” Since thenI’ve made sure to highlight stories of people who looked like him so he could see himself reflected in heroes: real and fictional. What I didn’t rush to share with him were the ugly truths of racism, which now I can’t avoid. Like countless other parents from all ethnic and racial backgrounds, I don’t quite know how best to explain racismand the need for racial justice−to my little one. However, I did find some resources available through the library that have helped me. 

One such resource is TeachingBooks, which offers themed reading lists, book discussion guides and more activities connected to children’s booksI recently used this when built a list of Anti-Racist Books for Kids and came across The Breaking News by Sarah Lynne Reul. While this picture book doesn’t target racism, it’s great to show little ones the feelings grownups and kids experience during devastating community events. Through searching the book’s additional resources on TeachingBooks, I found video of the author reading the book which sparked my son’s interest and began a discussion of emotions being felt across the nation right now and why. From there, we began to explore deeper topics of race

For even more resources to help talk to kids about race and racismvisit this TeachingBooks special edition newsletter highlighting Black voices and experiences in children’s booksAnd because talking to our young kids about race doesn’t just mean sharing stories of racial injusticeshere are some book suggestions for fostering Black Skin Love and Celebrating Black Families