As white women, we know there is always further to go when it comes to educating ourselves on all things anti-racism and how to be a better ally. But what about our kids? How do we help guide them into becoming more equitable, inclusive and unbiased human beings?
We thought that books which open up the dialogue and conversation around anti-racism and inclusivity would be a great place to start. So here’s a round up of the books already on our shelves, and the books we’ve got lined up as birthday and Christmas presents for the little ones in our lives. All highly recommended, award-winning and perfect for kids from birth through to primary school.
Race Cars: A Children’s Book About White Privilege by Jenny Devenny and Charnaie Gordon
Both of our car-obsessed toddlers adore this book. Using the analogy of a black car and a white car that that face different rules while entering the same race, it’s written by a clinical social worker and child therapist with experience in anti-bias training (Devenny) and edited by a diversity expert (Gordon). According to the synopsis, a baby’s brain can notice race-based differences from as young as 6 months old, children ages 2 to 4 can internalise racial bias and start assigning meaning to race, and 5- to 8-year-olds begin to place value judgments on similarities and differences. By age 12, children have a complete set of stereotypes about every racial, ethnic and religious group in society. Race Cars offers an accessible way to address white privilege and guide children through this impressionable period. The children will love the bold graphics, while the notes and activities section is extremely helpful for parents.
How to Greet a Gran by Donna Amey Bhatt
How to Greet a Gran, a celebration of grans around the globe and their customs and traditions, is the follow up to Donna Amey Bhatt’s debut book How to Spot a Mum, an inclusive look at motherhood in all its guises. Each page introduces a different granny, explains how to spell and pronounce her name and Each page introduces a different global grandma, phonetically describes how to pronounce her name tells the reader about the foods, hobbies, and fashions she enjoys. Featuring pretty pastel illustrations, it’s a great one for your child to read with grandma.
Our World My Roots by Anna Makanda and Sharmane Barrett
Written by best friends Anna and Sharmane, Our World My Roots is a new book series designed to ignite a child’s interest in their heritage and empower them to be culturally confident. There are four books in the series, each focused on a different country: Zimbabwe (where Anna was born), Jamaica (where Sharmane’s dad is from), Nigeria and Ghana. The book’s characters explore each country’s geography, landscape, traditions and culture while learning words and phrases in their native languages and meeting some inspiring people along the way. Available for pre-order soon, the Our World My Roots books are due to be published on 21st December 2021.
Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi
Written by Ibram X. Kendi who wrote the best-selling book (for grown-ups) How To Be Antiracist, this colourful kids version of the original whittles down how to build an equal world in nine steps. Each step takes up a double page and is adorned with glorious illustrations by Ashley Lukashevsky. And, as the name suggests, the book is a good one for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers.
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
This picture book was a New York Times bestseller, and for good reason. It celebrates diversity and inclusivity with rainbow-bright imagery whilst following a group of school children through their day. In the book, children who wear patkas, hijabs, baseball caps and yarmulkes play side by side in one school setting and everyone is welcome. It’s educational but also heart-warming and great for kids who are just starting school.
IntersectionAllies: We Make Room for All by Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council and Carolyn Choi
A great first foray into learning more about feminism, this kids book was created by three American sociologists who also all happen to be women of colour. The story follows nine characters who proudly describe their backgrounds and who they are – including languages, disabilities and skin colours. The overriding theme is of allyship, togetherness and of joining forces to create a more equal world.
Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Méndez
Another award-winning picture book with rave reviews, this one follows the journey of a young girl who’s asked the question about where she’s really from. She turns to her abuelo to help her find the answers, and the story honours the themes of identity and self-acceptance.
This Is How We Do It by Matt Lamothe
This book helps kids understand how a day in their shoes could look different to other kids around the world by following seven individuals across the globe, shedding light on their cultures and traditions. The story heads to Italy, Japan, Iran, India, Peru, Uganda, and Russia and helps to better educate about our difference and similarities in a fun and visual way.
Little Leaders: Bold Women In Black History by Vashti Harrison
This book compiles 40 individual stories of black women who pushed boundaries, exceeded expectations and did brilliant things. There are plenty of known faces such as Shirley Bassey and Diane Abbott, but also lesser-known black women who are heroic and iconic in their own rights. Great to dip in and out of at bedtime, and there’s also an Exceptional Men in Black History version too.