Reading to your child has countless benefits for both their mental and emotional development. Sitting down and exploring a story together is a great opportunity to teach them important lessons and impart necessary values. Some parents may think that the topic of race is something that they don’t need to discuss with their child at a young age, given the complexity of the subject. Additionally, it can be difficult for parents to know where to begin, or how to start this conversation with their child. If you’d like to further educate yourself on this topic, and specifically how it impacts our little ones, read more on the effects of racism on children.
Although it can be an intricate topic to explore, it’s never too early to make your child aware of the importance of diversity and racial equality. Introducing them to the concept of anti-racism from a young age is just one simple step that you can take to help form these imperative principles in the mind of your little one. Read more below to discover six books that we believe are a great place to start in teaching your child to love and celebrate everyone.
Written by Ibtihaj Muhammed, an activist, and Olympic fencer, this story follows Faizah and Asiya, two sisters who are beginning a new school year. As Asiya wears her hijab for the first time, her classmates are less than accepting; their words hurt both sisters’ feelings. Despite the hatred that they face, Faizah and Asiya lean on each other for support and learn to be proud of themselves, no matter what others say.
This story teaches young children that despite the difficulties they may face, they are always enough. It also reinforces the belief that children can be as powerful and strong as they want to be, as long as they believe in themselves. A must-read for all kids, it’s “an inspiring lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another.”
Perfect for children ages 0-3 years, Antiracist Baby uses bright, colorful pictures and short, engaging phrases to teach the youngest of little ones what it means to accept and celebrate everyone. It covers topics such as being color-blind to race, as well as being honest when you have said something racist, and makes them something that children can begin to understand and think about — “Antiracist baby learns all the colors, not because race is true. If you claim to be color-blind, you deny what’s right in front of you.”
Covering the topic of race a bit more in-depth, this book encourages children to think about their own story, as well as the stories of others. It highlights all of the different components that make up each of our stories, from food, to hobbies, nationality, and of course, race. This book emphasizes respecting how everybody is different and finding the similarities in our differences as well.
This story champions each of the character’s very diverse backgrounds. From differences in race, gender identity, physical disability, language, and more, each woman in the book proudly shares how her differences and struggles make her beautiful and empowered. Through this story, children can learn that by embracing diversity and supporting everybody, communities become stronger, happier, and healthier together.
While it’s obviously unacceptable behavior, helping little ones understand that others may judge them and their differences is an important step to help them build their self-worth. Although it can be scary to stand out from the crowd, this story emphasizes the importance of feeling proud of what makes you special.
By reading these stories with your child, they can begin to understand just how important it is to have racial awareness and to always celebrate diversity. By beginning to have these conversations at an early age, we can work together towards a brighter and more inclusive future!