Also by this author: How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice
Published by Zonderkidz on January 4, 2022
Genres: Children's, Non-Fiction, Racial Reconciliation
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Racism and social justice are important topics kids are dealing with today. In this adaptation of How to Fight Racism for young readers ages 8-12, Dr. Jemar Tisby helps kids understand how everyday prejudice affects them and what they can do to create social change. Inside, he explains the history of racism in America and why it is so prevalent, as well as uses Christian principles to provide practical tools and advice kids can use to develop and maintain an anti-racist mindset and make a positive difference in the world.
Racism is pervasive in today's world, and in the wake of protests and a call for change, many kids are eager to confront it but aren’t always sure how. Jemar Tisby, author of How to Fight Racism and The Color of Compromise, believes we need to move beyond mere discussions about racism and begin equipping young people with the practical tools to fight against it.
In How to Fight Racism Young Reader’s Edition, Dr. Tisby uses history to explore how racism has affected America since before its founding and how it’s continued to grow, as well as examines how true social justice is rooted in the Christian faith. In a format that provides kids with a handbook for pursuing racial justice, readers ages 8-12 will discover:
hands-on suggestions and real-world examples of change they can put into actionpractical ideas for confronting racism in their everyday lives, and how they can use Christian values to change the narrative around racethe ARC of racial justice—Awareness, Connection, and Relationships—that help form an anti-racist mindsetways to evaluate their actions and promote biblical principlesThroughout, kids will learn how to ask questions of themselves and their communities as they stand up to racism in all its forms. This book is for anyone who believes it is time to courageously confront the racism we see in our society today.
How to Fight Racism Young Reader’s Edition:
Is ideal for any young person wanting to make a difference in today’s worldCan be used by families and church groups to start meaningful conversations with kidsIs written at a level kids in grades 4 through 6 and beyond can understand
Just about a year ago (in January 2021), Jemar Tisby released How to Fight Racism, a practical book filled actionable ideas to make real substantive change in one’s community. Now he’s gone back and adapted that material, along with pieces and ideas of his book The Color of Compromise to create How to Fight Racism Young Reader’s Edition: A Guide to Standing Up for Racial Justice.
Dr. Tisby uses his ARC framework—awareness, relationships, commitment—as the structural poles of the book, interspersing historical vignettes that give examples of standing up for racial justice throughout history. Aimed at ages 8-12, How to Fight Racism Young Reader’s Edition gives kids age-appropriate ideas while also introducing them to important historical figures in the movement.
Since the ARC framework is at the heart of the book, let’s start there. First, there’s awareness. This isn’t just awareness of injustice or of how systems (and not just individuals) can be unjust, but awareness of one’s own racial identity. Tisby spends about half the book in this area, gently educating readers on the racial history of the United States and how racism became embedded into our institutions. More than that, Tisby also records the efforts to fight against racism at every point along the way, reminding readers that they are the latest generation to fight for racial justice. There’re also a few chapters on understanding one’s own racial identity, which is important for all readers, but especially relevant to white readers who, as the cultural majority, may never have had to consider their racial identity before.
Relationships is step two, and it’s a crucial one. How to Fight Racism Young Reader’s Edition walks kids through how to develop diverse friendships and build a multicultural community. He steers readers away from performative wokeness and hashtag activism into the real and messy work of friendship and understanding. The last step is commitment, and here Jemar Tisby talks about taking on systems and making a difference in one’s community. It’s more difficult as kids—who often lack agency—but there are still things kids can do to fight racism on a systemic level.
Along the way, Jemar Tisby pauses to tell some stories in the fight against racism. You’ll read the stories of Rosa Parks, Tamir Rice, Ruby Bridges, Frederick Douglass, and more. Each historical narrative fits with the contemporary application of the surrounding chapters. In my podcast interview with Jemar, he said that he was more excited about the young reader’s version than the version for adults and—well, he’s not wrong. They are both distinct products, but there’s a lot for adults to learn from in this book even though it’s geared for a younger audience. I’d particularly encourage educators and youth pastors to read this book and consider how they can work with their students to implement some of the suggestions Tisby offers.
Point by point, area by area, How to Fight Racism Young Reader’s Edition spells out exactly how to work for racial justice and expose and stand up against racist systems. Tisby is thorough, providing clear and practical advice. It’s not easy advice, understand, because it’s about changing systems not just minds. It’s about practical change, not just intellectual assent. It’s about becoming a person for whom justice and reconciliation are integral parts of life. Read this book with your kids. Have these difficult conversations with him. Help them take advantage of where they are now to build a better world. Kids, you don’t have to wait to be an adult to make a difference. You can fight for racial justice now. Let Dr. Tisby show you the way.