Jun 15, 2020 2020-06-15
As protests against racial injustice and police brutality have spread across the United States and around the world, students, teachers, parents, and many others are looking for a deeper understanding about racism and what they can do about it. Many of those inquiring minds are turning to books. Brittany Smith, a prekindergarten teacher in New Jersey, has tweeted a list of children’s books that explore race and racism in the hope that fellow educators, families, and elected leaders will see “the importance of representation and promoting diversity in school.” Smith recommends books about civil rights leaders, including Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford; and Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters by Andrea Davis Pinkney. She also suggests stories about growing up Black in America—for example, The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson—and books to teach empathy, such as Chocolate Milk, Por Favor: Celebrating Diversity with Empathy by Maria Dismondy. Smith’s reading list also features portraits in bravery, including Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh. As of June 1, Smith’s thread had attracted more than 410,000 likes and 210,000 retweets.