Tiffany Jewell’s book, This Book is Anti-Racist, is not just a fantastic book for youth who are looking to increase their own activism. It is also a tool for young adults to make sense of their own identities and to dive deeply into issues of privilege. Jewell does a remarkable job of conveying the importance of activism, without making it seem like this will be easy for teens who are still concerned with social image.
I was lucky enough to receive an Advance Reader Copy of this book through NetGalley and Frances Lincoln Children’s Books. It is one of the best tools that I think a family or classroom could have to introduce a variety of identity groups, institutional racism, and methods for combating racism in communities. In a relatively short text, Jewell provides an enormous amount of information. While this could have been overwhelming, Jewell thoughtfully includes opportunities for reflection at the end of each chapter in her book (there are 20 chapters, so many opportunities to reflect). Readers are asked to think deeply about their own identities, their histories, and their actions when they encounter racism in their communities. These opportunities for reflection also allow for readers to process the large amount of information that is packed into each chapter of the book.
While the information throughout the text is very intense and readers might start to feel a bit overwhelmed by all that they are facing as anti-racism activists, the illustrations by Aurélia Durand are bright and vibrant, showing the power and energy of small groups and individuals taking action against injustice. While Jewell never makes it seem like the journey will be easy, this book provides hope that young activists will prevail.
Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards:
Justice 13: I can explain the short and long-term impact of biased words and behaviors and unjust practices, laws and institutions that limit the rights and freedoms of people based on their identity groups.
Justice 14: I am aware of the advantages and disadvantages I have in society because of my membership in different identity groups, and I know how this has affected my life.
Action 17: I take responsibility for standing up to exclusion, prejudice and injustice.
Action 18: I have the courage to speak up to people when their words, actions or views are biased and hurtful, and I will communicate with respect even when we disagree.
Action 19: I stand up to exclusion, prejudice and discrimination, even when it’s not popular or easy or when no one else does.
RI.5- Analyze in detail how an author’s ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text (e.g., a section or chapter).
RI.6- Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose.