Books for kids, and podcasts for parents that help teach justice for all

Credit: Publishers Weekly

Books for kids, and podcasts for parents that help teach justice for all

Teaching children anti-racist values begins when children are young, and continues as they go through the various ages and stages of childhood. Here are expert resources for reading and listening to help navigate the ins and outs of teaching future generations, and helping to break racial barriers for a clearer path to justice for all.

Picture books to graphic novels, and a lot inbetween

Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z. Each entry presents a word related to creating a better world, such as ally, empathy, or respect, and related quotes and poems.

Antiracist Baby Picture Book. Written by founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research Ibram X. Kendi, Antiracist Baby Picture Book offers parents and their little ones nine ideas to build a more equitable world through playful text and bold illustrations.

Coretta Scott King book award winners. Awarded to African American writers and illustrators whose books explore African American experiences and humanity, the Coretta Scott King book award winners showcase a variety of fiction, biographies and nonfictions for babies to teens.

20 Picture Books for 2020: If a picture can say 1,000 words, then these stories that embrace race are a great beginning.

Early Childhood: Activism and Organizing. A smart guide to choosing anti-bias children’s books, plus a curated list of book that touch on social justice in a kid-friendly and explainable way.

An Anti-Racist Graphic Novel Reading List. For tweens and teens who love a graphic novel, these selections “address topics including the Civil Rights Movement, hip-hop, gentrification, white supremacy, the criminal justice system, police brutality, and the lives of black women.”

Podcasts for parents who want real talk about real issues

Parenting Forward. Author, blogger, community leader and mother Cindy Wang Brandt  features interviews with authors and thought leaders from progressive faith spaces, monthly listener question shows, and practical strategies for parents, grandparents, and anyone who loves children and wants to commit to treating children with justice in her podcast Parenting Forward.

Fare of the Free Child Akilah S. Richards and guests discuss the fears and costs of raising free black and brown children in a world that tends to diminish and dehumanize children of color in the Raising Free People podcast.

Raising White Kids with Jennifer Harvey. Dr. Jennifer Harvey discusses her book Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America, as well her personal journey towards anti-racist organizing, educating, and child rearing. 

Talking Race With Your Young Child (NPR). A discussion between NPR journalist Noel King, anti-racism scholar and author Ibram Kendi, and author Renee Watson about how to be intentional when talking about race, plus tools to guide conversations with kids.

Fiber artist Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi spearheads exhibition of quilts in response to George Floyd’s death

Known as one of the most influential African American quilt historians in the United States, Carolyn Mazloomi, PhD, who was trained as an aerospace engineer, has artwork showcased in numerous important museums around the world, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and American Museum of Design.

Fiber artist Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi’s passion for educating through art leads her to curate We Are the Story 

She thought she’d be settled into retirement by now, but Carolyn Mazloomi’s passion for her art pushes her to keep making, curating and working. Mazloomi, who earned a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California and worked as a pilot and Federal Aviation Administration crash site investigator, became involved in fiber artists and quilting in the early 1970s, and founded the Women of Color Quilters Network in 1985. She currently is spearheading and curating the exhibition We Are the Story, set to open at various sites throughout Minneapolis later this summer. The exhibition is a response to the death of George Floyd in the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

We Are the Story is a series of six quilt exhibitions by the Women of Color Quilters Network, and Textile Center created under the curatorial direction of Mazloomi. The series is organized around the themes of remembering those lost to police brutality, history of civil rights, and racism in America.

“I am an artist quiltmaker, and I like to tell stories,” says Mazloomi. “Most of the work I do deals with issues of race or status of women, and a lot of the work is somewhat controversial, but I hope viewers look at it and learn something and think about things and how things possibly could be.” 

As a mother and grandmother, Mazloomi was rocked when she saw the video of George Floyd being pinned to the ground, and heard him cry out for his mother.

“It just shook me to my core. I cried for days because it was sad and tragic how he passed. But hearing him call for his mother personified the role of women in the sphere of the universe,” she says.

Mazloomi is a believer in the dynamic power of females, and has been involved in the economic development of women through the arts for over 30 years. Throughout her career of making textile art, many of her works showcase the women and their strong role in society. 

