Our faculty and families of color spend every day talking to their children about what life is like being a person of color and the things they need to do to protect themselves. Do you want to talk to your young child about issues of social justice, but don’t know how? You’re not alone—most adults find topics like race, gender, and class difficult to talk about with children. But if we don’t find ways to talk about it, children will learn whatever they can glean from unspoken messages, and that doesn’t often work out very well. The faculty at Hilltop is always available to help you find strategies.
Tips and Approaches
- 7 Things to Do When Your Kid Points Out Someone’s Differences, by Rachel Garlinghouse.
- Talking With Children About Racism, Police Brutality and Protests, by Laura Markham.
- 6 Things White Parents Can Do to Raise Racially Conscious Children, by Bree Ervin.
- How to Talk to Little Girls, by Lisa Bloom.
- Mama, Ella Has A Penis! How To Talk To Your Children About Gender Identity, by Marlo Mack.
Information and Perspectives
- My son has been suspended five times. He’s 3. by Tunette Powell.
- Speaking “Mexican” and the use of “Mock Spanish” in Children’s Books, or, Do Not Read Skippyjon Jones, by D. Ines Casillas.
- When My 8-Year-Old Gay Son Taught His Class About Harvey Milk, by “Amelia.”
- It’s Not Just About Delaying Gratification, by Geek Feminism. (Also see To Predict Success in Children, Look Beyond Willpower, by Simon Makin.)
- It’s Okay to Be Neither, by Melissa Bollow Tempel.
- My Son Wears Dresses; Get Over It, by Matt Duron.
Here are one sentence answers you can use to talk to your children about historical and influential change makers, plus suggestions for children’s books about each of them.
- Rosa Parks is famous for refusing to obey a law that said people with dark skin could only sit at the back when they rode the bus, and for helping to change unfair laws like that one. More reading: Rosa, by Nikki Giovanni, illustrated by Bryan Collier.
- Fannie Lou Hamer worked to make sure black people would have the same right to vote as white people, even when people tried to scare her and hurt her. More reading: Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Ekua Holmes.
- For a long time, an unfair law said that children with different color skin couldn’t go to school together; Ruby Bridges was the first black child to go to a school with white children when the law changed. More reading: The Story of Ruby Bridges, by Robert Coles, Illustrated by George Ford; Ruby Bridges Goes to School, by Ruby Bridges.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. was a leader in the civil rights movement, who helped thousands of people come together to say that people should be treated fairly, no matter their skin color. More reading: Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King, Jr., by Jean Marzollo, illustrated by J. Brian Pinkney.