Oh internets

I am developing a list of anti-racist resources (including and especially books) geared towards children, parents and teachers.  So far my list is somewhat short.  Any suggestions?

Also, has anybody read “What if all the kids are white?” by Louise Derman-Sparks?

Your suggestions are gratefully received, and I will share the list.

22 thoughts on “Oh internets

  1. I highly recommend Oyate.org, which is a resource for Native American children’s books- they have lists of both books that are awesome, and books to avoid, with detailed reviews about why. They talk quite a bit about racist portrayals of Native Americans/First Nations in U.S and Canadian children’s books. They’re largely geared towards parents and teachers.

    I like Patricia Polacco’s The Butterfly, which is based on the author’s great aunt’s experiences in Nazi-occupied France, and thus deals, in part, with prejudice and racism towards Jews.

    When I was about… gah, ten or so, I think, it’s been a while… there was a made-for-TV movie called “The Color of Friendship,” which was set in the seventies and was about a white South African foreign exchange student who stayed with a black American family in the U.S, causing an international incident because of the violation of Apartheid. It’s got a bit of a national bias, if I remember correctly (1970s U.S was an almost completely post-racial society in this movie’s universe), but I remember it being an enjoyable film, and being pretty blunt about racial issues. (There are a lot of memorable scenes in it with both overt racism- e.g, a white South African man shoving a black waiter to the ground for spilling something on his table- and more subtle- when the main protagonists discuss how many words for black people South Africans have.)

    Whether this is appropriate to watch with children of certain ages is a judgement call individual parents have to make for themselves, but the film “Rabbit Proof Fence” (about Australia and New Zealand’s Stolen Generations, in particular three biracial sisters) is a pretty heartrending and thoughtful movie, and I enjoyed watching it with my daughter.

    I admit, with my child, I try to read a lot more books that are about protagonists of color than ones that directly deal with racism. :-/ I’m working on empathy first (which is hard, living in a predominantly white Christian area- there aren’t very many people of color here, and the fact that I’m a single parent makes a LOT of my daughter’s friends’ parents, of any race, really uncomfortable), so I try to read her a lot of books with protagonists of different races going about their daily lives. Some touch on racism (a favorite of hers is “I Love My Hair!” by Natasha Tarpley, which touches on racism very briefly but is more about building a positive self-image… she mostly loves it because she, like the book’s protagonist, LOATHES getting her hair combed), and some don’t (another favorite of hers is “The Way We Do It In Japan” by Geneva Iijima, and that’s about the adjustments a Japanese-American boy has to make when his parents take him back to Japan).

    I hope this helps!

    All the Colors We Are: The Story of How We Get Our Skin Color, by Katie Kissinger
    Africa is Not a Country, by Margy Burns Knight
    Skin Again, by bell hooks
    Jump at the Sun Classic Fairy Tales, Illustrated by John Kurtz (Cinderella, etc.)
    Who’s Whose? by Jan Ormerod
    I Love My Hair, by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
    Happy to be Nappy, by bell hooks
    Children Just Like Me, by Barnabas and Anabel Kindersley

    Everyday Acts Against Racism, Edited by Maureen Reddy
    Some of My Best Friends, Edited by Emily Bernard
    A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn
    White Like Me, by Tim Wise

    Race: The Power of an Illusion (Documentary & Website)
    RACE: A Project of the American Anthropological Association

  3. Hate Hurts from the anti defamation league, does anybody look like me are the two I think of first… I’m sure I’ll think of more. I’ve also got a couple recent posts on my blog that list some more diverse children’s books… not necessarily specific to racism, though many are.

  4. Resistance, are you looking for specifically anti-racist children’s books, or also children’s books showing characters of color going about normal everyday life, with their ethnic heritage not part of the text?

  5. For teachers:

    Children, Race, and Power by Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner (and the Northside Center of Kenneth and Mamie Clark which has provided psychiatric, educational, and other forms of help to Harlem kids for 60+ years)
    the books of/edited by Gloria Ladson-Billings (critical race and education theorist)
    anything by Derrick Bell (founder of critical race theory, Harvard Law school prof)
    anything by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw (critical race theorist)
    The Shame of the Nation by Jonathan Kozol (neo-segregation in schools)
    anything by Kenneth Clark (black psychologist who did the infamous “doll test” and co-founded the Northside Center
    anything by Molefi Asante (Afrocentric historian)
    Basil Davidson’s books on Africa (white historian of Africa)
    anything by Gregory Cajete (indigenous science)
    This is Not a Peace Pipe by Dale Turner (critical indigenous philosophy)
    anything by Taiake Alfred (Kanien’kehaka intellectual)
    Escaping education : living as learning within grassroots cultures by Madhu Suri Prakash and Gustavo Esteva (exactly what the title says)

  6. http://awrungsponge.blogspot.com/

    The author is a librarian who reviews and lists books for all ages with an emphasis on diversity. I have found her lists very helpful. She goes variously by cloudscome, a wrung sponge and Andromeda Jazmon.

    from her blog statement:
    I review software, electronic resources, and books for children and young adults, particularly those that are inclusive of diverse ethnicities. I accept multicultural fiction, nonfiction and poetry books for review. I am happy to support authors and illustrators of color.

