Books to help you talk to your kids about racism and white privilege

Catchy heading isn’t it. But I have been driven to pull some info together for those of us who want to be able to talk to our kids about whats’ been going on around the world in the last week, starting with the senseless murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. But of course, unfortunately it hasn’t started with his murder – it is just one in many such cases around the world and there is a strong sense in the community I am in that time is running out to be quiet and now we need to be talking and learning.

I am not a political person, and I definitely do not delight in conversations that raise heart rates and tempers. However, I know that as a white woman, bringing up two kids in a multicultural society, I have an obligation to ensure my kids are able to acknowledge their white privilege, and feel confident enough in their beliefs to do more than support anti racist movements.

I am no expert. I do not profess to have any answers, and I don’t even really want to be drawn in to conversations about race and racism, I hate the fact that it exists – and I know that is my white privilege! However, I wondered if anyone out there might also be having these thoughts and if you read this blog then the chances are that in times like this you also turn to books to help educate and broaden your horizons.

This is a very short list, and I know I have missed out some valuable additions – I would be delighted if you wanted to tell me of any. Also, a lot of the texts out there are American, and I have tried to keep these books not so overtly American in the hope that our kids can see that it is not just an American problem.

For babies & toddlers:

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara

An ABC board book, which can help start conversations from the earliest age possible, written for the next generation of progressives, with alliteration, illustrations and rhyming

Kids from 4+

Lets talk about race by Karen Barbour

A book for all ages, but maybe a good one to read to younger kids, it can open up conversations and lead to interesting questions, which you might otherwise struggle to address

Older kids (10+)

Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah

When Alem’s Dad has to leave him in London, Alem has to learn the hard way how to cope. A coming of age story by the acclaimed performance poet and novelist 

The hate you give by Angie Thomas

Maybe not an easy read for your young teen, but I reckon that’s the point. It is set in America, but it closely follows the Black Lives Matter moment, so it is maybe the most timely fiction read they’ll get their hands on for a while.

This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do The Work by Tiffany Jewel

This book takes you on a journey of discovery, educating and raising questions, giving answers and promoting discussion. It’s got great illustrations and has stories of POC who have overcome racism throughout the ages offering hope and strength.

4 thoughts on “Books to help you talk to your kids about racism and white privilege

  1. Great post Han. I share your feelings with regards to racism as a topic but you’re right, feels like we should be doing more x


  2. Olivia (13) recently read my old copy of The Colour Purple which started some great conversations about race and privilege.


  3. Thanks Hannah. Really good to have a selection to point them towards. And distressing that this is 2020. X


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