Anti-Racism Resources for All Ages

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Anti-racism is a lifelong commitment, and not something that begins or ends with a social media post. In service of this commitment, we’ll be sharing actionable anti-racism resources for all ages throughout the year in our newsletter (which will then be added to this ongoing post).

To our Black readers, librarians, educators, parents, and caregivers: The following resources address anti-racism as a broad mission, but we recognize that in America today, Black children specifically face a disproportionate amount of stress and institutional trauma. All of the following resources feature Black authors, parents, and leaders, but the links that speak specifically to Black children will be designated with two asterisks (**). Resources without asterisks may still be applicable, but are not framed for a specific audience.

To our non-Black audience: Join us in continuing to educate ourselves and others; listening to and uplifting Black voices and organizations who are already doing the work; and starting honest conversations about racial justice with the kids in your life. As mentioned above, resources marked with two asterisks (**) speak specifically to Black children, and we encourage you to check them out as well. It is not enough to actively deconstruct biases in our own lives. We must uplift the voices and triumphs of the Black community, as well as other marginalized groups who have persisted in the face of systemic oppression.

Together, we will raise the next generation on the fundamentals of anti-racism, and fight for a more equitable future for them to inherit.

Resources (updated every two weeks, in no particular order)

Highlight Event:

  • **KidLit4Black Lives Rally: “We have work to do,” said kidlit author Paula Chase-Hyman at the KidLit4Black Lives Rally. If you missed the event, check out a recap from SLJ, and/or stream the recording now. The first half speaks directly to young people, while the second half focuses on “grown-up talk” (i.e., what we should already be doing as mentors, educators, caregivers, etc.).

Conversation Starters:

  • **Kojo for Kids — (National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature) Jason Reynolds talks about racism and the protests: [Reynolds to Benjamin, an 8-year-old caller]: “You’re scared of being a black person. What should you do? Well, Benjamin, that’s a good question. I think, first of all, I’m going to tell you something that maybe I shouldn’t say, because it’s going to feel like a cheap answer. But the first thing I’m going to tell you, Benjamin, is that first of all it’s okay for you to be afraid. But also know that being a black person comes with a lot of amazing things, right. And so what we never talk about is, you hear the bad stuff, so you hear about the police, you hear about what’s happening in the street right now. But the history of black people in America is one that is full of victory, one that is full of pride, one that is full of strength and courage. We’ve always been courageous.”
  • Washington Post — What white parents get wrong about raising antiracist kids — and how to get it right: “As a white parent, I feel a deep responsibility to provide my children with the tools and awareness to help rebuild our society into something better. I know I’m not alone, but I also know many white parents don’t know how or where to start. Research suggests that we need to confront our unfounded assumptions about how and why racism develops, and then we need to engage with our children regularly about race, racism and anti-racism. This is something that parents of color do regularly, because they have to; white parents need to do it, too.”
  • **NPR — Talking Race with Young Children: Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president for Social Impact at Sesame Workshop, and author Beverly Daniel Tatum.
  • Children’s Community School — Social Justice Resources: “They’re not too young to talk about Race.”
  • UNICEF — Talking to Your Kids About Racism: “It can be hard to talk to your children about racism. Being silent cannot be an option.
  • Parent Tool Kit — How to Talk to Kids about Race and Racism: “There’s no question: talking about race can be sensitive, and yes, even a bit messy.”
  • NYTimes — Talking to Kids About Racism, Early and Often: “These books can help start the conversation.”
  • Good Housekeeping — Parents Need to Have Honest Conversations With Kids About Race and Racism, Starting Very Early: “Babies as young as three months start to process ideas about race. We owe it to our kids to talk about it.”
  • Parent Map — How to Talk to Kids About Race: “Experts offer 8 approaches to broaching the topic.”
  • National Geographic — Talking to kids about race: “Recent protests are sparking questions from children. Not shying away from those conversations is the first step in raising an anti-racist child.”
  • Washington Post — Color-blindness isn’t a virtue. Let’s stop teaching our kids that it is: “We shouldn’t want children to imagine a world with no differences. We should want children to value difference.”
  • INSIDER — Ibram X. Kendi says reading anti-racism books to children is a good start, but parents could be doing more: “Kendi told Insider that being anti-racist requires a constant process of unlearning, and raising anti-racist children requires parents to consistently engage in conversations with themselves and their children about racism.”
  • TEDx — Let’s get to the root of racial injustice: “In this inspiring and powerful talk, Megan Francis traces the root causes of our current racial climate to their core causes, debunking common misconceptions and calling out ‘fix-all’ cures to a complex social problem.”

