Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Anti-Racist Children's Books About Freedom, Juneteenth, and July 4th

The 4th of July is quickly approaching, and I'll be honest. I'm not a fan. The 4th is a holiday that's pro-white guys. I know I'm not alone. There's a huge societal push for Juneteenth to be made a national holiday (fingers crossed).

As we approach July fourth and all of the patriotic decor (you know, red, white, and blue everything), I want to encourage you to educate your children on freedom and what it means. Here are some excellent books we recommend.

-Click on the book image to read a summary, browse reviews, take a peek inside, and order if you wish-

Happy reading, celebrating, and learning, friends! And if you haven't already, join me on Instagram and Facebook to talk about race, adoption, motherhood, faith, health, and so much more!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Children's Books About Racial Diversity, Anti-Racism, and Faith

First, I just want to thank you. So many of my followers are showing up right now. I've had amazing conversations with many of you about Black Lives Matter, resources, equity, anti-racism, and many other important topics. If you aren't already, will you please come hang with me on Facebook and Instagram

For those who are families of faith--like we are--I want you to know that faith and race are at the center of our conversations right now. Let me tell you how the past few weeks have gone.

It started after we told the kids that George Floyd was murdered. This came a few weeks after we had participated in the Run With Maud event honoring Ahmaud Arbery, and then a few days after we learned about Breonna Taylor. There was A LOT going on at once, and we were heartbroken and angry.

I’ve had a few white friends ask me, with hesitation, if they should participate in #irunwithmaud — and my answer is: if you believe #blacklivesmatter - then yes. If you believe that other white people need to believe it too, yes. If you are worried for the safety of my children and your Black friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, coaches, teachers, etc., yes. Honor #ahmaudarbery with your walk or run. πŸ–€ #dearwhitepeople - we need to come for our own. We need to call out racism every time. We have a responsibility to do so. Pretending #racism is not happening and doesn’t really matter is to uphold #whitesupremacy πŸ–€ this morning, my oldest three kids and I did 2.23 miles on the elliptical, taking turns. (We over did it and missed the 2.23 screen pic) πŸ–€Do you know what my son said to me when I explained what we were doing? He asked me, “Are people counting on me?” Then he began exercising with so much vigor. πŸ–€ swipe for some more info I need you to know. πŸ–€ #antiracism is daily work. It’s not just a hashtag or a single person. It’s a commitment to listening, learning, applying, supporting, and empathizing. πŸ–€ Did you participate? Will you proclaim that #blm ? . #multiracialfamily #saturday #blackboys #whitesugarbrownsugar
A post shared by Rachel Garlinghouse (@whitesugarbrownsugar) on

I spent the following weeks furiously writing, sharing posts by Black people, and creating graphics to share on social media. I couldn't sleep--with ideas and questions and emotions keeping me awake. I quickly became completely drained. This manifested as physical symptoms: shaking, heart-racing, high blood sugars, increased blood pressure, headaches. I was emotionally unavailable, eventually becoming numb.

It dawned on me that I was carrying so much pain that it was harming my body. I took a day off to re-fuel. I swam with the kids, I did yoga, journaled, and drank green tea. I wanted to shut out all the noise. I also realized, if I was this distraught, how much harder must it be to be a Black person in this country every single day? How much harder was this for my own children? It's a privilege to "shut off" something that my children, and all other Black people, cannot.

I didn't want to spend all my energy either being angry at racists or, the opposite, trying to be so anti-racist, that I had nothing left to give my four kids. I also wasn't doing any prayer or Bible reading. I was running on angry fumes--which didn't do any of us any good.

I knew what we needed to do. We needed to get back to Jesus. This started with our pastor's sermon. He was doing a series about taking care of our minds and what that means for our entire being and faith in God.

I also heard a few songs on our local radio station. There's a local Christian pop and hip hop station here in St. Louis, Boost 101.9. We were listening to songs about breaking chains, knowing your worth, and putting on the full armor of God.

I recommitted to getting into my Bible and praying FIRST. Filling our cups. We're doing a daily devotion with the kids, listening to faith-based music, and reading some of the books I'm suggesting to you here, books that show the intersection of race and faith. 

We also make several posters. One was a Black Lives Matter poster where we wrote down all the names of Black people in our lives that we love and are asking God to protect (including our kids). 

A post shared by Rachel Garlinghouse (@whitesugarbrownsugar) on

We created another poster with Bible verses to help us stay focused and driven to fight for justice.

I want to encourage you to NOT stop here---at reading books I suggest. Faith should be your first-stop, but next up, you need to be doing the anti-racist work. These books are to help you get your mind and heart right before you step out to do the work. Here my anti-racism book suggestions for adults; here are my anti-racism book suggestions for children. You can also check out (because, why not?) our Christmas book collection for Black children. Some (not all) focus on faith.

Friends, this is a tumultuous time in history. I'm thankful for you and your willingness to work to be anti-racist and to teach your children to do the same. Let's do this--together. Because Black Lives Matter.