Talking about Racism
Having conversations about race can be difficult. However, the current climate and culture of our nation and world is demanding change. Racism should be discussed in an ongoing and continuous manner. Thinking about where to start? Not sure what to say? The following book lists and resources provide foundational knowledge and information that can even spark conversations with the youngest minds.
Facing History and OurselvesFacing History and Ourselves - Empowering teachers & students to think critically about history & to understand the impact of their choices. (Grades 6-12)
New York Public LibrarySchomburg's Black Liberation List for Young Readers
Explore essential titles selected by the Schomburg Center as it marks 95 years of collecting and preserving Black history, arts, and culture. Available on SimplyE and from the Schomburg Shop.
These resources can be used to discuss systemic racism and racial inequity.Visit UNC-Chapel Hill’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute to learn more about the research behind the infographics and find additional resources. Related infographics:
What Racism Looks Like (PDF)
Racial Inequities School Discipline (PDF)
Racial (In)Equity (PDF)
View YouTube video on Systemic Racism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrHIQIO_bdQ
Video content is adopted from “What Racism Looks Like” Infographic developed by Jenille Morgan, Allison DeMarco and & UNC’s Race, Culture, and Ethnicity Committee (May 2018)
These Books Can Help You Explain Racism and Protest to Your Kids.NYTimes.com Article by Jessica Grose - June 2, 2020 - The conversation about race needs to start early and keep happening.
Ezra Jack Keats’s books about Peter (“The Snowy Day,” “A Letter to Amy,” “Hi, Cat!,” “Whistle for Willie”) “I love all of Ezra Jack Keats’s books about Peter, because they show a black boy in the city and the stories are just about his curiosity, his bravery and his being a kid. They are beautiful meditations on the interiority of black childhood without trauma while still feeling very black.” — Kaitlyn Greenidge, NYT Parenting contributor and author of the novel “We Love You, Charlie Freeman”
“Saturday,” written and illustrated by Oge Mora “This book is pure joy. A mom and her daughter, Ava, always look forward to Saturdays because it’s the one day of the week they get to spend together without school or work. On this particular Saturday, though, they experience a series of disappointments. Nothing seems to be going as planned. Still, thanks to Ava they figure out a way to enjoy their time together. A quiet yet profound picture book.”
— Matt de la Peña, a Newbery Medal-winning author of seven Young Adult novels and five picture books, including “Last Stop on Market Street”
“Hair Love,” by Matthew A. Cherry. Illustrated by Vashti Harrison.
“Written by a former N.F.L. wide receiver and now an Oscar-winning short film, ‘Hair Love’ tells the story of a black father learning to do his daughter’s hair for the first time and the special bond they share.”— Meena Harris, author of “Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea”
“Each Kindness,” by Jacqueline Woodson. Illustrated by E.B. Lewis. “A new girl, Maya, shows up at school, and the whole class, including Chloe, our main character, shuns her because she’s shabbily dressed and seems different. This goes on for a while, and then Maya is suddenly gone, and Chloe realizes she’s missed her chance to be kind. This is a powerful picture book that bravely ends with regret.” — Matt de la Peña
"The Youngest Marcher,” by Cynthia Levinson. Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton.“It’s one of the more shocking and little-known stories of the civil rights movement: In 1963, the City of Birmingham jailed hundreds of kids for joining the Children’s March. Among them was 9-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks, taken from her family to spend a week behind bars, eating ‘oily grits’ and sleeping on a bare mattress. Levinson and Newton keep her story bright and snappy, emphasizing the girl’s eagerness to make a difference and her proud place in her community.”
— Maria Russo, former children’s book editor at The New York Times
"Resist: 35 Profiles of Ordinary People Who Rose Up Against Tyranny and Injustice,,” by Veronica Chambers. Illustrated by Paul Ryding.
“Chambers, who is the senior editor of special projects here at The Times, has pulled together 35 inspiring stories from the past 500 years of history, each with a lesson for our kids about how to fight injustice in their own lives.” — Jessica Grose
“Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness,” written and illustrated by Anastasia Higginbotham “An honest explanation about how power and privilege factor into the lives of white children, at the expense of other groups, and how they can help seek justice.”
— Meena Harris
Ages 12+“All American Boys,” by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
“This is a brilliant look at the effects of police brutality from the perspective of two teen boys: one white and one black. We get inside both of their minds and watch them grapple with the weight of something that is way too familiar in our country. “
— Matt de la Peña
“Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi“Reynolds and Kendi have created a book that slyly draws attention to the page itself. ‘Uh-oh. The R-word,’ they write. The word that ‘for many of us still feels Rated R. Or can be matched only with the other R word — run. But don’t. Let’s all just take a deep breath. Inhale. Hold it. Exhale and breathe out’ — and here, the text breaks apart to give us the dangerous word — ‘race.’”
— Kaitlyn Greenidge: Read her full review here.
The Harvard Gazette's reading list on issues of race"The wave of anger in reaction to George Floyd’s killing has prompted an outpouring of interest on race and race relations across the U.S. Books on these subjects top The New York Times Best Sellers list and Barnes & Noble’s Bestsellers. Amazon’s best-selling book, “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism,” by Robin DiAngelo, has sold out.
The Gazette asked Harvard faculty members to discuss the books they recommend for those who want to learn more about the issues and to expand their understanding of systemic racism, white privilege, and the long legacies of slavery and white supremacy in American history..."
by Liz Mineo - Harvard Staff Writer
June 15, 2020
View reading list