We're delighted and honoured to be able to share a list of anti-racist kids books compiled by the inimitable Pragya Agarwal, author of Sway, Wish We Knew What to Say and (M)otherhood. The list was first published by Pragya on Instagram & we've added in a few Lighthouse favourites. Here she explains what children's books still lack in meaningful representation:
"WWKWTS is a book that shows the science of how children form a sense of racial difference and stereotypes from a very young age. We all now know the value of exposing them to diverse books and media. I believe that even as we are lacking in books that show diverse representations this is getting much better slowly and gradually. But from a thorough examination of many of these books for children, what I find disappointing is how many of these perpetuate stereotypes of people of colour.
Just having a black or brown face in a book is not enough. I believe that a book has to also actively address stereotypes and shatter them. Children need to also see that as we celebrate differences people are not necessarily defined by them. We can be different and we can be same and equal. Not everyone who comes from India wears a sari or celebrates Diwali. Not everyone with a certain background has a specific lifestyle. In Wish We Knew What to Say I have added a LONG list of resources- books and media- for both children and adults. Most, if not all, of these books have been tested with my own children and I have included specifically those that address and shatter stereotypes. These are just a few from that list aimed at younger children upto 5 or 6 years of age. Hope these are useful."
On Feb 10th, Pragya will be chairing our launch of Layla F. Saad's Me and White Supremacy (YA Edition). We're currently running a crowdfunder campaign to get a copy of Layla's new book into every Scottish high school. Find out more here!