Talking with Your Tykes about Embracing Racial Diversity
Not only can we teach our children about kindness, justice, and acceptance through what we say but we also show them by what we do.
Parenting is an important part of social change and all children can benefit from talking openly and honestly about racial diversity no matter their age. It is so vital to educate our children to be the force against racism and the allies of the next generation.
There are many valuable resources available and we’ve put together a list, although not exhaustive in any way, of things you can start to do, read, and speak about with your children because one person can make a difference.
BOOKS FOR DIVERSITY
Epic! is a digital library that offers more 40,000 titles that includes many of the best kids books, popular ebooks, and videos.
The books below are a few of the many books that celebrate our differences and help us to see the humanity in others.
- A Story About Afiyam by James Berry, Illustrated by Anna Cunha
- The Other Side by Krista Russell
- Trombone Shorty by Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, Illustrated by Bryan Collier
- Because I Am a Girl I Can Change the World by Rosemary McCarney and Jen Albaugh
- Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, Illustrated by Christian Robinson
- Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, Illustrated by Nikki M. James
- The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson, Illustrated by Cherise Boothe
- Books about Rosa Parks - On December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks was arrested for not giving her seat on a bus to a white passenger. These books explore how her simple act turned her into an activist.
Storyline Online streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. Readers include Oprah Winfrey, Chris Pine, Kristen Bell, Rita Moreno, Viola Davis, Jaime Camil, Kevin Costner, Lily Tomlin, Sarah Silverman, Betty White, Wanda Sykes and dozens more.
These stories below are only a few that help to weave meaningful messages about the beauty of uniqueness and inclusion and why it should be celebrated.
The Colors of Us By Karen Katz
A beautiful story that celebrates the beauty in diversity and differences in our skin tones!
All Are Welcome Here by Alexandra Penfold, Illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. This story lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, and they are welcome in their school.
Sesame Street Sing-A-Long - I love my hair!
Sing along and make the world aware that YOU love your hair!
Same Same but Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
Elliot lives in America, and Kailash lives in India. They are pen pals. By exchanging letters and pictures, they learn that they both love to climb trees, have pets, and go to school. Their worlds might look different, but they are actually similar. Same, same. But different!
Not only can we teach our children about kindness, justice, and acceptance through what we say but we also show them by what we do. These sites have great lists of inspiring materials to help parents get started and continue to talk with their children about race.
- Pretty Good not only provides articles and books about how to speak with your children about race but it also provides these things for parents and caregivers to educate themselves as well through articles, books, and podcasts.
- The American Psychological Association has some helpful tips from psychologists about how to speaking with your kids about discrimination and what they can actively do about it.
- The Centre for Racial Justice in Education also has compiled interviews, articles, and more to help parents talk about race, racism, and violence with kids. It is not meant to be exhaustive but it will be updated as more resources become available.
- NPR (National Public Radio) and PBS (Public Broadcasting Network) have complied a list of tools for parents and educators to help dismantle racism at home, at school, and in their community.
- British Vogue also put together a great list of books to help teach kids about race.
Again, this list is in no way complete but we hope that it will help you to continue to educate not only your children but yourself. We may fall short because we have different experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds, but that doesn’t mean that we should remain silent when we see discrimination and injustice. When we talk openly with children we can teach them to be compassionate, empathetic, and aware. A little conversation can go a long way.
Keep listening, and doing better.