cover image How to Raise An Antiracist

How to Raise An Antiracist

Ibram X. Kendi. One World, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-24253-7

Historian Kendi (How to Be an Antiracist) lays out an antiracism plan for caregivers in this knockout combination of memoir and parenting guide. Kendi challenges the notion that not talking about race protects children; colorblindness, he writes, leads to “denial,” not combating the problem. To that end, he suggests, parents should have discussions about race early and often; train critical thinkers by asking such questions as “Why do you think there aren’t more picture books with dark people on the covers?”; and cultivate empathy by making sure not to “dismiss [kids’] feelings, judge their feelings, or [be] hostile to their feelings.” Teachers, meanwhile, need to be trained with antiracist courses and be given better financial support. Throughout, Kendi ties his research and advice to his own experience, as when he recalls his daughter’s attachment to a white doll at her daycare to advocate for exposing babies and young children to the “human rainbow” through multicultural books and toys. Kendi succeeds marvelously in connecting the personal to the systemic, showing how structural inequalities have personal costs—“Who knows how much potential racism has buried?” This will be an invaluable resource for any parent or teacher who wants to set kids on the path to antiracism early. Agent: Ayesha Pande, Ayesha Pande Literary. (June)