In light of the Buffalo shooting tragedy in May and numerous other racially motivated acts of violence across the country (seemingly no locale is safe), learning and spreading the teachings of anti-racism could not be more important. Here are four June and July books that provide cogent, urgent, and accessible advice for anyone, of any age, seeking necessary lessons on racial justice. Quotes are from the Kirkus reviews.
Raising Antiracist Children: A Practical Parenting Guide by Britt Hawthorne with Natasha Yglesias (Simon & Schuster, June 7): “This anti-biased, anti-racist (ABAR) parenting book centers the lived experiences of Black, brown, and Indigenous families. Acclaimed ABAR trainer Hawthorne breaks the text into sections: ‘healthy bodies, radical minds, conscious shopping, and thriving communities.’ Before moving on to those four primary elements, the author provides key language that caregivers can use to both structure their own ABAR journeys and to use when working with their children.…Refreshingly, [Hawthorne’s] approach is truly intersectional, seamlessly folding discussions about disability, queerness, and gender identity into a larger conversation about race. Overall, the creativity, criticality, and compassion make this book a must-read for parents and caregivers.”
How To Raise an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (OneWorld/Random House, June 14): “The National Book Award–winning author uses his own life to illustrate the need for anti-racist policy and practices in American schools and homes.…Rather than illustrating specific parenting techniques, the author uses personal stories to argue for sweeping changes to health care and education. The author’s vulnerability about his own parenting mistakes and schooling mishaps clarifies racist structures with empathy, clarity, and hope for change.…A useful anti-racist memoir about how anti-racism can make the world safer for all children.”
Do the Work!: An Antiracist Activity Book by W. Kamau Bell & Kate Schatz (Workman, July 19): “Bell is a Black comedian, director, creator of CNN’s United Shades of America With W. Kamau Bell, and the ACLU Artist Ambassador for Racial Justice, and Schatz is a sought-after queer feminist activist, public speaker, and author of Rad American History A-Z, among other books. Throughout, humorous dialogues between the authors frame the many useful activities. The authors define terms, reflect on personal experiences, and anticipate objections to engaging in activism that could come at a personal cost. Interspersed between these interactions are activities ranging from crossword puzzles and word searches to spaces for reflection and planning. The text also incorporates a variety of graphics….An entertaining resource for anyone seeking genuine engagement with anti-racist activism.”
The White Allies Handbook: 4 Weeks To Join the Racial Justice Fight for Black Women by Lecia Michelle (Dafina/Kensington, July 26): “A librarian and anti-racism educator offers would-be White allies lessons in how to lift up Black women and begin healing the cancer of American racism.…Michelle provides a step-by-step guide for committed Whites to evolve beyond race ‘fragility’ and take the hard, sometimes painful actions the author sees as determinants of true allyship. She divides the book into four sections, each representing one week in an ally crash course.…Though it focuses mostly on Black women, this timely, no-nonsense handbook offers an important blueprint for White allies to carry out the often uncomfortable but necessary work of promoting racial equality among all marginalized people.”
Eric Liebetrau is the nonfiction and managing editor.