I still wish I had not turned the radio on that day. As more white people actively seek to unlearn racism and dismantle its structures, all need support to deepen their understanding of what whiteness is and what it does to shape a worldview. I think that time was long ago. The child on the right is black and doing the same. Shouldn't we help our children to understand what is happening and why when they see or hear bad things? The images here appear in front of what looks like brown paper bags.
And lest you pooh-pooh her style, I have to say that as an artist, Higginbotham is very good at letting images speak louder than words when the time is right. She has taken on divorce, sex and death in the past. This book is about whiteness think white supremacy , fairness, resistance, and justice. She has a great deal of respect for the intelligence of children and their ability to understand difficult subjects. Put simply, the woman makes difficult subjects accessible to young readers.
In a way, it almost feels like her previous books were working up to this one all along. There is a lot going on and it will bring up a lot of thoughts, feelings and discussions. Higginbotham does not shy away from the realities of racism in our society today and she treats children as intelligent and aware beings, capable of making their choices. Look, this book is not the only picture book out there to mention police shootings. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. If it has something to do with children's literature, it will rate a mention here.
It really presents things as an issue of fairness which I think is a great way to explain it to kids since they tend to be so obsessed with it think of fighting over bigger slices of pizza, for example. It says right off the bat that skin color makes a difference in how you see the world and how the world sees you. The author also pays homage to heroes of the past that have disrupted white supremacy. Guess where the guard's eyes travel. That last pile is small, and notable for what it does not say. So as the white child goes through some rudimentary actions in a typical day, the book is constantly highlighting those moments when whiteness is at work. It kept feeling like it would get close to making a great point about what racism is or describing some situation so a child would understand it, but then the implied news story or incident would fall flat because of lack of explanation.
Not all will be pleasant to feel or to hear. Photographs make a regular appearance, many of them seemingly taken from the streets of Brooklyn today. Higginbotham is a white author who took Morrison seriously. I get that its a picture book and pages are limited but it's still frustrating. This is not a perfect book, but it's so necessary.
It discusses issues and microaggressions I've had to explain over and over to people who don't face racial discrimination every time they leave the house. This book's heart is in the right place, and after reading many of the other reviews here I believe that children will find this a useful resource for investigating whiteness and white supremacy despite its drawbacks. In one two-page spread a security guard in a store stands between two children. Disclosure - the publisher Dottir Press sent me a free copy of this book for the purposes of review with my online community. What you will be given is a pile of books that are metaphors, a bunch that discuss historical inequities, and maybe a couple that want to talk about race today. Higginbotham writes books about difficult subjects for children.
With so many unarmed African American boys and men being shot and killed and black athletes being blacklisted and condemned for trying to bring it to the nation's attention, this is a topic that needs to be discussed and talked about more and this does in a respectful manner I don't know that I would necessarily describe this as a good book, but it is definitely a needed one in these times. Their focus is not about why these things happen but rather how we can make our children feel safe in a dangerous world. It certainly was a good reminder for me. Ask for the books on equity and racism for kids. In any case, as with many things my husband and I found that to explain anything about the shootings we had to go into a deep dive about systematic racist, the systems in place, and whiteness.
At the end of the book you get information about what you can do, done in the style of those Activity pages you'd normally find in the back of more innocuous books. Join Charis in welcoming author and illustrator Anastasia Higginbotham to talk about her newest book, Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness, in her Ordinary Terrible Things series for children. The mixed media art style certainly kept my attention and I think the middle school students will also enjoy pouring over these pages filled with various textures layered on a brown parchment background. The images here appear in front of what looks like brown paper bags. I think Betsy Bird's goodreads review said everything I'd want to say about this book.
A strong primer on being white in America, examining our privilege and getting involved in tackling racism in our communities. Also, I love her art style. Higginbotham could write about fluffy bunnies frolicking in vast vats of marshmallow fluff and still be as scintillating and on point as she is here because as a writer she treats her readers with a level of respect that feels unique. It has a weird split in the middle where it transitions from the story about a young white girl who feels a little icky about what people don't talk about and how people passively judge others to the action items. And I think that there are a lot of white parents out there these days that, like me, want to do the right thing. Telling the truth to kids who can handle it and need to hear it. Features everything from librarian previews of upcoming children's books to news, reviews, and videos.
It tries to deal honestly, in a child accessible manner, with racism, white privilege and white supremacy. Very little makes sense anymore. Tell your kids about these things and start thinking about what it's like for people who look different than you do! Still, whatever awkwardness exists in the construction of this conversation, again, it is a necessary add as there's not a lot else that handles the issue of tacit white supremacy and privilege so directly for this audience group. I honestly wondered for a minute there if it was appropriate to read that to my kid. I think there was a time when I would have been surprised by that statement. And the parent I was speaking to clearly agreed since he had to physically restrain himself from snatching the book from me and barreling for the nearest exit.