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Antiracism Lessons for Young Readers in Unique Picture Book

Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

Unique Picture Book With Great Lessons for Teaching Young Children to Value ALL People

unique lessons to be learned

unique lessons to be learned

Do You Teach Racism or How to Be Antiracist?

Parents and teachers always have the opportunity to teach a variety of social skills. Are you teaching racism or the importance of being inclusive? Ibram X. Kendi's Antiracist Baby is a unique picture book for the youngest readers at home and in classrooms to learn how to be inclusive of all people who they encounter in their neighborhoods and school classrooms. Kendi's opens his story/picture book with the idea that our children are taught racism. They are not born to be racists. Some parents are unfortunately guilty of inadvertantly teachiing racism. They may not actually be aware that they are doing this. The text of the story continues with ideas for young children to learn to value all people of all colors. He invites young readers to see all of the colors of people around them. He also invites young children to use their words to talk about race.

The story continues with the idea that we should value our differences. Parents and teachers are very aware that young children can be extremely critical of friends or acquaintances. Young children can learn to value differences and learn that no one is better or worse than every one else. All people and their cultures are valuable to our world. A quote from this picture book says a great deal: "Confess when you are being racist." Parents and teachers can be racist in their own minds and inadvertantly convey their racism to their young children.

Ashley Lukashevsky contributed her talents as an illustrator to this unique picture book. The illustrations are done with bright colors and each illustration fills the page with people of all colors. Play scenes that young children will be familiar with are featured in many of the illustrations. The text is written in short, clear words.

Kendi includes a well-written letter to Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers at the end of the story. The letter is composed with great ideas for starting a discussion about racism with your young child.

Antiracist Baby is recommended for ages 4-8. It was published by an imprint company of Penguin/Random House. It has an ISBN of 978-0-593-11050-8.

Colorful and Fun Illustrations Add Interest to the Story


Creative Ideas for Teaching Young Children That All People Are Valuable

I had the opportunity many times as a teacher to teach young children in my classroom to value all people. I was one of only a few white teachers in several public schools when I taught many years ago. Most of the young children in my classrooms through those years were African-American children. I also had the privilege of teaching Asian children for six years. The concept of racism was not a huge problem in my classrooms, but the ideas did come up from time to time. I always had the feeling that my children did not really see color. They never really considered me to be THE WHITE TEACHER.

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I agree with Kendi's idea that young children are taught to be racist. They are not born to be racists.

There is a wealth of ideas at the end of his book to teach young children that people of all colors are valuable to our world.

*He makes the point that children will mostly consider white people to be in some careers. Collect a variety of children's books and materials that feature people of all races in careers such as astronauts, farmers, and teachers.

*Ask your children to describe the people who they encounter in their neighborhoods and school classrooms.

*Have honest discussions with children about the news they see when some people are not treated equally. Young children are very aware of the events in our society that happen when some people are not treated equally. We cannot really protect our children from the news that we have been seeing almost daily in the past few years.

*He suggests that parents and teachers should share their experiences with racism.

More Ideas to Introduce Young Children to People of All Colors

I often used art materials in my classroom to teach my young students about the variety of colors of people in our world.

*Provide crayons and markers that are available in skin colors for children to draw people with different skin colors.

*Construction paper and art paper is also available in a variety of skin colors. Provide this paper for children to create art projects that remind them that people of all colors are valuable.

*Invite your children to draw their hands on the color of paper that represents their skin color. Create a wreath of handprints of all skin colors that represents everyone in our world.

© 2021 Cindy Hewitt

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