Inside: Books that Educate & Celebrate Racial Diversity
Here’s something we know to be true: Reading is a way to listen, and listening cultivates empathy.
Stepping into someone else’s shoes and experiencing what they experience from an inside-out perspective changes you. We’ve said it a hundred times, and we’ll say it again a hundred more because it’s so important:
Reading stories reaches the heart in a unique, powerful way.
We don’t have answers to heart-breaking racial injustices around the world. But we do have stories, and they can help shift a person’s perspective.
If you’re wondering where to begin, here’s a suggestion when it comes to these heart-changing life lessons through stories:
Read + Explore + Discuss
Read widely and read diverse voices. Read things that stretch your perspective and widen your experience. Also, have courage to read things that can be, at times, uncomfortable or difficult to read.
Here are stories that celebrate racial diversity and others that address tragic and historic oppression.
We recommend a diet of both: Acknowledge injustice but also celebrate successes of these lives.
Explore multiple layers. One story’s perspective on an issue won’t often look the same as another one. Challenge yourself to look deeper by exploring stories from various perspectives.
Explore what happened leading up to an issue. Explore lives of important figures surrounding an issue. Pair a story with another story and another. Exploring with intention will result in deeper empathy and understanding.
Reading helps us see in a new way. Exploring helps us see more deeply and make connections. Discussion makes it more meaningful.
Take the issues off the page with simple dialogue. Ask your children what they think about a story. Discuss possible connections to their life and current issues.
Here are a few suggestions to begin dialogue:
- What did you think of that story?
- How did the person in that story seem to feel? Would you feel that way, too?
- How did others in the story feel about the main character?
- What mistakes did people make in the story?
- What do you think of this character’s choice? What would you have done in that situation?
- Does this person’s experience remind you of anyone else’s?
- Do you have any questions about the story?
We hope these ideas and suggestions help you create a culture of empathy and communication in your home.
We hope they help you connect with your child as you read, explore, and discuss powerful and heart-changing stories!