11 Kids’ Books That Will Help Them Understand the Struggle for Racial Equality
“That’s why I was happy to come across this list of books to help kids understand the fight for racial equality from ReadBrightly. Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich offers 11 suggestions, divided by age, beginning with The Other Side, by Jacqueline Woodson, about segregation, and We March, by Shane W. Evans, about the 1963 March on Washington. I’m going to start with Separate Is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh, because my son and I have already been talking about school segregation, and Lillian’s Right to Vote by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Shane W. Evans, because we’ve also talked about voting and the Voting Rights Act. There are also books for older tweens and teens and a graphic novel by Congressman John Lewis.”
How to Talk to Your Kids About Charlottesville
THE YOUNGEST MARCHER
By Cynthia Levinson
Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton
(Picture book; ages 5-9)
This picture book about Audrey Faye Hendricks, a 9-year-old girl who marched in Dr. Martin Luther King’s Children’s March and was jailed for a week, shows how one child overcame fear and joined in the fight for justice. In my original review, I wrote, “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.”
The Fight Against Anti-Semitism and Nazis
THE WHISPERING TOWN
By Jennifer Elvgren.
Illustrated by Fabio Santomauro.
(Picture book; ages 5-8)
This picture book with a graphic novel sensibility tells the story of a young girl, Anett, whose family is harboring Jewish refugees in a Danish fishing village. Anett brings food to the mother and child hidden in her cellar, and helps guide them to boats on one moonless night. The title is derived from her suggestion that the whole town whisper directions to the pair to ensure they don’t get lost. Though the book was originally suggested for the 7 to 11 age range, our reviewer, Elizabeth Wein, said it felt appropriate as an introduction to the Holocaust for younger children.
NUMBER THE STARS
By Lois Lowry
This Newbury Medal-winning novel, told from the perspective of 10-year-old Annemarie Johansen, tells the story of the Jews who escaped certain death in Denmark in 1943. When word gets out that the Nazis intend to round up all the Jewish people in the country, Annemarie and her family save her best friend, Ellen Rosen, by pretending she is Annemarie’s sister and helping her make it to a fishing boat that will bring her and her family to safety in neutral Sweden. It’s a novel grounded in dark historical truth and yet full of hope.
WE WILL NOT BE SILENT
The White Rose Student Resistance Movement that Defied Adolf Hitler
By Russell Freedman
This nonfiction account, aided by many archival photos and materials, tells the story of the German teenagers who banded together to fight secretly against the Nazis, rallying their fellow citizens by writing and distributing thousands of leaflets denouncing Nazi atrocities. “We are your bad conscience,” they said to the Nazi leaders. Freedman tells their story of resisting with words effectively and concisely.
Not Just Stories: Six Children’s Books For Fighting Fascism
Terrible Things: An Allegory of the Holocaust, Eve Bunting: As difficult as it is to talk to kids about genocide, this book makes a case for speaking up when it looks like neighbors are in danger.
Enlisting young adult fiction in the battle against racism
Book Riot editor and “Here We Are” author Kelly Jensen posted a request on Twitter last Friday: “My 33rd birthday is next month, and between now and then, I’d love to see 33 classroom literacy projects completed. Up for the challenge?”
Many of the teachers Jensen highlights write about their desire to create diverse classroom libraries. They’ve asked for funding to buy “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, “When Dimple Met Rishi” by Sandhya Menon, “Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson, books from Scholastic’s “Dear America” series.
“It makes a huge difference when students have books that let them know they’re being seen – that their perspectives and voices matter,” Jensen said. “It’s huge what kids will take with them from that.”
The New Uniform of White Supremacy: Interview with Susan Campbell Bartoletti
“What we see in a lot of images coming out of Charlottesville are these very clean-cut-looking young men,” says Susan Campbell Bartoletti, the author of They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group and Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow. “They’re putting the face of a gentleman on values that are, in my opinion, anything but gentlemanly.”
Toward the end of our conversation, Bartoletti points out a particularly chilling antecedent to the uniforms seen in Charlottesville. She directs me to Nazi propaganda: posters of clean-cut white men towering over people and, in one, shoveling aside presumably Jewish and black men. Several posters show the Nazis dressed in white button-ups and khakis. The resemblance is haunting. “And they didn’t hide their faces either, did they?” Bartoletti asks rhetorically.
11 books to help you talk to your kids about race and racism
Books you can read with your kids to start the conversation on race and racism
-A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams – After their home is destroyed in a fire, Rosa, her mother and grandmother save up to buy a comfortable chair for all of them to enjoy. A heart-warming celebration of a loving family.
-One Green Apple by Eve Bunting – Farah feels alone at school, even around all her classmates. She listens and nods but doesn’t speak… because she doesn’t know the language. But on a field trip to an apple orchard, she discovers that many things make the same noises they did at home. As the class combines all their apples in the cider press they discover that mixing all those different things together makes one delicious drink.
-Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson – Clara is a seamstress in the Big House, and dreams of a reunion with her Momma who lives on another plantation. Then she hears two slaves talking about the Underground Railroad, and she figures out how to use the cloth in her scrap bag to hide a map of the land – a freedom quilt to guide the way.
-Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson – I put this on every book list I possibly can because it is beautiful and insightful and eminently readable. I read it as an adult, but I’d say it’s suitable for anyone from fourth grade up. Woodson write about growing up in South Caroline and New York in the 1960s and 70s. She talks of the remnants of Jim Crow laws, and her growing awareness of the civil rights movement.
-The Whispering Town by Jennifer Elvgren – When people in a small Danish fishing village shelter a Jewish family during the Holocaust, they must get the family safely to the harbor to board a fishing boat and get to neutral Sweden. They devise a plan to communicate without attracting attention and risking the family’s safety.
