Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Eleven Best Back-to-School Racially Diverse Children's Picture Books

It's back-to-school time, and no matter how you're choosing to educate your children this year, I want you to know I'm cheering for you! Maybe your kiddo needs a lunch box and backpack, or maybe school is wearing pajamas and hovering over a laptop at the kitchen table. 2020 has been a real doozy so far, and we just have to keep rolling with it.

Just because the coronavirus has taken over our newsfeeds (and is causing us to have some serious anxiety) doesn't mean we have to ignore making back-to-school special for our kids. I'm a big-believer in helping our children LOVE learning. One way to instill this desire to get educated is to positively enforce to our kids that craving knowledge, asking questions, and succeeding is important. 

Parents, we set the tone for our children. This year, it's going to be extra challenging to be positive about back-to-school, but we can do it. I've put together this book listing to help you. These racially diverse books are an awesome way to encourage your child to get excited about a fresh school year and new possibilities. I hope you'll check them out, choose a few, and read to your children! 

Click on the book image to learn more, including reviews, get a sneak peek inside, read a summary, and purchase if you wish.

Happy learning, happy reading, friends! And as always, please come hang out with me on Facebook and Instagram, where I'm posting all of our family adventures, favorite books, videos, answers to your questions, articles, and memes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Anti-Racism Activities to Do With Your Kids At Home

If you follow me on Instagram and Facebook, you've seen the many anti-racism projects and activities we've been doing as a multiracial family. It's important to be intentional with our kids, to educate them, and to help them creatively express their feelings, thoughts, and questions.




I started the summer with the intention of focusing on some academics with the kids, but we've taken a turn to focusing less on academics and more on learning about race, racism, and anti-racism. We have always learned about these topics as a family, but we're doing so now more than ever before.

My oldest tween and I brainstormed on what we could do since we're still in quarantine. How can we be supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement in our own home? How can we further our racial education?








We’ve had several talks over the weekend about #georgefloyd — honest, hard, open conversations. When you’re raising Black children, “the talk” is ongoing — especially as they get older. πŸ–€ We don’t do this alone. We have incredible Black people in our lives to help us raise our children. πŸ–€ Books are another tool we use to open up conversations with our kids, especially about #antiracism If you’re interested in our favorite #childrensbookrecommendations , check out our newest blog post : #linkinbio πŸ–€ I’ve received a lot of messages asking how we are. We’re emotionally exhausted, committed, and angry. πŸ–€ What can YOU do? You can learn how to become #antiracist yourself, and teach your children, too. No, they aren’t too young. Start now. I also have a list of books for adults on the blog. Link in the bio to “blog” and then last week’s post. πŸ–€ How are you teaching your kids to be anti-racist? πŸ‘‡πŸΎπŸ‘‡πŸΌπŸ‘‡πŸΏπŸ‘‡πŸ½ . #multiracialfamily #childrensbooks #racialjustice #whitesugarbrownsugar #thursdaymotivation #thursdaymorning #thursdaythoughts #thursday
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I strongly believe it starts with the adults in the household. After all, we can't give what we don't have. We can't teach what we don't know. We can't lead when we don't understand. Adults, check out my top recommended anti-racism books here. Get to work!








I understand when my white friends express that they don’t know how to be #antiracist — because when all you’ve ever known is #whiteprivilege , and you’ve never personally experienced #racism , your perception is one where whiteness is centralized. White people are conditioned to believe they are always right. Anything or anyone else is a threat to that. It’s wrong. But it’s also the reality. It occurs automatically / by default. That’s what #whitesupremacy does— it infiltrates. It creates a sometimes (not often or always) mindless allegiance to whiteness that is dangerous.πŸ–€ Last week, I felt a sense of urgency to point white friends to 12 books on race, authored by people of color. There are, of course, many more. #linkinbio and then “blog” is where you’ll find the full list. πŸ–€ White friends, we need to do the work ourselves. Buy/listen to/read/watch the works created by POC and learn from them. Then, apply that knowledge to our lives.To our children’s lives. πŸ–€ It’s unfair to implore POC to educate us. Our friends and family and neighbors and coworkers shouldn’t be burdened with our laziness or #whitetears . There are resources out there. We need to find them, buy them, and get to work. πŸ–€ if we truly wish to commit to #antiracism , we need to invest in the journey. Not just try to side-line it. πŸ–€ I also share many anti-racism posts in my stories. I hope you’ll check them out and start following some accounts that will educate you. It’s one of my goals to amplify the voices of #bipoc s— which is why the books I suggest to you aren’t by white authors. πŸ–€ I’m imperfect. I’ve made plenty of mistakes. I will make more. When I screw up, it weighs VERY heavily on me — because ultimately, my children are my responsibility, and I want to make sure that every book I read, every post I make, every parenting choice, honors, protects, and loves them. I share this to say that white friends shouldn’t shy away from becoming a #whiteally just because it’s uncomfortable and challenging. DO THE WORK. πŸ–€ . #racisminamerica #blacklivesmatter #multiracialfamily #whitesugarbrownsugar #whiteally #mondaymotivation #mondaymood #mondaynight
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Here are some activities you can do with your kids to teach them about race, anti-racism, and racial justice.

