Over the past week, my inbox has been filled with people asking me for a way forward. In light of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, many are wondering, Where do I start? and, How can I faithfully prepare my child to see and treat all people with dignity rooted in the image of God?
Although countless resources are easily accessible via Google, and various lists of anti-racism childrens books have alreadybeen compiled, I can sympathize with feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about how to discuss these issues with my child.
For that reason, Im so grateful for these five childrens books that cover topics like the image of God, the evil of racism, the gospel of grace, the beauty of diversity in the church, and what faithfulness to Christ looks like in a society that in countless ways treasures white supremacy above Christ and his multiethnic, colorful kingdom.
Of course, a list of only five books on these topics is by no means exhaustive. This is simply a place for your children and, perhaps, for yourself to start.
ColorFull: Celebrating the Colors God Gave Usby Dorena Williamson (Grade: PreK2; Age: 48)
Dorena Williamson uses the many beautiful colors of nature to help children appreciate the various colors of people who are all made in Gods image. Through a delightful story of two best friends, children are taught to not be colorblind but to be colorFULL, celebrating each color God created. My favorite line: God must love color to have made all of the earths people with such wonderful shades.
Gods Very Good Ideaby Trillia Newbell (Grade: 12; Age: 48)
Every time I read this book I catch a detail I didnt see before in the unique illustrations of Catalina Echeverri. Trillia Newbells joyful writing matches these brilliant illustrations as she helps children to delight in the diversity of humanity and the church. She takes us on a quick trip through redemptive history to show us how everyone needs the Savior and how Jesus brings us into his family through faith, no matter our background. My favorite line: This is Gods very, very good idea: lots of different people enjoying loving him and loving each other.
God Made Me and Youby Shai Linne (Grade: 37; Age: 812)
I always hoped Shai Linne would write a childrens book ever since I heard his song Penelope Judd on his 2008 album Storiez. A master storyteller and skillful lyricist, Shais first book does not disappoint. He employs fun rhymes to teach about Gods design for ethnic diversity. Not only that, but the end of the book offers parents 6 Ways to Show Your Child Gods Design for Ethnic Diversity. My favorite line (also found in the accompanying song God Made Me and You on ShaisJesus Kidsalbum): Different colors and different shades / All fearfully and wonderfully made / Through each, the glory of God displayed / God made me and you.
Middle School & High School
The Gospel in Color: For Kidsby Curtis Woods and Jarvis Williams (Grade: 59; Age: 10+)
This book is a must-have for children, parents, and anyone who appreciates gorgeous, vibrant art and simple, clear teaching about complex issues like race, reconciliation, and the gospel. Each chapter provides Bible passages for further study and discussion with your child, Scripture memory, and suggested ways to pray in light of the lesson. The Gospel in Color is a theology of racial reconciliation with a kids edition and a parents edition. This week, you can download a free digital copy of the kids edition by using the discount code ICantBreathe. My favorite line: For Christians, we must absolutely oppose racism, because it is an attack upon our unity as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights MovementbyCarole Boston Weatherford (Grade: 710; Age: 1216)
I cant help but notice strong parallels between Fannie Lou Hamers life and the lives of the prophets in Scripture. She was abused, cheated, and victimized in the most traumatic ways, yet her faith in Christ and love for humanity remained unquenched. This beautifully illustrated, biographical book about an unlikely heroinea voice of the Civil Rights Movementdisplays the ugliness of systemic racism and the power of persevering hope. My favorite line: I feel sorry for anybody that could let hate wrap them up. Aint no such thing as I can hate anybody and hope to see Gods face. Out of one blood, God made all nations.
Shining a Light
These childrens books shine a light on the pervasive sinfulness of racism and the prevailing, transformative glory of the gospel. In this time of grief, anger, and despair, may these resources help us train our children in the way they should gothe way of Christ.