Well, it’s been an incredible week in what can only be described as an earth-shaking year. Who knew 2020 would be such a huge reset for all of us? Last Friday, I made the exciting announcement on social media that in less than three months, I’m going to be a published author!
My book BRINGING UP RACE: HOW TO RAISE A KIND CHILD IN A PREJUDICED WORLD will be released on September 3, 2020 by Yellow Kite (Hachette UK).
Bringing Up Race shares our experiences as a Black multicultural family growing up in a majority White country. In the book, I’ve also interviewed more than 20 parents of different ethnicity who tell some of their stories as well as how they are raising their kids against prejudice. The book includes helpful tips, backed by leading research, on how we can have more open conversations about race and improve the way we connect as human beings.
Writing this book has been an emotional rollercoaster as the subject is so personal and so topical too. I can still hardly believe that my book news went public at a time when the world is focused on race and racial justice. Even before we announced it, I had parents getting in touch to find out what resources I could recommend for educating their kids better. It’s a damn shame that the UK curriculum is failing our little ones on so many fronts — particularly in teaching the true history of African civilisation as well as Britain’s part in slavery and colonialism. There’s a petition you can sign if you agree the government should be doing more.
In the meantime, the Internet is suddenly awash with anti-racist reading lists and recommendations for Black history resources. Black British authors are topping the bestseller lists (yay!) and companies like Netflix and Spotify are curating special content to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
I do feel a huge shift in the right direction but let’s all remember change doesn’t happen overnight. This isn’t a mad dash to the Land of Woke, it’s a lifelong journey to becoming better humans. If you are willing to walk with us, here are some cool things to read, watch and listen to over the weekend and onwards. Stay well, stay strong, stay safe.
Bringing Up Race (with Your Kids): Helpful Resources
Philly & Friends: Who Do I See in the Mirror? by Vese Aghoghovbia Wolu
A sweet board/picture book dedicated to celebrating the beauty of all babies. Ages 0-3.
Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o
The Hollywood actress writes a sweet picture book dedicated to loving the skin you’re in. The book is inspired by her own experiences of facing dark skin prejudice. Ages 4-8.
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
When a classmate tells her she can’t play Peter Pan because she’s Black, Grace sets out to prove him wrong. Inspirational picture book celebrating 30 years since publication. Ages 6-8.
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
A novel in verse about twin brothers who come together over basketball but start to clash in real life. Ages 11+.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The film is great, the book is better. Angie Thomas’ searing and soulful take on a young girl growing up on both sides of the tracks, navigating police brutality and the struggle to make Black lives matter. Ages 13+.
Things Fall Apart
China Achebe tells the story of colonialism in Africa through the rise and fall of village leader, Okonkwo. An African classic. Ages 14+/YA
A single mother’s life is turned upside down when she discovers her little boy is an actual superhero. Hugely engaging sci-fi drama. We can’t wait for season 2! Rated 12/we think it’s suitable for ages 9+.
Noughts and Crosses
The boys are big fans of Malorie Blackman so we’ve started watching the BBC adaptation. So far I’m enjoying the Romeo and Juliet meets Eastenders meets Wakanda vibes. Best for older kids ages 11+.
I’m planning to re-watch Spike Lee’s Malcolm X with the boys, but first we’re going to watch Selma. Ava Du Vernay’s rousing vision of Martin Luther King’s civil rights activism in the 1960s. Rated 12.
Dr Maya Angelou: I Am Human
Don’t miss these stirring and thought-provoking words by the incomparable Maya Angelou. She was the essence of kindness and humanity. Something we need more of in these troubled times. If you haven’t yet read any of her work, start with the first volume of her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (best for adults or YA readers).
TED Talks on Race
The famous TED Talks platform has curated a selection of some of their best talks to help you understand systemic racism in America. Start here.
Chineke Orchestra perform Ludwig Van Beethoven
Double bassist Chichi Nwanoku founded this groundbreaking troupe, the UK’s first orchestra comprised only of Black and minority ethnic players. Here they play a dazzling rendition of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. Some believe Beethoven himself was of mixed African ancestry. Whether that’s true or not, this is highly worth watching. This particular performance includes the haunting Elegy: In Memoriam – Stephen Lawrence by Black British composer Philip Herbert. Chineke is word for ‘God the creator’ or ‘the spirit of creation’ in my birth tongue, Igbo.
On Being: Talking About Whiteness
I love Krista Tippett’s podcast On Being where she asks the big questions and this particular episode features author of White Debt, Eula Biss examining Whiteness and how to dismantle some of the systems that hold us all back.
Talking Race with Young Children
Sesame Street have been way ahead of the game on the race conversation since they started. Listen in to this thoughtful and insightful discussion on bringing up race with your kids with the Sesame Workshop on NPR.