Hi Live Oak Families,
As adults, we know that the fight against racism has been going on for years, but after the recent killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and more and the protests that followed, there has been a renewed focus on racism and the fight for racial equality. As Christians, we are called to do more than just “not offend”, we are called to be repairers of the broken and participate in God’s work of redemption in the world. Taking the time to reflect on the events in the recent weeks and praying for those who are hurting deeply right now is so important for us to do before we take these next steps.
It’s more vital than ever that we also think about how our children are responding to current events. Diving into discussions about race and racism often prompts kids to ask questions about everything that is happening in the world. Children are naturally curious and want to make sense of what is going on around them. And they deserve to know.
It can be hard to figure out where to start and how to navigate these topics, so I wanted to provide you with some tools to help. I’ve compiled a list of resources including articles, videos for kids to watch, crafts, children’s books, and more to help you have these conversations about racism. There’s no “one way” to approach these topics and each parent will have to decide for themselves what makes the most sense for them and their family. But hopefully, you are able to find support in many of these resources. What’s most important is that you have these conversations, no matter your background or experience.
I want to be here to walk alongside you and your family, so please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions or need more resources. I pray that as you begin to have these discussions with your kids, that you are able to reinforce the love that God has for them and EVERYONE no matter what.
Director of Kids Ministry
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
CNN/Sesame Street Racism Town Hall:
Provides excellent information for parents, and answers questions kids and parents might have about tackling racism. The Sesame Street characters help children understand the importance of treating EVERYONE around them with love and kindness and provide a thoughtful explanation about everything going on.
‘A Kids Book About Racism’ written by Jelani Memory:
This book is thoughtfully written and is a really accessible way for children to understand racism from the perspective of their peers. The link below is a video of the book being read aloud.
How to Talk to your Kids About Race:
An excellent video that can help parents better understand the importance of discussing race with their child. Provides wonderful ideas on how to integrate these conversations and discussions into everyday life.
How to Talk about Race with Your Kids:
This article discusses how we should view others the way God does, and how we are all made in HIS image (imago Dei). It provides a look at racism through the lens of Christianity and highlights how we, as believers, should be responding to racial injustices.
‘The Colors of Us’ written by Karen Katz:
A beautifully written and illustrated children’s book, that teaches kids that people come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Through the eyes of the little girl in this story, this book celebrates the differences and similarities that connect all people.
‘What’s the Difference? Being Different is AMAZING!’ written by Doyin Richards:
A great read for young children. This book tackles a timely subject of diversity and acceptance and distills it for even the youngest readers. This book shows kids that our differences are what make us amazing.
Talking to Children Authentically about Race and Racism:
This talk hosted by PBS features parents, educators and child development and trauma experts. It tackles and explores important questions regarding racial inequity and provides resources and tips for future conversations you can have at home with your children.
How White Parents can talk to their kids about race:
An honest conversation about how white Americans should address their privilege, and how we can open up that conversation with our kids. This article addresses potential questions children may have and provides valuable insight we can pass on to them.
‘Not my Idea: A book about Whiteness’ written by Anastasia Higginbotham:
This book is recommended for older kids. It invites white children and parents to become curious about racism, accept that it’s real, and cultivate justice. It provides examples of people throughout history who affected change and dismantled the structures of racism.
*Recommended for 4th and 5th graders
‘Something happened in our town’ written by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins and Ann Hazzard:
This book is recommended for older kids. A story in which two children-one white, one black-try to understand the killing of a black person at the hands of a white police officer. This timely story gently tackles this difficult topic and the questions that children have. It really opens up the conversation between parent and child and allows the opportunity to educate kids about how they can handle racism in their daily lives.
*Recommended for 4th and 5th graders
‘The day you Begin’ written by Jaqueline Woodson:
A book that reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes, and it’s important that we be brave and go forth anyway. This story shows us that we are all different and have different backgrounds and that’s a good thing!
‘Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History’ written by Vashti Harrison:
There are 40 stories of trailblazing black women in this book. Each section educates and inspires as it presents the true stories from each woman and the impact they made in American history. This book is excellent for giving kids a better understanding of the strides that these women made and whose actions and beliefs contributed to making the world a better place for generations to come. The first link below is a video sharing a few of the stories. I’ve also included a second link to a physical copy of the book on Amazon.
M&M Experiment- Explaining racial differences to children:
This activity is great for all ages and can be used to start valuable conversations and increase understanding about racial differences. The only thing you’ll need are M&Ms to illustrate this. It reinforces the idea that even though we all look different on the outside, on the inside we are all still the same.
Sesame Street- ‘Color of Me’ Song:
This song is a fun way of talking about all the different colors we find in the people around us, and how we can love those differences!
The Colors of Me Activity:
(Pairs w/ Sesame Street “Color of Me” song, and the book “The Colors of Us”)
A wonderful activity to discuss the differences found in all of us. Using brown and white paint, children can mix the colors until they create a shade that matches their skin tone. Then, they can mix and create all the different skin tones they see around them every day. This activity presents the opportunity to talk about racial bias, how you should treat someone with a different skin color than yours, etc.
‘Anti-Racism Starts with Me!’ A Coloring Book for Kids by Kadeesha Bryant:
Beautifully hand-drawn illustrations with messages of tolerance and togetherness to help educate and inspire children of all ages. Available on Amazon.
Holy Post: Race in America:
A great video to help older kids understand the facts behind systemic racism. This video presents lots of history and discusses issues of racial injustice. It answers questions that kids might be having during this time.