“Young women need to know about the power they wield. As women, we are the  first teachers because we give birth. We are the teachers of humanity. It’s a position that influences all of humanity,” she says. “The first word a baby learns is usually mama and it’s so strange that the last thing a human being may talk about when dying is their mother. They call on their mother.”

A self-proclaimed news addict, she listens to news while she works. Her quilts serve as a response to what’s going on in her environment, and the world, and is meant to evoke thought. 

“My inspiration always comes from the environment around me. Currently the environment is very toxic, so I’m creating work about human condition — not just here in the United States, but of refugees around the world because women and children form the greater population of refugees,” she says. 

When asked what she hopes to see evolve from the protests, pandemic and social struggles of now, she answers with the wisdom, patience and hopeful tone of someone who has weathered years of society’s injustice.

“Let’s deal with the pandemic first,” she says. “Because African Americans are disproportionately affected, they are dying more than anyone else,” she says. “Hopefully out of this pandemic, maybe it will help African Americans. They have health issues brought about due to racism because they don’t have access to good housing and healthcare, which plays into susceptibility to the virus.” 

Thirteen people in the Women of Color Quilters Network died due to COVID-19. She and other members of the network collectively made more than 27,000 masks that were given to healthcare workers, nonprofit organizations, funeral homes and other places of need.

“When it comes to protests, I am happy to see protesters aren’t just African Americans, but a diverse group of people around the country,” says Mazloomi. “Anything that can prompt racial equality and justice in America is a good thing. Hopefully something good will come of these demonstrations, and our government and individuals will make efforts to be more civil to one another and see equality for all American citizens.”

Mazloomi was awarded the first Ohio Heritage Fellowship Award in 2003. Ohio Heritage Fellows are among the state’s living cultural treasures.  Fellows embody the highest level of artistic achievement in their work, and the highest level of service in the teaching and other work they do in their communities to ensure that their artistic traditions stay strong. In 2014 Dr. Mazloomi was given the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Award, the highest award in the nation for traditional art.  She was also inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame Museum the same year.

Mazloomi’s quilt Gathering of Spirits has been part of The Mint Museum collection since 1999, and is set to be on view in the Schiff-Bresler Family Fiber Art Gallery at Mint Museum Uptown in February 2021.

 

Carolyn L. Mazloomi (American, 1948–). Gathering of Spirits, 1997, cotton, silk, beads, metallic thread, shells. Museum Purchase: Funds provided by Dennis and Betty Chafin Rash, Lee and Mebane Rash Whitman, and Jim Rash in loving memory of Margaret Rabb Rash. 1999.1. © Carolyn L. Mazloomi 1998

 

6 books for children that teach about Black history, cultural differences and similarities

6 books for children that teach about Black history, cultural differences and similarities

The journey to a more just world grows with children. Books open up a view of the world to children outside their own neighborhood. These six books, and many others, are available at Mint Museum stores, which are open for business.


Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

A Caldecott Honor Book written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Ekua, Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer tells the story of civil rights hero Fannie Lou Hamer who participated in marches, sit-ins, and voter-education training. She also endured police brutality, time in jail and bullets shot into her home. Malcolm X called her “the country’s No. 1 freedom-fighting woman.” This book celebrates Fannie Lou Hamer’s life and legacy with a message of hope, determination, and strength. (Candlewick, $17.99).

 

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut

This rhythmic, read-aloud title by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James, is an unbridled celebration of the self-esteem, confidence, and swagger boys feel when they leave the barber’s chair. Winner of a Coretta Scott King Author Honor, Newberry Honor, and Caldecott Honor, and named a best book of 2017 by NPR Books, Huffington Post, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Horn Book Magazine, and the News and Observer.. (Agate Bolden, $18.95).

 

Talking Walls: Discover Your World

Written by Mary Burns Knight and illustrated by Anne Sibley O’Brien, is a story about walls the stories they could tell if they could talk, from how some walls kept people out to how they became symbols of dreams, memories and fear. Talking Walls has won honors, including the Boston Globe’s Top 25 Non-Fiction Children’s Books, and winner of a Mom’s Choice Gold Award. (Tilbury House, $9.95).

