Help your Kids Understand Racism

Today I have a book that will help your kids understand racism.  We are all aware of the blatant examples that present themselves, but what about the subtler ways that black kids are treated differently?  New Kid did a good job of addressing that topic and now What Lane is another book that takcles this issue head-on.

Don’t forget to follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or by email so that you don’t miss a story that will show readers the pernicious differences that occur every day if you are black.

Title: What Lane?help your kids understand racism What Lane

Author: Torrey Maldonado

Series: No 

Target: Grades 4-6

What this book is about:

Stephen has been best friends with Dan forever.  They could be twins except Dan is white and Stephen is mixed with a white mother and black father.  As Stephen is getting older, he starts to notice that he and Dan are getting treated differently. From “sampling” snacks at the grocery store, to pretend fighting on the way home from school, the reactions are not the same if you are black.  Dan is oblivious, especially when Dan’s cousin Chad starts singling out some of the black kids for extra ribbing.  Stephen has to decide how to stand up for himself and when to involve his friends as part of the solution.

Why I love this book:

  • This book does a very good job of highlighting the subtle ways racism plays out for young black men.  It also shows how caring white people can just miss it when it isn’t happening to them.  I appreciated how Stephen needed to reconnect with his black friends when things started to feel uncomfortable because they understood in a way that Dan did not.
  • I liked that this book made a very difficult topic accessible to younger kids without feeling like they were being taught a lesson.  White kids who read this book will start to notice the more subtle ways racism plays out for black kids in their everyday lives, and black kids will feel seen.  Stephen was able to create an ally in Dan which I hope will lead to more kids becoming allies for one another.
  • The author does a great job writing for his audience.  Middle school kids will get this book and appreciate the way in which the kids speak to one another and the cultural references.

Who this book is for:

Great for all kids.  This book is only 125 pages with short chapters so kids will not feel intimidated by the size.  Absolutely relevant for our current events.  

Final thoughts:

I really wish this type of book would have been around when I was young.  My best friend in middle school was black, and I now think I had a warped sense of her experience.  I was so self-absorbed it never occurred to me to think she may have been treated differently in the world.

To purchase this book:

Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: What Lane?  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.