Resources for Talking to Your Child about Diversity, Race, and Racism

It can be a scary time to turn on the news, and an even scarier time to talk to an impressionable child about what they are seeing and hearing about the world around them. But that means that it can also be a critical time to have an open, honest conversation with your child – a conversation that could help to shape the person that they grow up to become.

I became a librarian because I believe that stories are powerful. They can open doors and change mindsets and create deep connections with ease. I also believe that books are a safe, low-pressure, and constructive way to explore difficult issues and open an honest dialogue between parent or guardian and child. You can use stories as a starting point for questions, to help your child to stand in someone else’s shoes and look at the world a little differently, or to plant a seed that may grow in a way that you’d  never expect. No matter the outcome, a well-chosen story at a critical time can have a huge impact on a child’s life.

Current events may have your child asking difficult questions about the subjects of diversity, race, and racism. In the article Resources for Talking to Kids About Race and Racism, Huffington Post writer Kristen Howerton says, “I really believe that children are never too young to start learning about racial difference and the importance of fighting prejudice.” She then provides a list of excellent texts, appropriate for kids ages 2 and up, to open the subject in your own family. Follow the link below to view her slideshow of resources for talking to your child about race and racism.

Screenshot from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristen-howerton/talking-to-kids-race-racism-books_b_2618305.html
Screenshot from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristen-howerton/talking-to-kids-race-racism-books_b_2618305.html

Resources for Talking to Kids About Race and Racism, by Kristen Howerton

This list spoke to me personally, but there are countless lists and articles available to provide resources and ideas for talking to your child about difficult subjects like diversity and race. Here are a few other suggestions:

Mutlicultural Kid Blogs: 25 Resources for Teaching Kids about Diversity 

RespectDiversity.org’s Books for Children and Youth

HumaneEducation.org’s 14 Children’s Picture Books Exploring Race and Racism

Although our school library’s circulation for the year will be coming to a close in the next few weeks, you can find these titles and more  like them (along with friendly faces, great advice, and a cozy reading environment) at The Jefferson Madison Regional Library.

Literature can be a wonderful tool to tackle tough subjects and bring your family closer together. It’s never too early – or too late – to talk to your child about compassion, tolerance, and respect.

Please contact me with any questions, requests, or ideas for future resource lists. I’d love to help you find the perfect book for your family. You can reach me via email at messhas1@charlottesvilleschools.org or over the phone at (434) 245-2417 ext 2854.

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