Can Children’s Books Change How We Treat One Another?

Hello beautiful people!

Happy Fall! Last Wednesday was my birthday and the first official day of autumn.  I decided to spend some time at the High Museum of Art. I will be posting a YouTube video about it soon. 

Can Children’s Books Change How We View the World?

The newest exhibition is titled Picture The Dream: The Story of Civil Rights Movement Through Children’s Books. This exhibition featured a video with Dr. Martin Luther King’s granddaughter and other children discussing, what it means to be accepted and how racially inclusive books can spark positive conversations.

I enjoyed seeing a few mask clad moms and their children milling about the exhibition. I overheard them telling their children that some people were treated badly because of the color of their skin. That some people were not given the same opportunities which is completely wrong and unfair. Some of the kids responded that they were sad for the kids that were treated differently and wanted to know what they could do to help? This made me think about the aggressor’s, victims and bystanders unit we did from 3rd grade to 8th grade. Every year we would spend an hour a week writing and discussing various scenarios and how to handle it. 

We discussed how watching someone being bullied and not intervening was just as bad as bullying. Once I took AP Psych and learned about Kitty Genovese all I thought about was how many bystanders allowed this 28-year-old woman to die. No one tried to help her by intervening in her stabbing, no one called the cops while she screamed. Everyone just ignored her and assumed someone else would call the cops. Everyone assumed that her suffering was someone else’s problem. This the point of the Black Lives Matter Movement, by assuming racisms is not your problem and someone else will fix you are part of the problem. 

I loved the illustrations they chose to blow up on the wall like this one with children of all ethnicities. The impact of seeing so many beautiful faces staring about at you was breathtaking. The world is full of so many different, people, experiences and personalities that this wall was a beautiful reminder of how our difference make us multidimensional. 

One piece that impacted me the most was Lupita Lyong’s Children’s Book Sulwe. It tells the story of a little girl who did not feel her skin color was beautiful. Then she meets two sisters, day and night. Through them she learns that they are each beautiful in their own unique way. Just like she is. She returns home proud of her beautiful rich dark brown skin, glowing from the inside out with confidence. These are the books we need to share with children to remind them they are perfect without the awful skin bleaching and other unnecessary toxic treatments. I bought a copy to share with my future children and think this would be a great addition to the school library or even classroom.

I am hopeful that civil rights will not be just a dream, it will be a lifestyle and no matter how much people try to drag us back 50+ years we must continue to push forward for positive change.

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