Educating our children through the power of story

By Claire de Franck, Editor 03 Jun 2020


Racism, multiculturalism and the power of storytelling to help your kids understand

‘What is racism mummy?’ was not what I was expecting to hear from my 7 year old daughter when we were sitting having breakfast over the long weekend. But then why am I surprised? With all that has happened and is still happening in the US, and National Reconciliation Week taking place here in Australia, the subject is everywhere.

It got me thinking about the best way to talk to her about what is a very confronting subject, luckily for us we have many books at home for children including the amazing Little People, Big Dreams series which presents it in a very accessible way for all ages.

Books once again, are such a wonderful resource for talking to our children and educating them about all things in this world, good and bad, and encouraging conversation and discussion at home that addresses their worries and fears as well as their hopes and dreams.

Here are our top ten books that will help your families talk about racism, multiculturalism and embracing difference.

Image: Aaron Burden
  • Little People, Big Dreams – Various Authors: a wonderful series including books on Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King Jr and Evonne Goolagong
  • Whoever you are – by Mem Fox: This story weaves its way across cultures and generations, celebrating the bond that unites us all. Ages 0-10
  • The Big Umbrella – Amy June Bates: a heartwarming book about acceptance. Ages 4-8
  • The Hundred Dresses – by Estes/Slobdokin: a timeless story of compassion and understanding. Ages 6-9
  • The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – by John Boyne: a tale of friendship and the horrors of war. Ages 12-17
  • Our Home, Our Heartbeat – by Adam Briggs: a celebration of past and present Indigenous legends. Ages 3-99
  • The Day you Begin – by Jacqueline Woodston: a book about being an outsider. Ages 5-9
  • Lets Talk about Race – by Julius Lester: an acclaimed book exploring what makes us each special. All ages
  • My Place – by Nadia Wheatley: find out more about the history of Australia, families, settlers, multiculturalism and the traditional owners of the land. Ages 8 plus
  • This Book is Anti-Racist – by Tiffany Jewell: learn about histories, identities and anti racism. Ages 8 plus.

Whilst books aren’t going to answer all of their questions, they are certainly a great and positive way to start the conversation with your children on this topic and many other hard ones, informing, educating and hopefully empowering them and you.

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