by Tiffanie Loiello on October 18, 2015 - 9:18pm
Colton Valentine published an article in Huffington Post June 9th, 2015, titled, ‘How To Talk To Kids About Racism In America -- With A Picture Book’, which discusses how a picture book brings to attention the idea of racism to young children between the ages of 5 and 8. Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Jamey Christoph, follows the life of Gordon Parks as he makes his way through Fort Scott, Kansas, and to Washington, D.C., to express the idea of oppression in the United States. The author explains that this book’s illustrations were inspired by real locations that Christoph has seen throughout his visits to the various places he mentions in his books. The author goes on to mention a bit about the storyline, Park’s, the main character of the book, ends up in Harlem where he is a photographer for Vogue and Life magazine. Park’s most important piece was, “American Gothic, Washington, D.C.”, which replaces the classic couple holding farm tools with a black woman named Ella Watson, who is holding cleaning supplies. Valentine states that the photographer in the book managed to capture the struggles Watson has gone through most of her life and allows her to be heard. The author concludes by saying that this children’s book has already inspired several questions on the issue of racism among the young readers.
According to Erin N. Winkler in the article ‘Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race’, children can differentiate between races and can develop racial prejudices by 30 months of age. Therefore, it is only logical to teach children about race and racism in a way they can comprehend and appreciate; a picture book is perfect. Children grow up in a world where racism is prominent in all areas of life so they should be sufficiently prepared to act upon any issue that may come up. As a white parent, you might not be able to educate your children on the problem of racism in the most effective way due to the lack of first-hand experience but this picture book might help in approaching this difficult topic of conversation.
Valentine, C. (2015, June 9). How To Talk To Kids About Racism In America -- With A Picture Book. Retrieved October 16, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/09/gordon-parks-childrens-book_n_7...