    I have no connection to her except that I have found her site incredibly useful.

  7. A few children’s picture books that are popular among preschool through second grade teachers that touch on this subject…

    The Skin I’m In: A First Look at Racism by Pat Thomas
    The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
    What if Zebras Lost Their Stripes? by John Reitano
    The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
    Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
    The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss
    Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children by Sandra Pinkney

  8. I recently let our district superintendents know about the Teaching Diverse Students Initiative being offered by Teaching Tolerance: http://www.tolerance.org/tdsi/

    They are providing some wonderful resources to help improve teaching of diverse student populations. Here are some of the tools (pasted from the page):

    Understanding the Influence of Race is a tool allows educators to assess and reflect on their beliefs relating to race.

    The Common Beliefs Survey identifies beliefs about instruction and learning that may have consequences for students of diverse races and ethnicities.

    Primer on Culturally Relevant Pedagogy is an introduction to teaching that facilitates student learning by taking into account race and ethnicity related values, dispositions and experiences.

    The School Survey identifies conditions in schools that support effective teaching and learning of racially and ethnically diverse students.
    Case-based Course Modules engage the learner in interactive problem-solving related to teaching literacy; many of the lessons to be learned apply to all subjects.

    The material addresses topics like the achievement gap, colorblindness, family engagement, cultural differences, and many more that would be beneficial to students and helpful to instructors.

    I’ll take a look at the book list my advocacy group uses, and may be back. I’m going to check out some of the suggestions above, too!

  9. omg, i must be in a bad mood or something, my list, it has nothing in it, nothing to add, whatever i was reading wouldn’t add anything to this post. damn, to tell the truth, my list has nothing on it, why? i gave up, if a teacher is interested, they would probably already be reading some of the books here. some of the books, they would read and find objectionable, and we would all sit here surprised. damn.

    Lyx, you wrote about white voyeurism in a previous comment, thank youl

  10. Katie, Thank you for the link to teaching for change! I’m reading Beyond Heroes and Holidays. Now, I can return it to the library and get my own copy to share with the equity teams at my sons schools.

    A book I recommend is Still I Rise; A Graphic History of African Americans by Roland Laird and Taneshia Nash Laird. Illustrations by Elihu “Adofo” Bey.

    More Cowvell, I joined TDSI as a parent. I’m also encouraging administrators, teachers and staff to join.

  11. will go through my library for books more a bit later, but a great one is the implicit association test –


    and the related informational links at Mahzarin Banaji’s site –



    some books I can think of immediately –

    Does anybody else look like me – Donna Jackson Nakazawa

    The first R – how children learn race and racism – Debra van Ausdale

    Loving across the color line, a white adoptive mother learns about race – Sharon Rush

    What are you? voices of mixed-race young people – Pearl Fuyo Gaskins

  12. also –

    Crossing the Color Line by Maureen T. Reddy

    (?? don’t see my other list but I submitted it twice?)

  13. some books I can think of immediately –

    Does anybody else look like me – Donna Jackson Nakazawa

    The first R – how children learn race and racism – Debra van Ausdale

    What are you? voices of mixed race young people – Pearl Fuyo Gaskins

    Loving across the color line – Sharon Rush

  14. sorry, tried to post something a number of times, it isn’t working and I hope it isn’t (x5 or so attempts) sitting in a queue somewhere

  15. for just presenting a multiethnic group in which race is not an explicit part of the story –

    Sophie Skates, by Rachel Isadora (also a number of other books by this author)

  16. Also for teachers/educators/parents:

    And one of our favorite books I forgot yesterday:
    Of Many Colors, by Peggy Gillespie

    I’m assuming you just want resources with a specifically antiracist message? If you want something broader (like children’s & young adult books featuring families of color and/or multiracial families/individuals; adult nonfiction/art books featuring POC) I have a *huge* list of those as well.

  17. That explains it! I wonder why….

    Anyway, were you also looking for books with multiethnic characters for young readers? or more for books explicitly about racism?

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