Being an early childhood educator for 20 years, I strongly believe that we should start having meaningful conversations about race with our little ones. Having such conversations would prevent any misconceptions about racist beliefs. I feel that many adults tend to underestimate young children’s capabilities in processing complex discussions on various topics. If we don’t talk about it, they will come up with their own ideas and beliefs that may dispel any truth about the topic.
Reading “Our Skin” to my grade 2s has transformed my reading aloud sessions into a phenomenal entrance into race conversation. This simple and well-articulated book accompanied with expressive illustrations allowed my students to use the visible thinking routine tool as suggested by Sara Ahmed in her book “Being The Change”. The easy examples of stereotypes and prejudice gave my students ideas to learn to speak up against unfair practices in a form of activism. I had such an empowering discussion with them!
I love how the authors - Megan, Jessica and Isabel introduce concepts of varying complexity - racism. It started off with recognising description of the term ‘racism’ - and gradually digging deeper into the concept. The words to describe the different groups of people (white, African American, indigenous, etc.) and the interactive questions spread out on different pages enable deep thinking, resulting in a richer discussion.
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this to my class and I certainly hope that this book will help readers to understand the realities of living in an unequal world.