16 November 2023

Diverse Book Baskets Offer Windows and Mirrors

By Jenn Wint

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 

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

Join MAR’s Facebook page 

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