There’s no question: talking about race can be sensitive. And “choosing” whether or not to talk to your kids about race is an option many parents, specifically those of colour, don’t have; some children may inevitably learn about it by confronting racism in their everyday lives.
There’s no such thing as foolproof advice or “quick tips” when it comes to discussing the complexities of race. Each parent will have to decide for themselves what makes the most sense for them and their family.
Above all, it’s a conversation all parents need to have, no matter your background or experience. So, if you’re curious how to get this conversation started, we’ve pulled together some ideas about books to read, videos and films to watch and activists to follow.
Explore Race through reading
As Black Lives Matter protests rail against institutionalised racism, books designed to educate children about prejudice, diversity and tolerance can help bring about discussion and teachings.
The Story of the Windrush by K. N. Chimbi
K. N. Chimbiri’s book takes readers through 22 real-life stories about three generations of the Windrush Children, including accounts from David Lammy and Lenny Henry. It is an inspiring story of pioneering migrants that encourages children to celebrate heritage, and to respect and value diverse communities.
Ages seven and up, £6.99 (hardcover) – See here
The Great Big Book of Families
The Great Big Book of Families introduces children to the fact that not all families look the same. Through vivid illustrations and words, Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith break up socio-normative concepts of the family to allow celebration of all types of households.
Ages five to eight, £8.19 (paperback) – See more here.
A is for All the Things You Are: A Joyful ABC Book
A is for All the Things You Are is an alphabet book developed by the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It introduces twenty-six personality traits aimed to foster the development of each child’s healthy racial identity (for all races), with and open heart and mind.
Ages seven and below, £8.99 (board book) – See more here
Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice
For young poetry lovers, Woke is perfect pocket inspiration for young people to be socially engaged, get informed, and stand up for themselves and others.
Some of the poems are really helpful for deconstructing complex ideas like intersectionality, in a language that children can grasp. They also chronicle key figures and moments in Black history, to instil knowledge as well as empathy.
Ages six to 11, £11.19 (hardback) – see more here
We Are The Change
We Are The Change is a visual compilation of famous wisdom-filled quotations from Eleanor Roosevelt, Maya Angelou, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr to name a few.
Curated by 16 award-winning children’s book artists and topped with an introduction by singer Harry Belafonte, this book shares a message of strength and struggle, grounded by a focus on peace, love and humanity.
Ages five and up, £14.99 (hardcover) – see more here.
More resources for kids…
Show Racism The Red Card is a leading UK charity tackling racism through education.
It can equip parents with tools, ideas and activities to work through complex social issues with children and teenagers. See more here.
Week Junior Free Digital Edition
Download the digital version of the Week Junior for free which discusses all the global recent events. See more here
Includes video of kids discussing how George Floyd has affected them
And more here
More Interesting articles on how to talk to kids about racism
More Books and Resources:
22 Books That Teach Young Kids About Diversity, Inclusion, and Equality
Films and TV
The Hate U Give Where to watch: nowtv, Amazon Prime
Selma (2014) Where to watch: youtube, googleplay, Amazon Prime
13th (2016) Where to watch: netflix
I am Not Your Negro (2017) Where to watch: youtube, googleplay, Amazon Prime
Whose Streets (2017) Where to watch: hulu, Amazon Prime, Youtube
Just Mercy (2019) Where to watch: Warner Bros have made it free to stream the film on youtube for month of June, Amazon Prime
Systemic Racism Explained by Act.TV
Ted X Talks
We need to talk about an injustice – Bryan Stevenson
The Dangers of White washing Black History – David Ikard
Let’s get to the Root of Racial Injustice – Megan Ming Francis
Instagram accounts to follow for more information on educating yourself on Anti-racism
Reads for Adults
White Fragility – Robin Diangelo
How to be an Anti-racist – Ibram X Kendi
Solitary – Albert Woodfox
Me and White Supremacy – Layla F. Saad
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations about Race – Beverley Daniel Tatum