1: Read anti-racism children's books together and then illustrate.

Help kids visualize what they've learned after reading anti-racist children's books. Use paint, crayons, markers, posterboard, paper--whatever you have!

2: Use toys to send messages of anti-racism.

My tween used her Lego to create a Black Lives Matter protest. My other tween used her superhero dolls to protest. Help kids dig into their own worlds and proclaim that racism isn't OK.




The kids keep surprising me with projects they create that share that they matter πŸ–€ over the years, many *white* (always) people tell me I focus too much on race and I’m going to give my kids a complex. They were wrong. They are wrong. πŸ–€ I teach my kids about all the #blackexcellence - current and historical. Yes, we talk about racism. My job is to prepare them for the realities — not for some utopia that doesn’t exist. Just because discussions about race make a person uncomfortable doesn’t mean I should stop teaching my kids to be proud Black people. πŸ–€ In fact, because some refuse to talk about race and change, I must talk to my kids! Those who won’t become #antiracist are the problem! They help feed and create systems that uphold white supremacy—even if they don’t realize it. πŸ–€ #blacklivesmatter - period ... and the #superheroes agree . #tween #blackgirlmagic #antiracist #unity #whitesugarbrownsugar #multiracialfamily #mondaynight #mondaymotivation #mondaymood #mondayvibes
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Yesterday, we did some brainstorming. What can we do to be activists as a family? What can the kids do? How do we make a difference while in #quarantine ? πŸ’« We have tons of ideas. Some are for personal education and kid-affirmation. Others are for activism. I’m going to share them with you over the coming weeks. πŸ’« This was our first project. Actually, it was HER project. She loves all things @lego , so she created a #blacklivesmatter protest scene using Lego. She included media, protestors, and police. This is her interpretation and processing of what’s going on. πŸ’« I am so proud of her. She wrote her own speech and practiced it before videoing. She did her hair. Planned her outfit. The whole thing. πŸ’« Our hearts are heavy. Our minds are anxious. We are restless. We aren’t sleeping well. But we are pushing forward and figuring out what’s next. πŸ’« How are your kids? What have you told them? What resources do you recommend? πŸ‘‡πŸΌπŸ‘‡πŸ½πŸ‘‡πŸΎπŸ‘‡πŸΏ . #antiracism #antiracist #protest #quarantinelife #multiracialfamily #blackgirlmagic #tween #activism #artactivism #activist #protest #georgefloyd #whitesugarbrownsugar #dowhatsright
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3: Create posters to display.

Our kids have created a couple of posters. The first was a Black Lives Matter poster with the names of all the Black people in our lives (including themselves) on it. The second poster was Bible verses that remind us to fight for justice for all. The third was for the front windows of our house--where those who came to the front door (like delivery drivers) would see.






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4: Learn by topic.

It can be overwhelming to tackle "racism" as a whole. Create themes that you focus on, one week at at time. For example, one theme might be Juneteenth. Another theme might be a person: past or present. Use your child's interests to help you. If your child likes gymnastics, learn about Simone Biles (who, by the way, is also an adoptee). If your child likes music, research music artists in the genre your child enjoys. Don't focus on just the hardships. There's so much Black Excellence out there! Here's our list of recommended children's books that combine race and faith, for example.


5: Watch movies.

Books are amazing, but movies can be, too. They can have a powerful, long-lasting impact on children. There are so many great movies on the streaming services. Check out Ruby Bridges or The Color of Friendship or Remember the Titans on Disney+, for example. Be sure to watch movies (and shows) where Black people are the protagonists, not the stereotyped sidekicks or villains. Shows like KC Undercover and movies like Spiderman Into the Spiderverse can teach children that Black kids can be the superhero/star.



6: Support Black-owned businesses. 

Buy tees from a Black-owned business and wear them. We don't go out much at all right now (hello, pandemic), but when we do, it's for medical appointments or groceries. We wear our tees proudly! They are a powerful way to send messages to those who see them. There are so many Black-owned companies to choose from!


7: Use music, sports, art, etc. to be anti-racist.

My daughter chose to honor Juneteenth by playing a song on her clarinet, He's Got the Whole World In His Hands, from one of our books by Kadir Nelson. We videoed it and posted to social media. Kids can utilize their own interests and talents to be anti-racist.



Anti-racist kids are much more likely to be anti-racist adults! And when your child sees you working hard to become a white ally yourself, you are modeling for them who they should become.