This book may be nominally for babies, but its audience is an adult one.
Kendi makes this clear in the first two double-page spreads: “Antiracist Baby is bred, not born. / Antiracist Baby is raised to make society transform. // Babies are taught to be racist or antiracist—there is no neutrality. / Take these nine steps to make equity a reality.” Although this board book hardly substitutes for How To Be an Antiracist (2019), Kendi’s exploration of the topic for adults, it does serve to remind caregivers that raising an antiracist child is a conscious process. Importantly, points No. 1, “Open your eyes to all skin colors,” and No. 2, “Use your words to talk about race,” aim to correct anxious, usually white caregivers’ tendencies to “deny what’s right in front of you” when their children point out people who look different from them. To these and Kendi’s next seven points, Lukashevsky pairs bold, thickly outlined cartoons of babies and adults of many different skin tones, gender presentations, and body types. A couple of the depicted caregivers have tattoos; one wears the hijab. Several sets of parents can be read as LGBTQ+. The bright colors should keep babies and toddlers engaged while adults work to master the couplets, which do not always scan evenly. Some points are harder than others: “Confess when being racist,” for instance, may require several reads to internalize.
Antiracism’s starting point.
(Board book. 6 mos.-3)