Last week, we were reading the book "Dream Big" by Joyce Wan and my 3 year old son asked me why the bus driver was asking Rosa Parks in the book to get off the bus. I really didn't know what to say to him, other than the bus driver was "not a nice person and was judging her by the colour of her skin." I also tried to explain to him how Rosa Parks became an activist and hero following the event. I don't know how much I even should be explaining to a 3 year old. I really don't know what the right course of action here is but what I do know is that it is important that my kids see themselves and the world we live in as part of the stories.
I strongly believe that stories toys and books have the power to influence our children's minds from a very young age. If children start seeing strong protagonists in all colours, they may be less likely to form biases.
We hope that by making our books more accessible we are able to not only raise funds to donate to Black Lives Matter but also breakdown racial, religious and cultural barriers and biases that may start to form in our lives, even unknowingly.
We have also compiled a list of other books and resources if you are looking to diversify your books and toy collection and / or spark the conversation about race with your kids.
Raising Allies-to-be our favourite "incomplete guide" to spark conversations with your little ones.
Kim West, Founder of Kidsswag.ca put together a list of resources behind the idea of "Mindful Representation" - being intentional about the images and experiences your child engages in to gain a greater sense of self and an appreciation of others.
Specific books that can be purchased or bought:
Happy in Our Skin - Fran Manushkin, Lauren Tobia
Be a King - Dr. Martin Luther King by Carole Boston Weatherford and James E Ransome
Dream Big - by Joyce Wan
Last Stop on Market Street - by Matt de la Pena and Chirstina Robinson
Chocolate Milk, Por favor - Maria Dismondy, Donna Farrell
We will continue to update this list as we add to our collection.
Thank you so much for all your support,