As a mom of two young children, I realize it is my job to teach them how society works (or doesn’t work). It is no secret that racism is a prevalent problem in American society. It is our responsibility as parents to set an example of how important it is to stand up for what is right.
Depending on the age of your child(ren), it is not always easy to sit them down and have a conversation about racism or any heavy topic. Books give children the tools to develop an understanding of how to act when they see racism (or any discrimination) first hand. Books tell a story that comes to life in a child’s imagination. Below, I have included a few books that explains racism and diversity in a child-appropriate way.
A book called Diversity Ninja by Mary Nihn has a lot of color and diversity within the story. The character’s name is associated with different feelings, such as, Inclusive Ninja, Brave Ninja and Calm Ninja. By doing this, the author attaches the feeling to an image and an action. Now, the child has a chance to see how one responds when confronted with conflict.
Another children’s book highly recommended is, Our Class is a Family by Shannon Olsen. This book is great for both teachers and parents, because it combines two important units: (1) classmates and (2) family members. The author illustrates how we are more alike, than we are different. It is a beautiful book that encourages togetherness and belonging.
Last (but certainly not least) is a book called Lovely by Jess Hong. This book is fun and colorful. Hong does a wonderful job including all types of gender identities, races and ages. In the story, Hong does not preach about diversity. Instead, she paints a beautiful picture with color and words that teach children how everyone is different and everyone is lovely in their own special way.
Unity is an overarching theme of these books (and our time). We, as parents and adults, are responsible for shaping our younger generations’ outlook on society. Books are a wonderful resource to plant that seed. By setting examples with our own behavior and words, we teach children how to treat others. That is a super important job.
All of these books mentioned are available for purchase through Amazon or Target.