PICTURE BOOK READING GUIDE
GUIDED ANTI-BIAS/ANTI-RACIST READING | GRADES 3+
This lesson is a guided reading experience designed to accompany Ibram X. Kendi’s Antiracist Baby. We recommend that grownups take some time to read this book before reading with young readers. This book has a lot of big words and concepts that might be new and hard to explain. Lesson content was written by Liberty Harbour Swallow and Sydney Frank as part of their work in the Social Justice in K12 Education course at Portland State University and was designed to start or deepen anti-bias conversations in families and other learning communities.
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Identity, Bias, Diversity, Justice
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SUMMARY + PERSONAL NOTES
This book gives a series of nine steps to use when raising your own “Antiracist Baby,” along with visual examples that help to explain the recommended steps. Some of these steps are learning about skin color, how to talk about race, thinking about policies, celebrating differences, identifying our own racism, and hope. These steps are directly targeting racial questions with your child and addressing personal biases. They include both identifying unfairness and appreciating differences.
LIBERTY’S PERSONAL NOTE
This book touches on a lot of big conversations. For young readers, it provides an opportunity to begin those conversations and start to learn the vocabulary necessary to have them. For older readers and adults, the challenges of each of the nine steps in this book are part of the continual process of anti-racist work. I think one of the strengths of this book is that it touches on how we can all repeat racist ideas when we don't know better. Step 7, “Confess when being racist,” in particular, challenges us to do the individual work and hold ourselves accountable. This touches on the idea that racist is an adjective, not a noun, and is not an immutable part of who any person is, but a description of behavior. This sets the expectation that we can and should work to be better.
SYDNEY’S PERSONAL NOTE
Antiracist Baby removes barriers to having the deep and often difficult conversations about race with children. For adults and older readers, it gives them an opportunity to present the topics of race and racism to children while also allowing them to reflect on themselves in the process, something that should be repeated often in the process of becoming antiracist. For children and younger readers, the book gives them the vocabulary and the starting point to think about the topic and allows them the space to explore what it means to them and how they will grow into antiracist people in the future. As someone who is biracial and grew up in a period when it was normal to “not see color,” I think this book really celebrates the differences in people and teaches children that it is okay to see color and that respecting different races and cultures should be the ideal.
HOW WE CREATE OUR DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
This guided reading lesson is designed to be part of a larger life-long commitment to anti-racist reading and learning for the student and the facilitator. Reading Is Resistance sees reading as an opportunity to seed deeper conversations and opportunities for action around racial equity in our communities. We hold the belief that being anti-racist is a process of learning (and unlearning) over time.
The Learning for Justice Social Justice Standards (focused on Identity, Diversity, Justice, and Action) serve as guides for our work.
LEARNING FOR JUSTICE STANDARDS REFERENCED
The Learning for Justice Domains and Standards referenced in this lesson are for Grades 3-5. This book, however, can be used with a wide range of ages. Domains and Standards featured in this lesson are as follows:
IDENTITY.3-5.5: I see that the way my family and I do things is both the same as and different from how other people do things, and I am interested in both.
DIVERSITY.3-5.6: I like knowing people who are like me and different from me, and I treat each person with respect.
DIVERSITY.3-5.7: I have accurate , respectful words to describe how I am similar to and different from people who share my identities and those who have other identities.
JUSTICE.3-5.12: I know when people are treated unfairly, and I can give examples of prejudice words, pictures, and rules.
JUSTICE.3-5.14: I know that life is easier for some people and harder for others based on who they are and where they were born.
Do you notice when people have different skin colors than you? What is your race called? What are examples of other races that you know? DIVERSITY.3-5.7
What does racism mean to you? JUSTICE.3-5.12
What is equity? How is it similar or different to equality? JUSTICE.3-5.12
What are some ways you’ve seen unfair treatment? Why was it unfair? JUSTICE.3-5.12
What does it mean that policies are the problem, not people? What are policies? JUSTICE.3-5.14
What are some policies that you think cause problems? At school? In general? JUSTICE.3-5.14
Who are some people that are similar to you? Different from you? DIVERSITY.3-5.6
What are some ways other people do things differently than you and your family? Think about holidays, clothing, and words. DIVERSITY.3-5.6
What does it mean to be an Antiracist baby? JUSTICE.3-5.12
ACTIVITIES & RESOURCES
Create a list of policies together and talk about why they might be “good” or “bad.” Policies could be from school, locally, or nationally. Discuss why the policies were created and if they are working the way they should.
Talk about what racism is and how we can be anti racist. Here is an article listing some anti-racist activities for kids.
A Kids Book About Racism by Jeloni Memory
What If We Were All The Same! by C.M. Harris
I Am Human by Susan Verde