Books are a great gift to give during the holiday season. The West Wind staff has compiled a list of some of our favorite equity-focused books this year that make perfect gifts.
This Book is Anti-Racist: Twenty Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and do the Work by Tiffany Jewell & Aurélia Durand
This book is for children ages 10+, and could be used in collaboration with children who are younger. It is a collection of lessons that lead young people to explore how to be anti-racist, to become more aware, and to do the work of learning history, calling in and out, and understanding concepts such as white privilege, dominant culture, types of racism and ways to take action. Beautifully written and illustrated, I would encourage adults to read it as well.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
This book engages young adult readers with race and racism in America’s past and present. It does not shy away from telling the story of America and racism, but it also posits that we can identify and overcome racism. As a mom, raising four white kids, this book speaks to me and, as each of my kids reads it, I am finding that it speaks to them in different and powerful ways.
May We Have Enough To Share by Richard Van Camp
I love the blog, American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL), by Dr. Debbie Reese of Nambé Pueblo. This book was one of her picks for Best Board Book by Native Writers or Illustrators in 2019. In the book, Richard Van Camp of Tlicho Nation features photographs taken by Indigenous women who blog at Tea & Bannock. I cannot wait to see my grandchild interact with it!
Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity: Keys to Successful Implementation by Floyd Cobb and John Krownapple
Many schools remain trapped in a cycle of equity dysfunction, often because they lack clarity on the fundamental needs of dignity and belonging. Once these are understood, educators can dismantle the barriers to meaningful student relationships, especially across dimensions of difference such as race, and culture, and make changes that reshape the academic experiences.
Jayden’s Big Day by Maurice Davis
According to Little Village magazine, Maurice Davis couldn’t find a book about entrepreneurship featuring children of color, so he came up with his own. Maurice is local and all proceeds go to support his non-profit. As a new grandmother, I’m having fun looking through children’s literature again.
How To Love A Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs
I truly believe fictional vignettes, such as the short stories in this book, can explain the complexities behind identity better than many non-fiction analyses (which are incredibly important, too). This collection focuses specifically on the experience of Jamaicans in the U.S. The author graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that there is even a story that takes place in Iowa!
Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
If you want to know how and why our systems are stratified and inequitable, it was intentional. This book explores this history and offers ideas on what we can do next.
Feel free to add suggestions for other equity-focused books in the comments below.