In this post, Tu Books Publisher Stacy Whitman discusses why avoiding discussions of race with young people can do more harm than good.
Many African American parents already know what “the talk” is. It’s not the talk that many white parents might expect—we’re not talking about the birds and the bees. No, this “talk” is the one where black parents have to sit with their children and discuss how they might be perceived by the world around them: particularly police, but also teachers, neighbors, and friends who are not from their racial background.
Though the burden often falls on parents of color alone to discuss these issues with their children, in reality all parents should address race with their kids in a conscious and meaningful way. Communities are also seeking ways to address interpersonal racial issues,
particularly in schools. Having the tools to know how to discuss racial matters is essential for children from all backgrounds. Continue reading →
It is a proven fact that reading benefits children of all ages. Hand-eye coordination is improved, vital language and social skills are developed, and lives are enriched all through reading a book.
But, how do you get children interested in reading? Let us discuss this topic for specific age groups.
Babies and Toddlers
Introducing books at a young age is a great way to start the reading trend. Books will teach colors, letters of the alphabet, counting, shapes, and more. Children as young as 1 or 2 years old will begin to recognize letters or numbers and point out their favorite colorful illustrations.
A great way to get them involved is to read to them from the first day they are born. Babies and toddlers are reliant on their parents or caretakers to teach them. They are like a little sponge absorbing the words, the colors, and the process of reading a book. So, make it a routine that your kids will enjoy. Snuggle up and read a book before naptime or after dinner to wind them down each night. The consistency will make reading something that they look forward to.
The 1989 film Parenthood has inspired a TV show of the same name. I haven’t seen the show yet, but I have noticed some snappy ads on the streets. One sidewalk ad features the line, “Realizing you’ve become your father”—funny and true.
I read some online reviews of the show and one person commented that it was both funny and heart-wrenching. As the father of two boys, ages 9 and 6, that makes sense to me. When you become a parent you often get together with other parents to commiserate as you face different issues concerning your kids. It is always interesting when I meet parents who have kids who are older than mine, because I am curious as to what developmental issues lurk just around the corner.
With Mother’s Day coming up next month, we’ve been thinking about mothers in books. There are plenty of mothers in picture books, but they are rarely involved in children’s novels; I remember reading an essay by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (sadly, I can’t find it online—it was in the March 2009 Horn Book Magazine) in which she argued that mothers are just too protective and too likely to take over, denying the kids their adventures. There’s a crossover novel, Boneshaker, in which a teenage boy goes into a zombie-infested city to discover the truth about his father and grandmother. His mother goes in after him. It’s really her book. To have their own books, children often are orphaned, or go to boarding school, or run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.