Goodreads: This Book Is Anti-Racist
Published: January 2020
Who are you?
What is your identity?
What is racism?
How do you choose your own path?
How do you stand in solidarity?
How can you hold yourself accountable?
Learn about identities, true histories, and anti-racism work in 20 carefully laid out chapters. Written by anti-bias, anti-racist, educator and activist, Tiffany Jewell, and illustrated by French illustrator Aurélia Durand in kaleidoscopic vibrancy.
This book is written for the young person who doesn’t know how to speak up to the racist adults in their life. For the 14 year old who sees injustice at school and isn’t able to understand the role racism plays in separating them from their friends. For the kid who spends years trying to fit into the dominant culture and loses themselves for a little while. It’s for all of the Black and Brown children who have been harmed (physically and emotionally) because no one stood up for them or they couldn’t stand up for themselves; because the colour of their skin, the texture of their hair, their names made white folx feel scared and threatened.
It is written so children and young adults will feel empowered to stand up to the adults who continue to close doors in their faces. This book will give them the language and ability to understand racism and a drive to undo it. In short, it is for everyone.
This Book Is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell is an accessible introduction to the work of anti-racism, targeted to a teen audience. Easy-to-understand definitions and explanations are paired with journal prompts so readers can begin to articulate to themselves how they view their identity, how they see themselves fitting into society, and how they imagine they can begin to do the work of anti-racism. Aurélia Durand’s bold and colorful artwork is featured on every page, making the book as visually appealing as it is inspirational.
The book is divided into a series of short chapters, making a book about a heavy topic less intimidating. This, combined with Jewell’s personable writing style and her personal anecdotes make the work seem a little like a gift from a good friend, who wants to help readers understand themselves and their world–and give them the courage to make a difference. Positive messages promoting confidence and belonging, as do the beautiful illustrations by Durand. The overall tone is one of optimism and hope. It is clear that Jewell believes that young people matter, and that they can change the world.
Durand’s gorgeous illustrations also deserve a shout-out. They instantly make the book visually engaging, and may be a reason many are attracted to pick up the book from a shelf in the first place. Each page celebrates the beauty, strength, and diversity of Black and Brown people. The visuals are so stunning, I can easily imagine readers wanting prints that they can hang up on their walls.
This Book Is Anti-Racist is a wonderful introductory book. It makes the work of anti-racism accessible, not only to its target teen audience, but also to anyone who wants to learn more. The journal prompts paired with the information help readers understand the importance of self-reflection, while the illustrations celebrate confidence and pride. Certainly a volume educators and librarians will want on the shelves, as well as a book important for anyone wanting to do the work of anti-racism.