-Number the Stars by Lois Lowry – When the German troops begin their plan to “relocate” all the Jews in Denmark, Annemarie Johansen’s family takes in her best friend and hides her in plain sight as part of their family. The book shows how the Danish Resistance smuggled almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark – close to 7,000 people – across the water to Sweden. It deals with an unimaginable tragedy but the hope and love of the people in the story make it a good book for middle-to-older elementary schoolers. It’s one of our favorites.
Hundreds Rally in Lexington Vigil in Solidarity With Charlottesville
“You realize that you don’t have a choice sometimes. You’ve just got to speak out. You’ve got to stand up and speak out,” noted Lexington Mayor Jim Gray.
Kentucky Author George Ella Lyon sang a song during her time at the microphone.
10th National Conference of African American Librarians
The 10th National Conference of African American Librarians is hosting an array of children’s authors now until August 13 at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta. Headlining the group are authors/publishers Wade and Cheryl Hudson.
Also confirmed are Kelly Staring Lyons (Ellen’s Broom & One Million Men and Me) and Atlanta’s own, illustrator R. Gregory Christie, a recent Coretta Scott King Book Award recipient and Caldecott “Honor Winner” for the book (Freedom in Congo Square).
Angelina Jolie animated by Taliban tale made in Ireland
Based on the bestselling children’s novel by Deborah Ellis, The Breadwinner tells the story of Parvana, an 11-year-old girl living under the Taliban who gives up her identity to provide for her family.
Nora Twomey, of Cartoon Saloon, directed the film, which was co-produced by Aircraft Pictures Canada, Melusine Productions and Jolie Pas Productions. It also received funding from the Irish Film Board.
Cartoon Saloon is Ireland’s most successful animation company, having been twice-nominated for Oscars for The Secret of Kells (2010) and Song of the Sea (2015).
Live Event: Big City Book Club at the Billie Holiday Theatre
This special Bed-Stuy edition, at the recently renovated Billie Holiday Theatre, will feature a discussion of “Another Brooklyn,” the best-selling novel about coming of age in Kings County in the 1970s. Ginia Bellafante, the Big City columnist, will be joined by Jacqueline Woodson, the book’s author, for a lively conversation.
Abenaki expert to make Plattsburgh stop
Adirondack author will host storytelling session at Plattsburgh Public Library
Author Joseph Bruchac is coming to Plattsburgh on Aug. 22, bringing with him stories from a culture that dates back to the 1600s.
Bruchac will visit the Plattsburgh Public Library on Tuesday to sign copies of his books, sing traditional American Indian songs and tell stories from Abenaki culture.
Library Chat: Grab some books and find out why world’s social problems are happening
Your public library has materials for all ages, including materials that will help you start a conversation with children and open the door for them to understand any kind of difficult issue at a level that is comfortable for them and for you.
The award winning free verse work “Brown Girl Dreaming,” by Jacqueline Woodson, suitable for adults and children, might be a good place to start.
“Separate is Never Equal” by Duncan Tonatiuh is available as an audiobook and as a short video of the book. This picture book work discusses the fight to end school segregation for agricultural workers in California in the 1940s. Or, for a more regional experience, or introduce a piece of family history, you could pick up “Baseball Saved Us,” about Japanese internment, by Ken Mochizuki.
If you are embarking on a road trip you might download the audiobook “Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans” by Kadir Nelson, who also penned a number of works for a variety of ages.
Hear author Francisco Jimenez speak on ‘Migrant Experience’ in Redlands
The Redlands Adult Literacy Program at the A.K. Smiley Public Library invites you to hear Francisco Jimenez, who wrote the autobiographical book “The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child.”
This year, more than 150 local literacy tutors, learners and community members have read Jimenez’s book and were moved by reading of the obstacles Jimenez overcame in his quest for an education.
Jimenez will speak on “The Migrant Experience: A Personal Story” at 6 p.m. Sept. 7.
Detroit Museums Examine the Riots That Changed the City
The story of Detroit’s July 1967 riots is, in some ways, a tale of two cities, one black and one white. Now, 50 years later, three neighboring museums here are revisiting that fateful summer with exhibitions that portray and explore the riots in sharply different ways.
Erin Falker, an assistant curator at the museum, said that they chose to place “Flag for the Moon: Die Nigger” by Faith Ringgold, a distortion of the United States flag from 1969 that spells out the racial epithet in its stripes, across from the khaki-colored “Patriot” by Jeff Donaldson, from 1975, and “Weight” by Mr. Phillips, from 2001. Ms. Falker said the grouping highlighted the remembrance that, on the night of the raid that sparked the riots, the club was having a party for African-American soldiers returning from Vietnam.
Another goal at all the museums is teaching millennials and other young people to make connections between the past and present. The Wright’s curator of exhibitions, Patrina Chatman, a Detroit native who was a teenager during the riots, said art with Black Lives Matter elements mixed with earlier civil rights references reminds young people that “history is repeating itself.”
Protest Art: What Is It Good For?
As Jerry Saltz has noted, there have been a number of exciting politically engaged exhibitions around New York City right now, and more coming soon. The curators at the Whitney Museum dug around in its archive to put together “An Incomplete History of Protest,” from which this slideshow is drawn. It opens August 18.
Faith Ringgold (b. 1930), Hate Is a Sin Flag, 2007.
The Jane Addams Children’s Book Award annually recognizes children’s books of literary and aesthetic excellence that effectively engage children in thinking about peace, social justice, global community, and equity for all people.