Thoughts on Ferguson and Recommended Resources

The following is a note from our Publisher, Jason Low, published in this month’s e-newsletter:

image from BirdIt’s been a hard few weeks for those of us following the news out of Ferguson, Missouri. While the exact details of Michael Brown’s death remain unknown, we can already see how this latest incident fits into a larger narrative in this country in which people of color are routinely discriminated against and subject to violence based on the color of their skin. Healing and change cannot begin until we as a country acknowledge the role racism plays not just in events like Michael Brown’s death, but in the everyday lived experiences of the 37% of America that is not white.

From a distance, it can seem like our book-filled corner of the world doesn’t have much to do with Michael Brown’s death, but we know better. The need for more diverse books and better representation is urgent. Poor representation doesn’t just damage self-esteem and confidence of children of color, it also perpetuates a skewed version of society as a whole. How can true equality ever exist if we are literally not even on the same page? Promoting diverse books is about creating a safer space for all children.

There are no easy ways to teach children about what’s happening in Ferguson, but here are couple links we’ve come across that help illuminate the issues and, perhaps, let us find teachable moments:

The Murder of Sean Bell: From Pain to Poetry

What did you tell your kids after the Zimmerman Verdict?

5 Books to Instill Confidence in African American Children

A Dream Conferred: Seven Ways to Explore Race in the Classroom

10 Resources for Teaching About Racism

America’s Racial Divide, Charted

The Case for Reparations

Stark Racial Divisions in Reactions to Ferguson Police Shooting

We’ll add more links as we find them; meanwhile, please do share your favorites in the comments.

6 thoughts on “Thoughts on Ferguson and Recommended Resources”

  1. Reblogged this on Vamos a Leer and commented:
    Lee & Low shared this post today with thoughts on what’s going on in Ferguson and how we can teach about it in our classroom, and I wanted to share it with our Vamos a Leer readers. I especially appreciated the following quote from publisher Jason Low: “From a distance, it can seem like our book-filled corner of the world doesn’t have much to do with Michael Brown’s death, but we know better. The need for more diverse books and better representation is urgent. Poor representation doesn’t just damage self-esteem and confidence of children of color, it also perpetuates a skewed version of society as a whole. How can true equality ever exist if we are literally not even on the same page? Promoting diverse books is about creating a safer space for all children.”
    I hope you’ll read the entire post and check out the resources for teaching about such a difficult subject.

  2. Reblogged this on AlvaradoFrazier and commented:
    “People know about the Klan and the overt racism, but the killing of one’s soul little by little, day after day, is a lot worse than someone coming in your house and lynching you” Samuel L. Jackson
    Jackson’s statement succinctly states how racism affects people. Imagine how these feels, being bombarded with these messages from toddlerhood to adult.
    We need to counteract these feelings at every level. Quality books representing diverse characters is one of the ways we can counteract racism, along with a myriad of other methods.

    Jason Low, of Lee and Low Books, gave some valuable resources, to discuss and think about.

  3. Thanks, Mona. I’ve also experienced terrible, hateful remarks from ignorant INS officials who were angry because I forgot the date I was naturalized when they entered the Greyhound bus I was riding back to California after visiting family in Mexicali. They shone a flashlight in my face and I got nervous. I said, “I can tell you the day I graduated from college with honors and the date I became a teacher.” “I don’t care about that!” He yelled, “your date of naturalization is more important than your BIRTHDAY!” I gave him an approximate date and continued providing him with more info as I remembered and wept for the woman and children who were thrown off the bus in the night…This scene is the basis for the bus scene in my book, My Diary from Here to There/Mi diario de aquí hasta allá (Children’s Book Press, imprint of Lee & Low 2002) which is still available from leeandlow.com. This is the reason why I write books for multicultural understanding!

  4. Thank you for this post. I agree with the comment made by Katrina. I believe with the diversity of books there need to be a discussion about racism. People tend to not want to openly talk about it. Racism is taught and is more prevalent in the school system due to the untold truth of black history…it goes beyond one month of civil rights and slavery. However, writing is an expression and is one way of connecting with the world. http://www.omeraproductions.com

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