A Kids Book About Racism is one of the greatest things I have read on the topic. It is targeted for children and written in a way that I believe will make sense to them. This is no picture book, but similar to The Book With No Pictures it uses word play to captivate its audience. It is direct. It is gentle. It explains how certain remarks could hurt a friend’s feelings. This book gets the job done.
With the events that have transpired since the murder of George Floyd, I can’t be the only one wondering how to speak to our kids about this topic in a way that will makes sense for them.
I have been teaching for eight years now, and each of those years there has been time embedded into our curriculum to teach students about important black people in history that have helped to make the world a more peaceful place to live. We have read numerous books on Martin Luther King Jr, and we have reenacted what it might have been like to be Rosa Parks when she said “no”. We have had countless conversations about how our differences only make us stronger as a class family.
I have made it a point to teach my students about racism, but as I reflect I find myself wondering if I have done enough? I realize that I have probably never taught my students about the word racism and what it means. Why is that? I’ve been asking myself that question a lot these days and the only answer I have come up with is simply that I feel racism is an ugly word. Moving forward I feel it is important for kids to know what the word racism is and what it means.
I think as teachers we often struggle to come up with words that are gentle enough to explain things to kids. My first year teaching, there was a boy in the classroom next to mine without legs. When my students first asked me about this child I wasn’t really sure what to say to them. I said “That is just the way that God made him”. To this day, I wonder if using the word God in my kindergarten class was the appropriate choice. Kids are pretty resilient and it didn’t take long for them to view this child as just another member of our kindergarten tribe.
If you’re also struggling with how you teach students, or even your own kids at home about racism, I really recommend giving this book a chance. I do not feel that this is the only tool you should be using, but it is an important one, and a big step in the right direction.
Closing Thoughts: If you’re like me, you may be struggling lately with reading so many opinions on social media that don’t align with yours. I have accepted that I cannot change the opinion of everyone, try as I might. I have decided to focus on things I can control. I CAN control how I educate myself. I CAN control the actions I take to educate my students and my future children. I genuinely believe in our youth, and I know that their future will be much brighter than the nonsense that is 2020 thus far.
“Because of my skin color, people aren’t always nice to me.”
“Some people believe that having different color skin means you aren’t as good as others.”
“Racism is one of the worst kinds of mean someone can have.”
“Because being different means we have so much more to offer each other”
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