 

Daddy Played the Blues

Follow Cassie as she travels with her family moves to Chicago from the South, and music, particularly Blues, travel with them throughout their journey. Daddy Played the Blues is a picture book tribute to the African-American odyssey for social and economic justice, and how music was a rich part of the daily lives of Black people. Written and illustrated by Michael Garland. (Tilbury House, $17.95).

 

Little Humans

Written by street photographer and storyteller extraordinaire Brandon Stanton, this 40-page picture book combines some of his favorite children’s photos with a heartwarming ode to little humans everywhere. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $17.99).

Blue Sky White Stars

Written by Sarvinder Naberhaus and illustrated by New York Times bestselling and Caldecott-honor winning artist Kadir Nelson, Blue Sky White Stars is an ode to our nation’s greatest and most enduring symbol — our flag. Nelson’s artwork brims with iconic American imagery, including majestic landscapes and the beauty and diversity of its people. From an image of the Statue of Liberty to a depiction of civil rights marchers banded together, the art for each spread depicts a sweeping view of America. (Dial Books, $17.99).

13 artists of influence on Instagram to follow now

13 socially-conscious artists that deserve a follow now on Instagram

If you’re looking to bring something new into your Instagram feed, may we suggest these socially conscious artists. Some are people of color, and all allies of #BlackLivesMatter using their voices (and social media feeds) to bring new perspectives and first-hand insight to culturally important topics.


Hank Willis Thomas

@hankwillisthomas, 124K followers

His sculpture art is large and poignant, and his IG page follows with images and commentary that call for social justice and a deep look at systemic racism in America. Brooklyn-based, he works primarily with themes related to perspective, identity, commodity, media, and popular culture.

 

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Simone Leigh

@simoneyvetteleigh, 53.8K followers

Simone Leigh is an American, black female artist based in New York City by way of Chicago who strives to undo cultural assumptions about black women’s life and work. Her artwork is influenced by African and African American art. She posts stunning photos of her sculptures, as well as artwork that speaks to racial activism today and throughout history.

 

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Dammit Wesley

@dammit_wesley, 12.8K followers

One of the artists who created the Black Lives Matter street mural in uptown Charlotte, Dammit Wesley is the founder and force behind BlkMkrt CLT, the art gallery at Camp Northend in Charlotte that represents artists of color. He is a black, multidisciplinary artist, whose work “provides context and commentary on the black experience through the lens of pop culture” (Elsewhere). His work is thoughtful, albeit sometimes brash, but without apology. He was also part of the Mint Museum’s Battle Walls event in the summer of 2019.

 

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Owl and Arko

@owl.clt, 4.8K followers

@arko.clt, 4.5K followers

Colombian-born, Charlotte-based, Owl posts images of her work, as well as images of other artists’ work, including her partner, Arko, and positive messages that encourage change, equality, and respect. Owl is also the creator of the mural walls in the current exhibition Classic Black: The Basalt Sculpture of  Wedgwood and His Contemporaries at Mint Museum Randolph.

 

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John Hairston Jr. 

@jagolactus, 6.9K followers

A UNC Charlotte professor, freelance artist and illustrator, John Hairston Jr. is well-known in the Charlotte arts community for his graphic arts and graffiti style that blends social commentary and political satire.

 

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Arsham Studio 3020

@danielarsham, 728K followers

Sculptor Daniel Arsham’s IG posts are complemented by his social commentary. Recently he and artist Samuel Ross’s came together to provide $3,000 grants to 10 black artists in an effort to showcase under-represented creatives from around the world.

 

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Ola Ronke Akinmowo

@thefreeblackwomenslibrary, 41.8K followers

Ola Ronke Akinmowo is a Brooklyn-born artist and community activist. She started the Free Black Women’s Library to amplify the voice of black women and to bring their stories into the spotlight. She posts books to read, updates on the library, and other great content supporting black women and writers.

 

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Shane Pierce

@abstractdissent, 4.1K followers

Shane Pierce, aka the mural artist, Abstract Dissent, posts pictures and videos of his work. Many of his murals are responses to events like George Floyd’s murder and the pandemic, and he calls for change and unity.

