Book Review¦ Racism has been bubbling away in our society for years. Sometimes under the surface, sometimes in more obvious places. It all came to a head in 2020 though, with the death of George Floyd. The Black Lives Matter movement certainly brought racism to the forefront of people’s attention. I have noticed since then, that there has been an increase in the awareness of and education surrounding racism. I know I’ve tried to educate myself more. Equally, I’ve been conscious of educating my daughter. I need to raise her to know that racism is wrong and what we can do about it.
I’ve largely done this in a gentle way. I’ve made sure that we have toys with a variety of skin colours and bought books that are about people from other races and cultures. Programming on cBeebies has been helpful too, thanks to programmes such as What’s On Your Head? When I was offered the opportunity to review a new book called My Skin, Your Skin, I realised that this would help me to take the next step of actually discussing racism with her. Spoiler alert: You need to add this to your children’s book shelf this Black History Month!
My Skin, Your Skin is perfect for primary school children as it is aimed at children ages 4 and above. It was “written by Early Years expert and children’s media creator, Laura Henry-Allain MBE, to support parents and carers, teachers and early years workers to explain what racism is, why it is wrong, and what children can do if they see it or experience it”.
What Autumn Thought
Autumn stayed engaged the whole way through. She is quite easily distracted these days, but seemed interested the whole time I was reading it, asking lots of questions. Immediately, she began to apply it to her own life and talked about her friends of different ethnicities. She thought it was horrible that people are sometimes unkind to others due to their skin colour. Being armed with the knowledge of what to do if she witnessed racism really brought out her tenacity, which was wonderful to see.
What I Thought
This book is perfect for introducing the topic of racism with children. It’s a discussion I’ve wanted to start with Autumn for some time, but haven’t been quite sure how to approach. Before anyone says anything about it, I’m only too aware that as a white person we are very privileged in this way. I know that if my daughter was not white, or mixed race that it’s highly likely this is something we would have to have discussed in one way or another before now.
Nevertheless, this book was great for explaining to her about racism and why it’s wrong. The way that it is written and the fun illustrations helped to hold her attention. We discussed why everyone deserves an equal chance in life and deserves to be loved, irrespective of their skin colour. I really liked how it champions our individuality, self-esteem and self-worth.
The way in which it tells children that racism is wrong and what to do if they see or experience it then reiterates it is fantastic. Because it is repeated, it registers and doesn’t just go in one ear and out of the other. I was really pleased to hear from Autumn that she has never seen anyone be racist to her friends. However, I am now confident that if any of Autumn’s friends experience racism that she will know exactly what to do to help them.
Disclosure: We received a copy of this book in return for a review. As always, all views and opinions are honest and my own.