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Race and Parenting




“See Baby Discriminate”, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, Published Sep 5, 2009 from the Newsweek issue dated Sep 14, 2009

“Teaching Young Children to Resist Bias: What Parents Can Do,” Louise Derman-Sparks, María Gutiérrez, Carol Brunson Phillips, National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1999

“Young Children and Racism” , The Adoption Foundation


Books for Children and Youth


Books for Young Children (Ages 3 – 8 )

Aunt Flosie’s Hats (and Crab Cakes for later) Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard, Sandpiper, 1995 Publisher’s Weekly called this picture book “an affecting portrait of a black American family,” also praising Ransome’s “elegant, expressive” oil paintings.

The Train to Lulu’s Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard, Aladdin, 2007 Two sisters travel by themselves from Boston to Baltimore.

Dumpling Soup Jama Kim Rattigan, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 1998 Set in the Hawaiian islands this story celebrates the joyful mix of food, customs, and languages from many cultures.

Who’s in a Family Robert Skutch , Tricycle Press, 1997 Beginning with a traditional nuclear family and ending with blank spaces in which the child reader is instructed to “draw a picture of your family,” this slight book catalogues multicultural contemporary family units.

Bon Odori Dancer Karen Kawaamoto McCoy and Carolina Yao, Polychrome Pub Corp, 1998 Keiko wanted to perform the traditional Japanese dances at the Obon festival but learning the dances is harder than she thought. This is a warm and funny story about patience, perseverance, and teamwork.

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Doreen Rappaport, Hyperion Book CH, 2007 This picture-book biography is an excellent and accessible introduction for young readers to learn about one of the world’s most influential leaders

Big Box – Jump at the Sun Toni Morrison, Hyperion Books for Children, 1999 Parents, neighbors, and teachers are uncomfortable with these irrepressible children, and hope to control them with strict boundaries. Meanwhile, the younger-yet-wiser children just want the freedom to become themselves.

Feast for Ten Cathryn Falwell, Clarion Books, 1993 In this rhyming counting book, an African-American mother and her children shop for and prepare a festive family dinner.

Bridget “Biddy” Mason: A Walking Sensation DWe Williams and Loretta Ford, DWELo Enterprises, LLC, 2006 Biddy Mason was born into enslavement in 1818 Mississippi. Biddy’s enslavers move to California taking Biddy and her girls along. An excellent vehicle for introducing African-American history to our youngest children

Jonathan and His Mommy Irene Smalls, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 1994 As a mother and son explore their neighborhood, they try various ways of walking–from giant steps and reggae steps to criss cross steps and backwards steps.

Fire! Fuego! Brave Bomberos Susan Middleton Elya, Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 2012 A race to save a burning casa from the roaring flames-and these bomberos are up to the task, with hoses ready and sirens blaring. Spanish words sprinkled throughout the lively text-plus a glossary at the end will enrich young readers as they cheer for the firefighters to save the day.

My Parts Equal Me Beverly C. Heath and John Floyd Jr., OurRainbow Press, 2005 Eyes, nose, mouth, hands, legs, and feet… are all presented in rhyme and pictures to help a child identify and learn their basic body parts.

Fly Away Home Eve Bunting, Sandpiper, 1993 Intense look at the plight of the homeless–this tale of a boy and his father living in a busy airport is all the more disturbing for its lack of a pat resolution.

Ruth and the Green Book, Calvin Ramsey and Gwen Strauss, Carolrhoda Books, 2010 Tells the historically based story of how African American travelers in the USA avoided persecution, prejudice and danger by following advice about recommended service stations, restaurants, and places to stay called “The Negro Motorist Green Book.”

Summer Sun Risin’, By W. Nikola-Lisa, Illustrated by Don Tate, Lee and Low Books, 2005, Set on a Texas farm in the 1950s and told in Nikola-Lisa’s distinctive and catchy style, this tribute to childhood, farm life, and family togetherness will resonate with readers of all backgrounds today. The story also subtly introduces young readers to the subject of African American farmers.

