On the 25th May it will be one year since George Floyd was killed while in police custody, prompting a global outpouring of grief and outrage and forcing millions of people around the world to confront, address & think about unconscious bias & racist attitudes and behaviour.
It’s important that we as parents examine our own behaviour, attitudes & words we use, to help any children in our care to do the same, in order to root out all racism in all its forms.
Books by black authors and illustrators are an essential part of that change, as well as authors from different backgrounds, gender, culture & race as children need to read books that feature characters they can identify with.
It is essential that black authors and illustrators receive the attention that their white counterparts have enjoyed in the books industry for decades.
Explaining race and racism to children can feel like a minefield, but it doesn’t have to be difficult and it is very important that you start early otherwise not talking about race and racism sends a message to children that this is a taboo topic, no matter what their age, and that isn’t going to help us change perceptions or policies.
Never Too Young
Children are never too young to learn to celebrate and embrace differences and by keeping an ongoing dialogue about race and racism throughout your child’s formative years helps them develop respect for and acceptance of others.
Read them picture books, watch TV shows and films like ‘Hidden Figures’ that celebrate people of all colours, cultures and religions, but include examples of these people & kids doing everyday things so that they won’t see difference as unusual.
Here is just a small selection of books created by a host of authors and illustrators that I hope you will enjoy exploring reading with your kids to help you diversify your bookshelves.
Sue’s Picks on Cultural Diversity :
Here’s an article I wrote about my good friend Laura Henry Allain the creator of the JoJo & Gran Gran characters on CBeebies.
Talking to Kids About Racism, Early and Often & Why Britain’s First Black Animation, JoJo & Gran Gran Is So Important For Cultural Representation