 

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Nico Amortegui

@nico_malo1, 2.5K followers

A Colombian artist living in Charlotte, Nico Amortegui is a ceramic artist and painter whose art is rooted in being an immigrant. He moved to the U.S. at age 17 from Bogota, Colombia and lived undocumented for some time. In his bio online, he states: “Being forever between two cultures has shaped my views and molded the themes of my pieces. I consider myself 100% Latino – equally Colombian and American.” He even made a mask to fit on top of his mask during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

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Angelik Vizcarrondo-Laboy

@angelik.wiki, 1.6K followers

A curator, writer, and speaker who currently serves as the Assistant Curator at the Museum of Arts & Design (MAD) in New York City, Angelik shares works of art and promotes the talents of artists of color, and started a regular POC Artist series on her Instagram page. Her profile is full of bright colors and beautiful works. 

 


Bree Stallings

@breequixote, 3.8K followers

A professional artist and muralist based in Charlotte, Bree Stallings is active in the local art scene most recently helping to raise money for local organizations through the sale of her art. She was also part of Battle Walls at Mint Museum Randolph in 2019, and is the creator of the To be Seen and Celebrated solo exhibition.

 

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Stella McCartney

@stellamccartney, 6.3M followers

“Yes the designer, who has amazing posts,” says Mint curator Annie Carlano. The Stella McCartney IG page is fashion forward, but to support #BlackLivesMatter protests and campaigns, the platform was used as a way to learn from, listen to and amplify black voices, and amplify the voices of diverse women.

 

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8 books that educate about racism, inequality, and its repeated history in America

Fill your shelves with these books that educate about race, anti-racism and inequality

 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is the story of the killing of a young unarmed African American man by a white police officer, and its aftermath, told by his childhood friend, Starr. She is also the only witness to the shooting. Although this book is a work of fiction, the story drives home the real effects of systemic and institutional racism, as well as putting a very human face on events that are occurring far too often in real life. Starr’s world is very different from my own, and I chose this book because I wanted to stretch beyond my comfort zone. My takeaway is that there is much work to be done and it’s time to do it. —Ellen Show, archivist


Race and Reunion: the Civil War in American Memory by David Blight. This book is about the consequences of ignoring racial justice after the Civil War in favor of reconciliation or reunion amongst white northerners and southerners. Importantly, Blight talks about how public monuments — among other things — perpetuated white supremacy. It makes one look differently about the importance of contemporary public monuments like Kehinde Wiley’s Rumors of War, a direct response to Confederate monuments. —Joel Smeltzer. head of school and gallery programs


Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad. The idea behind this book began as an online call for accountability. In 2018, Saad hosted a free month-long Instagram campaign where she asked folks to share the ways in which they, knowingly or not, had upheld white supremacy. She expected resistance and reluctance. Instead, she was blown away by a worldwide outpouring of self-examination and admission. She turned that into a workbook which eventually led to the book, a manual for understanding white privilege and participation in white supremacy so that we might stop our harmful actions against BIPOC and help others do the same.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Named Esquire’s best book of the 2010s, Between the World and Me is the spiritual successor to Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time. Coates book is an impassioned letter to his teenage son. Coates recalls his gradual awakening to the bitter truth of racism as he eloquently voices the concern of parents everywhere who fear that their children of color will inherit a world broken beyond hope of redemption. In heralding Coates’ arrival as one of our most gifted and necessary public intellectuals, Toni Morrison put it best: “I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates.”  —Todd Herman, CEO


So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo is so engaging and educational. Oluo covers so many race-related topics, from offering definitions of what racism is, to explaining the school-to-prison pipeline, microaggressions, and cultural appropriation. She navigates these topics with personal stories, real examples, and as a white person I feel like this is exactly the book I should and need to be reading right now to educate myself. — Jen Cousar, graphic designer


White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. Published 2018, The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality. Download the reader’s guides here. —Lyndee Champion Ivey, executive assistant


I was invited a few years ago to join a book club of women connected mostly through children and one particular friend. I love meeting new women, but was particularly drawn to this group because the books they chose to read all related to understanding our white selves and how we drift through the days without racism in our hearts but also without wholly recognizing the systemic parameters that exist. Two books we read that I particularly like are I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown, and Behold the Dreamers: A Novel by Imbolo Mbue. Each book, in very different ways, shines a light on the misconceived American dream and how different it is for a person of color.

