Using Stories in the Discussion of Race


Dr. Vicki Chiang

Embracing all aspects of our identity is a great practice for kids and adults alike. It helps facilitate self-confidence, self-understanding, as well as compassion for difference and diversity.  Parents often ask about ways they can talk with their children about race – their own and others. This can be especially complex when many parents have been taught that it is best to not identify race or difference in others, that this “colorblindness” can help promote inclusion. Current research shows, however, that this is an erroneous assumption.  Matter of fact and compassionate conversations about race and difference help create greater understanding. These conversations can take place at all stages of development – and books are a great way to promote conversations. There are many fun, colorful, accessible and joyful books for kids out there to help you start your family’s conversation about race and ethnic identity. Plus, story time is a great opportunity to connect with our kids about any topic. Here are some recommendations from Institute staff to get you started:

I like myself! – Karen Beaumont

The Name Jar – Yangsook Choi

Last stop on market Street – Matt de la Pena

Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story  Reem Faruqi

Whoever You Are – Mem Fox

The Color of Us – Karen Katz

You may also be interested in this article in Brightly about using books to facilitate conversations about race.

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