A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog, How do we talk to children about the news?, on talking to children with special needs about the racial unrest, riots and police violence.
I received many comments and questions from parents who were wondering, as I, how to deal with these topics.
First and most importantly, I do want to emphasize that you know your child best and his/her ability to deal with these serious issues.
I would start with your child’s developmental level. If it is within the age range of 3-5, you can begin discussing racial differences in a very positive way and how we truly are fortunate that the world is made up of so many different kinds of people.
With elementary-aged children, you can have a conversation about violence against African American people without being too explicit. As I told Ryan, there were some policemen who made bad choices because of the color of someone’s skin. Most police are community helpers, but these persons were not. This can lead into a discussion of how unfairly people with black and brown skin have been treated throughout our history. People who protest are good people who want everyone to be fair, though unfortunately, some protesters are vandals and are interested in stealing what does not belong to them.
To provide further help to families, I have been investigating books to have in your home library to help you tell the story about race and racism.
I have grouped them by age:
- Ezra Jack Keat’s books about Peter
- “The Snowy Day”
- “A Letter to Amy”
- “Hi, Cat!”
- “Whistle for Willie”
- “Saturday,” written and illustrated by Oge Mora
- “hair Love,” by Matthew A. Cherry and illustrated by Vashti Harrison
- “We’re Different, We’re the Same,” by Bobbi Kates
- “Each Kindness,” by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis
- “The Youngest Marcher,” by Cynthia Levinson and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton
- “Resist: 35 Profiles of Ordinary People Who Rose Up Against Tyranny and Injustice,” by Veronica Chambers and illustrated by Paul Ryding
- “Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness,” written and illustrated by Anastasia Higginbotham
- “All American Boys,” by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
- “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You,” by Jason Reynolds and Imbram X. Kendi
However, I truly believe that books cannot be the end of your child’s education about race and racism. We as parents must be the models for the attitudes, behaviors, and values that we wish to see in our children.
Do you have any resources to recommend?