I met Kerry Cavers, the founder of Moms Against Racism Canada (MAR) when she spoke at an event I attended in 2022. She shared her experience growing up as a bi-racial child in a predominantly white part of Canada, disconnected from her Black heritage. Her passion for inclusivity, awareness and raising anti-racist children has been impactful in my parenting and my journey towards anti-racism. In 2020, Kerry started her non profit, MAR. She created an inclusive digital space for Moms to connect, share, examine racial biases, question systematic oppression and learn how to raise anti-racist children. Through education, workshops and community building the group supports Moms and other caregivers to dismantle racism within themselves, their families, their schools and their communities. The group creates safe spaces for supportive discussion both online and at in-person events.
One of the tools MAR offers to families and classrooms is their creation of Diverse Book Baskets. A team of educators, parents, publishers and literary experts curate book lists for every grade level from preschool to graduation from a range of religious, ethnic, racial and cultural backgrounds. Each book basket is different and offers 10 books in addition to support resources for teachers and parents. My basket, put together for a Grade 1 class, also included a box of Crayola Colors of the World, skin tone crayons.
“An inclusive library collection should provide both mirrors where children can see themselves represented as well as windows where children are provided with a view into the lives of others.” – MAR website
Books are powerful tools in allowing our children to experience stories of both joy and challenges from a wide range of cultures. Through stories, children develop curiosity and empathy. Creating space for discussion and questions benefits parents, teachers and children as we learn together and expand our understanding of lived experiences outside of our own. This understanding can evolve into being an active ally in challenging systemic racism.
Below is the list of books I received. Each book is colorful and intriguing. As I read them with my children we are sharing what is different about some characters and what is the same. It’s never too early to introduce children to a diverse library. Stories speak to our hearts, their power is what builds children’s view of the world and the vast diversity of people in it.
Book baskets can be bought, sponsored or gifted for classrooms and families. Every basket curated by Moms Against Racism is unique. Learn more about Moms Against Racism and Sponsor the Diverse Book Basket Program https://www.momsagainstracism.ca/diverse-book-baskets
Sample of a Grade One MAR Book Basket
Don't Touch My Hair By Sheree Miller
Speak up By Miranda Paul Illustrated by Ebony Glen
We Are Water Protectors By Carole Lindstrom Illustrated by Michaela Goad
Paletero Man By Lucky Diaz Illustrated by Micah Player
Bee-Bim Bop By Linda Sue Park Illustrated by Ho Baek Lee
Under My Hijab By Hena Khan Illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel
In my Mosque By M. O. Yuksel Illustrated by Hatem Ali
Looking for a Jumbie By Tracy Baptiste Illustrated by Amber Ren
Big Red Lollipop By Rukhsana Khan Illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Berry Song Written and illustrated by Michaela Goad
After a year of chaos and uncertainty, our mission for ISSUE 03 of RIPPLE OF CHANGE is to spark inspiration in our readers. There was a lot of talk of coming together, acting in solidarity for our peers, and putting others before ourselves to overcome the challenges put before us. Now, we put that to the test.
In 2021, GivingTuesday, the world’s largest generosity movement, began to inspire shoppers to allocate some funds to go to charities and nonprofits. GivingTuesday doesn’t only encourage financial giving. The movement promotes volunteering and community support in addition to donations.
We all buy, wear, and discard clothing, but at what cost? It turns out, the cost of our clothing is much higher than the $5.00 fast-fashion t-shirt we pick up in the sale section. The fashion industry is the second largest industrial polluter, producing 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, amounting to 10 per cent of global emissions.