Education and Action:

  • Hechinger Report — Four ways that educators can help young black students thrive: “Affirming, protecting and cultivating the humanity of black children.”
  • SAFE@SCHOOL — Lesson Plans and Tool Kits: There are a variety of ways to educate for anti-racism and celebrate diversity in the classroom. SAFE@SCHOOL has curated strategies, reading lists, and adaptable guides.
  • Center for American Progress — Truth and Reconciliation: Addressing Systemic Racism in the United States: “This issue brief discusses the history of slavery in the United States, how its roots have spread to the present day, and what needs to be done to right 400 years of undervaluing Black Americans’ work and lives.”
  • act.tv — Systemic Racism Explained (video): “Systemic racism affects every area of life in the US. From incarceration rates to predatory loans, and trying to solve these problems requires changes in major parts of our system. Here’s a closer look at what systemic racism is, and how we can solve it.”
  • Black Lives Matter at School — Announcing the 2020 Curriculum Resource Guide: “Free, downloadable lessons to challenge racism, oppression and build happy and healthy classrooms.” Available for every grade level.
  • Edutopia — Using Data to Advance Racial Equity: “Schools that strive for equity can collect, interpret, and use data about students in purposeful and self-reflective ways … The Black Lives Matter protests aren’t just about police brutality. The movement asks all institutions, including schools, to take a hard look at themselves and identify policies that contribute to systemic racism—and then to reform them.”
  • Teaching Now, and Education Week blog — 15 Classroom Resources for Discussing Racism, Policing, and Protest: “‘Teachers cannot be silent during this time,’ said Patrick Harris, a 6th and 7th grade English and social studies teacher at the Detroit Achievement Academy. ‘Teachers have to take a stand. Students are absorbing this, [and] they’re going to ask themselves later on in life or even now, “What was my teacher doing during this time?”‘”
  • The Atlantic — What Anti-racist Teachers Do Differently: “Anti-racist teachers take black students seriously. They create a curriculum with black students in mind, and they carefully read students’ work to understand what they are expressing. This might sound fairly standard, but making black students feel valued goes beyond general ‘good teaching.’ It requires educators to view the success of black students as central to the success of their own teaching.”
  • School Library Journal — Curricular Correction: Using Resources to Teach Black History and Culture — “Addressing systemic racism in U.S. education will require a multifaceted approach, and revising the curriculum is a crucial part of it. Now may be the time … While officially changing a curriculum is a lengthy process, many lesson plans and resources are available for teachers who want to get started. Black Lives Matter (BLM) at School, a national coalition working toward racial justice in education, and the 1619 Project Curriculum are two of the more extensive collections of materials, offering classroom resources from kindergarten through college.”
  • Publishers Weekly — Black Lives Matter: Crucial Discussions in the Classroom — “Following the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers on May 25, people all over the world have taken to the streets for Black Lives Matter protests demanding racial justice and an end to state-sanctioned violence against Black people. Many young people have participated in such protests or marches in recent months, and many others have seen them on TV or social media. PW spoke with teachers across the country about whether and how they plan to discuss racism and the protests with their students, and asked them to share any resources they have found illuminating or helpful in their preparation.”
  • School Library Journal — Teaching Compassion—Not Empathy—and Critical Reading | Opinion — “Empathy is a laudable character trait most educators teach. Well, I don’t. I’ve developed a strong belief about empathy: it’s a feeling—one rooted in assumptions, because it does not require interaction. Walking a mile in another person’s shoes doesn’t have much impact if you don’t have to walk alongside anyone, and you get to trade in said shoes for your own at the end of the journey. Empathy can easily become a form of erasure. Now, I teach children to embody compassion.”

Celebrating Black Excellence:

  • **Sesame Street — “I Love My Hair” song
  • **The Conscious Kid — Children’s Books Celebrating Black Boys: “The Conscious Kid Library curated this list of 25 children’s books celebrating Black boys, in partnership with Moms of Black Boys United. These books center, reflect, and affirm Black boys, and were written and illustrated by Black authors and artists.”
  • **Brightly — 8 Nonfiction Kids’ Books That Celebrate Black Excellence
  • A Mighty Girl — Broadening the Story: 60 Picture Books Starring Black Mighty Girls.  “Greater diversity in books not only gives children of color an opportunity to see themselves in stories but also helps broaden the perspective of all children by fostering children’s sense of empathy and connection with characters who might look different from themselves.”
  • POPSUGAR — Diversify Your Kid’s Bookshelf with These 20 Children’s Books by Black Authors: “Providing children with diverse stories written by Black authors can have a long-lasting impact on their understanding of the world and the importance of celebrating the differences between one another.”
  • **School Library Journal — Excellent Black Lives Matter Picture Books: A round-up of on-sale picture book biographies by and about Black people to revisit and share with young readers today.

Resource Round-Ups:

  • Brightly — Anti-Racist Resources for Kids: “At Brightly, we’re committed to helping you raise kids that are not only ‘not racist,’ but who are actively ‘anti-racist.’”
  • SLJ — Antiracist Resources and Reads (for all ages): School Library Journal’s Betsy Bird has assembled an all-age list of antiracist resources and reads, including book recommendations for every age level, podcasts, articles, videos, and organizations to follow.

To Listen:

  • **NPR — “Code Switch” podcast episode: “A Decade of Watching Black People Die”
  • **Book Riot — “Kidlit These Days” podcast discussed the representation of transgender children of color, including recommended reading and special guest Kai Cheng Thom. Listen here or on the podcast app of your choice.
  • Kidlit These Days, a Book Riot Podcast— OwnVoices, Heard and Valued: “Nicole and Matthew discuss the creation and use of the #OwnVoices hashtag, representation of diversity in kidlit, and the value of storytelling through lived experience.”

And finally, a quote from National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature, Jason Reynolds from his keynote address at the Bronx Book Festival: “Books create a safe space—a confessional for you where you can grapple and celebrate in private, but safe spaces don’t matter if you don’t act and create safe worlds.”

Black Lives Matter. Black Stories Matter.