 It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw  By Don Tate, Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, Lee and Low Books, 2012 It Jes’ Happened is a biography of outsider artist Bill Traylor, a former enslaved person who at the age of 83 began to draw pictures based on his memories and observations of rural and urban life. Tate imagines the wellspring of memories that might have contributed to Traylor’s outpouring of art so late in life . . . in this thoughtful reflection on the nature of creative inspiration and a man who “has come to be regarded as one of the most important self-taught American folk artists.”

Books for Pre-teens (Ages 9 – 12)

The Thing About Luck,  Cynthia Kadohata, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2013 There is bad luck, good luck, and making your own luck—which is exactly what Summer must do to save her family.

Juneteenth Jamboree, By Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Yvonne Buchanan, Lee and Low Books, 2007 With text and illustrations as warm as a summer day, author Carole Boston Weatherford and artist Yvonne Buchanan bring the African American emancipation celebration of Juneteenth to life for children.

Eighth-Grade Superzero By Olugbemisola Rhuday Perkovich, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2010, In this terrific debut, a Brooklyn middle-schooler finds the superhero within himself thanks to old friends, new dreams, and a pair of magical “Dora the Explorer” sneakers. Ever since a deeply unfortunate incident earlier this year, Reggie’s been known as “Pukey” McKnight at his high-intensity Brooklyn middle school. He wants to turn his image around, but he has other things on his mind as well:  his father, who’s out of a job; his best friends, Ruthie and Joe C.; his former best friend Donovan, who’s now become a jerk; and of course, the beautiful Mialonie. Then Reggie gets involved with a local homeless shelter, the Olive  Branch. Haunted by two of the clients there–George, a once-proud man  now living on the streets, and Charlie, a six-year-old kid who becomes  his official “Little Buddy”–he begins to think about making a  difference, both in the world and at school.

Books for Teens

Drown Junot Díaz, Riverhead Trade; First Edition Thus edition, 1997 This book of short stories (by 2008′s Pulitzer Prize winner) is told from the perspective of Dominican adolescents struggling with family, sexuality, and identity. The lyrical, inventive prose makes their stories all the more memorable.

American Born Chinese Gene Luen Yang,Square Fish; Reprint edition, 2008 This novel tells that age-old story of trying to accept who you are. Taking up Asian-American themes, Yang breaks new ground.

Beyond the So-Called First Thanksgiving: 5 Children’s Books That Set the Record  Straight

By Native Authors and Educational for all ages

The People Shall Continue Simon Ortiz, Children’s Book Press, 1977 The starting point for this picture-book poem, illustrated by Sharol Graves,  is not 1492, nor is it 1621. The story begins the moment that “all things came  to be,” when “the People were born.” This provides an immediate departure from  the typical re-telling of creation stories by non-Native writers, who tend to  cast our stories in a romantic and mystical realm.


Muskrat Will Be Swimming Cheryl Savageau, Tilbury  House Publishers, 1996 Set in the present day, this book is about a young girl being taunted by  schoolmates. Her grandfather helps her cope with bullying by telling her their  Skywoman story, which is part of the creation story of the Haudenonsaunee.

First Americans Series Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, First Americans Books, various years This picture-book nonfiction series consists of eight books profiling the Apache, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Hopi, Iroquois, Seminole and Sioux. Each one begins with a creation story and concludes with present-day information about each tribe and its people. In each, Sneve provides information about leaders, past and present.

Indian Shoes Cynthia Leitich Smith, HarperCollins, 2002 This easy-reader chapter book is about Ray Halfmoon, a Seminole-Cherokee boy, and his grandfather, who live in present-day Chicago. Indian Shoes is  one of six stories in the book. Sprinkled with humor and warmth, each story is  rich with details about Native life. Being set in Chicago, it makes clear that  Native people are part of today’s America, and that some of us—be it by choice  or other circumstances—live away from our homelands.

The Birchbark House Louise Erdrich, Hyperion Books for Children, 1999 Another chapter book, this one about the Ojibwe people and their early encounters with whites who were moving into their homelands. An award-winning book, it launched a series that now has four books in it: Game of Silence (2005), Porcupine Year (2008), and Chickadee (2013). A fifth book, not yet published, is titled Makoons.



How to Tell the Difference: A Guide to Evaluating Children’s Books for Anti-Indian Bias

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