Behold the Dreamers, is the story of two families: one an immigrant family from Cameroon who believes life will be better in America, and the other a wealthy white family living in New York City. It’s a stark contrast of lifestyles, beliefs and culture. I’m Still Here is an eye-opening first-person account from a black woman navigating majority white schools, organizations, churches and corporate America, and how it affects everything in her life. —Michele Huggins, media relations and communications project manager


Tune in

Liberate Meditations. Liberate is a Meditation app for black, indigenous, and people of color community. Over 50,000 people use Liberate to reduce anxiety, stress less and sleep better. I chose this resource in an effort to listen and learn about how to connect people through the art and meditation. Art is communication, it allows people from different cultures and different times to communicate with each other via images, sounds and stories. While we are all being proactive to make needed change, its important to remember that art can be healing. —Diane Lowry, guest services associate

HB2 Squirrels shake up expectations of social norms and shine spotlight LGBTQIA+ issues

HB2 Squirrels shake up expectations of social norms,  shine spotlight on LGBTQIA+ issues

HB2 Squirrels, a pair of gender-symbol-wielding squirrels covered in multicolored war paint greet visitors in the main entryway of Mint Museum Uptown. The squirrels, part of The Mint Museum collection, pose a striking opposition to expectations of social norms and what one expects to be met with in a museum.

 

Michelle Erickson. “HB2 Squirrels,” 2016, salt-glazed stoneware, porcelain slips. Museum Purchase: Funds provided by the Charles W. Beam Accessions Endowment. 2019.3a-b

The HB2 Squirrels were inspired by North Carolina’s House Bill 2, commonly referred to as the “bathroom bill.” HB2 required residents to use the bathroom in public facilities that matched the gender on their birth certificate, launching a national outcry over civil liberties. The bill was criticized for impeding the rights of transgender people and other people in the LGBTQIA+ community who do not identify strictly within the gender binary, and was later repealed by N.C. Governor Roy Cooper.

Artist Michelle Erickson, outraged, took to her potter’s wheel. The result: two salt-glazed stoneware squirrels, grasping the gender symbols—one drenched in the colors of the American flag, the other in the colors of the LGBTQIA+ rainbow flag. “Congressional acts are temporary,” she says “but art is forever.”

The composition of the squirrels also was crucial. The squirrels face each other, seemingly holding their assigned gender symbols as weapons used to fight one another. The female symbol, a circle with a cross stemming down, is inverted and held by the squirrel to mirror the way the male symbol is held. Erickson said inverting the symbol was a call to uprooting the traditional view of women as a shield. 

The color of the squirrels is also indicative of the message being sent. Both have rainbow colored lines covering their face and body. Erickson said she wanted to use the rainbow motif instead of the colors of the transgender flag, to place a gentle reminder that transgender individuals are included as a part of the LGBTQIA+ community.

The squirrels also have different base bodies. The choice to make one black and one white was a conscious decision to ground it in societal tensions involving race, and to highlight the different viewpoints that stem from race within the LGBTQIA+ community.

When working with a new piece Erickson says she “allows the work to take [her.]” She starts with a design, but as the piece of clay is being shaped, it gradually takes on a new form. The overall product is as much a reflection of the process as it is the original idea.

HB2 Squirrels are a part of the past and present, she says, representing the processes of the Moravian potters, as well as speaking to the heightened political atmosphere surrounding LGBTQIA+ issues, and specifically the HB2 bill that was introduced in North Carolina in 2016. The resulting work of art challenged norms through revitalizing old processes and questioning societal implications.

The idea that became the HB2 Squirrels began as a study of a set of figural bottles from the 18th or 19th century. Erickson says the bottles originally intrigued her due to their lack of clear function and their unique construction. The bottles’ unglazed interior and overall shape indicated that they were made using a cast or mold. During her artist residency  at STARworks, Erickson began using traditional techniques with salt-glazed stoneware to see if she could create a similar design. The original designs of the squirrels were modified to be reflective of the modern era.