Teach Kids About Social Justice With These Books

Photo: NeONBRAND, Unsplash

As parents, the list of things we want to teach and instil in our kids is endless. We want them to grow up to be people who brush their teeth twice a day — and floss. We want them to clean up after themselves and do their best in school (while also not being too hard on themselves). We want them to surround themselves with people of high character and replace the roll when the toilet paper runs out.

Oh, and we want them to be good people. Which means teaching tolerance and inclusion. It means teaching them about sexism and racism and homophobia and all the bad in the world so that they choose the good. How could we possibly do all that?

It's not easy, but one way to start is with books. And luckily, the Anti-Defamation League is here to help.

The ADL has compiled a list of books more than 750 books that address a wide range of social justice issues, including ableism, bullying, LGBTQ issues, anti-semitism, race and religion. On its website, the organisation says:

Books have the potential to create lasting impressions. They have the power to [instil] empathy, affirm children's sense of self, teach about others, transport to new places and inspire actions on behalf of social justice.

Here are few highlights:

Ability, Disability and Ableism

Benny Doesn't Like to Be Hugged (Ages 4-8). "A little girl uses rhyming verse to describe the unique traits of her friend who has autism."

Bias, Discrimination and Hate

We Are Like the Clouds/Somos Como las Nubes (Ages 7-12). "Why are young people leaving their country to walk to the United States to seek a new, safe home? Over 100,000 such children have left Central America. This bilingual (English and Spanish) book of poetry helps us to understand why and what it is like to be them."

Bullying Awareness and Prevention

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Arse (Ages 14-17). "One morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her. Piddy doesn't even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she's done to make her mad."

Gender and Sexism

Sparkle Boy (Ages 4-8). "Casey loves to play with his blocks, puzzles, and dump truck and he also loves things that sparkle, shimmer and glitter. When his older sister, Jessie, shows off her new shimmery skirt, Casey wants to wear a shimmery skirt too."

Genocide and Holocaust

Refugee (Ages 9-12). "Josef is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world. Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America. Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek towards Europe."

Click here to search the full list by topic.


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