Teaching Our Kids to Celebrate Diversity :: A Collection of Resources for Birmingham Moms

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It’s no secret the year 2020 has been the year of all years. There is so much heartbreak in our world right now. I think we can all agree that a lot needs to change and it is overwhelming. 

The moms at Birmingham Mom Collective want to see an end to racism. We want to see lasting change in our city and our country — change that values all humans, gives dignity to all people, and celebrates the beauty in our diverse city. Birmingham has a history deep in racism, unfortunately. While we cannot change history, we can change our future and it starts with the present — in our very homes. Our living rooms, our dinner tables, and our backyards are places where the change can begin. We can start by teaching the next generation.

teaching our kids to celebrate diversity

Birmingham Mom Collective has collaborated to bring you resources to teach your children to celebrate diversity and pursue equality with everyone. Contributors Emily, Katie, and Brittany worked together on this list. We hope these resources are not just helpful, but also unique ideas that you may have not seen elsewhere. It is important to us that we provide you with resources that have been used by us either with our own children or with children in our professional lives as teachers and counselors.

Books

Books that Address Human Rights 

These books are ideal for the older elementary crowd, but they can also be used as read-alouds for younger children. 

  • Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan 
    This book was used to primarily teach the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We learn about a little girl whose life was changed when they were forced to leave their home and become migrant workers. There isn’t just talk about how badly Hispanics were treated during this time, but it also shows the main character changing her views about social classes throughout the novel. 
  • Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America by Sharon Robinson
    Jackie’s story should capture the attention of a sports fanatic! It’s eye opening to read about what he experienced, and open discussions on racial injustice are easier with such a beloved topic as sports.
  • My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Christine King Farris
    In this book, we can see MLK, Jr. as a child and what he experienced growing up. Most of us know King as an adult, but getting a glimpse of his childhood helps us understand what shaped him as an adult. 
  • Dark Water Rising by Marian Hale
    This is an incredible story of the Galveston Hurricane that destroyed the island in the early 1900s. In it, though, the lead character Seth becomes friends with an African American boy named Eszra and they venture through racial injustice of that time. Injustice isn’t the main theme of this book, but kids will discover this theme anyway. They will pick it apart and devour this book!

Books with Themes of Injustice

In this series of books, kids can compare how location or life circumstances can change their access to something. Themes of injustice and mistreatment of other humans can be repeatedly discussed. 

Books on Diversity

Exposing children to images and art that reflect a variety of races, ethnicities, and cultures can be just as important as books that directly address race. Here are a few books with beautiful pictures that can bring diversity to children’s book collections.

Books with Activities 

Katie did these activities with her son. The links provided take you to YouTube videos of the books, so you can just watch the video before doing the activity! 

Diverse Paper Dolls

  • The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
    My three year old has rarely verbalized noticing variations in skin colors, but I knew it was time to begin being more direct about the importance of acknowledging differences. I explained how all people have different shades of skin, which is what makes people so beautiful. Using our crayon box, we identified all different colors people can be and I gave him language to talk about this. We made a chain of paper dolls and my son picked out different colors to represent his different friends. Seeing him color these sweet friends holding hands is an image I know I’ll hold for a long time.
teaching our kids to celebrate diversity - diverse paper dolls

Flags of the World

  • Whoever You Are by Mom Fox
    I want to teach the lesson that people all around the world may look different and live different than we do but that some things remain the same (love, laughter, joy, beauty). I let my child pick out flags, and together we cut and glued them together to make a banner. Then we googled these countries to learn more about their culture, their geography, and their traditions. 
teaching our kids to celebrate diversity - flags of the world

Protest Signs

  • I am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer
    Noticing and appreciating differences is not enough. I want to teach my child to speak up when injustice occurs. We talked about the meaning of protest: when there are rules in place or actions being taken that hurt people, especially because of their color, we speak up and say this isn’t okay. Together, we drew protest signs that we placed in our yard and other appropriate locations.
teaching our kids to celebrate diversity - protest signs


Teaching through Art

Videos and Songs 

  • The Bible Project: What is Justice? This video produced by The Bible Project explains what justice is in a kid-friendly way that teaches why it is important to stand for justice. 
“Different colors and different shades
All fearfully and wonderfully made
Through each, the glory of God displayed
God made me and you”
-Shai Linne
 

Resources for Parents

Hey, it’s not just the kids that need to learn! Sometimes we as parents need to know where and how to start the conversation with our kids. 

We hope that you will take the time to use this resources! Together we can make a difference in our city, state, and country by teaching our children to value and celebrate all humans. In the words of Toby Mac from the video shared above, we’re more beautiful when we come together! Moms, we can’t do it all (even though we try!), but we can do this: let’s come together and raise up the next generation to love each other well. 
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Brittany was born in Birmingham and grew up in the Cahaba Heights community. She recently moved back to Birmingham after spending the past twelve years in the Huntsville area. Brittany graduated from Auburn University and is an elementary teacher. Since moving back to Birmingham she is a special needs paraeducator. Brittany and her husband, Brent, have three kids, ages 10, 6, and 4. Brittany is a long time blogger on her personal blog at A Merry Heart. Her hobbies include writing, cooking, and laughing. Brittany loves to tell a good story, especially about people she knows and loves. She hopes to tell stories that make you laugh, encourage you, or leave you inspired. Brittany finds beauty in community and hopes you feel like family anytime you sit at her table. She’s a simple gal that loves Jesus, her family, coffee, and intentional time with others.

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