During these momentous times of conflict and protest we are currently in, one suggestion that I’ve seen on a variety of platforms, and even given myself, is to arm ourselves (and our children) with knowledge through books. I’ve seen great lists of books everywhere, from engaging picture books to powerful YA novels and everything in between. And while this is a great first step, the conversations with young people around the books can be just as influential as the books themselves.
I realize at times it can be difficult to have some of these conversations, and that there are times we can “get away” with not talking if the kids don’t ask any questions–trust me, I’ve been guilty of doing that myself. However, you also don’t want your child to walk away with the wrong impression or understanding, so having those talks are important. You don’t have to be armed with a whole set of questions, but just a simple, “What are you thinking?” or “Do you have any questions?” can get it started. I know my kids tend to see things in black and white, so I’ve had to clarify things they’ve seen on TV, and the same would apply with books.
Even with your older kids, who may be reading books independently that deal with sensitive issues, don’t forget to check in with them and see if they have any questions or thoughts about what they’re reading that they want to talk about.
Using books to help #RaisingReaders who understand the importance of equity and become anti-racist is a great step, but don’t forget to have those important conversations!