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.
1/7/20 What an excellent read! This is targeted at children/young adults, but it definitely is for everyone. It's a great place to start your journey of being anti-racist -- it's also just a good book if you want to make sure that you have all of the basics down. Strong points here are definitely its accessibility and dare I say its aesthetic :)
30/6/20 I got this book because I thought it looked both very accessible and helpful :)
What a great classroom resource! THIS BOOK IS ANTI-RACIST is part workbook and part history book and part instructional guide. Even though it's pretty short, TBIAR talks about everything from privilege to institutional racism to how you can go about calling out problematic behavior and whether it should be public or private (there's a series of questions you should ask yourself).
I really liked the illustrations from Aurelia Durand: they're bright and colorful and give this a really fun vibe that's reminiscent of the guides published by the American Girl imprint. The tone is conversational, simple, but doesn't talk down, and I liked how the author gave history and context behind a lot of the inequality that plagues multiple countries (not just the U.S.), and the types of questions that readers can ask themselves to do better.
One thing that was new to me was the term "folx." I Googled it and there's over a million results, but a lot of them refer to the Firefox software system. I guess it's a gender neutral term for people to use to describe themselves, but I didn't think "folks" was gender specific? Latinx and Filipinx, for example, come from languages that have "gendered" nouns, so the replacement of the "a" or the "o" serve as a means to respect and acknowledge people who don't wish to be associated with a specific gender. I was confused and unfamiliar with the term, but it's always cool to learn about a new means of identifying people because knowing is half the battle.
TBIAR is a book that will most likely teach you something new about yourself or about others, and provide you with a tool kit you can use to call out problematic behavior, look at whether you're doing any of your own, and also give you ideas on how you can either work more proactively against discrimination and/or use your own privilege to benefit others with less. It's a really great book and I think it's an amazing classroom resource for teachers. I'm telling my teacher friends all about this one!
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!
5★ “Someone described racism to me as the smog we breathe. It is all around us; racism is everywhere.”
This is a smart, eye-catching book for anyone, really. It’s aimed at teens and young people, but it’s just as useful and informative for adults who want to know how to make a difference, whether it’s in their own lives as the targets of racism or as the unwitting perpetrators of it.
I was recently helping someone with a psychology paper that included a discussion of the damage caused by “subtle racism”, known as “microagressions”. (Incidentally, the word “folx” is used instead of the customary “folks” in order to be all-inclusive for marginalised people, much as other words now have an X on the end, like Latinx, to make them gender-neutral and inclusive.)
“A microaggression is an intentional or unintentional insult, slight, or hostile, negative message to folx who do not ﬁt into the imaginary box of dominant culture. They can occur anytime and anywhere. Sometimes microaggressions are spoken, like someone saying, ‘WHERE WERE YOU BORN?’ to an Asian British person in London.
When you experience microaggressions repeatedly, the effects accumulate and can lead to low self-esteem, depression, poor health, and thinking the stereotypes are true. Believing that you are inferior, acting on the negative messages about folx of the same race as you, and even denying your ethnic and cultural heritage are examples of internalized racism.”
It’s an easy trap to fall into, to ask someone what their ethnic background is because they ‘look’ exotic or interesting or different. And that’s the point. Different from what? The so-called ‘norm’? The more this happens to you, the more out-of-place you may feel, part of some ‘subordinate culture’ and a lesser person.
Well, hello. Wake up and speak up.
“You have the right to be seen.”
“I do not use the term “minority” to describe Black, Brown, and Indigenous folx because we are the majority in the world. Using the language of racism can minimize our full selves. It can allow us to forget our deepest roots and ancestors; it allows us to create a history that, while in our own voices, has been shaped by the oppressor.”
“My history begins with me.”
There are countless illustrations and activities, references, suggested reading, quotations, and inspiring examples to whet anyone’s appetite for action. There are lists to make, and the author begins with one of her own.
“Activity: I am. . .”
So get yourself a notebook and get one you like, because you’re going to keep it handy to keep writing things down and doing the activities. It’s about inclusion considering all of the other categories we put people in: transgender, poor, neuro-diverse, religious, and so on.
“Create your identity map.”
It’s a terrific resource that I reckon could be useful in almost any school or community group, and I can see it being an interesting learning tool for kids of all backgrounds to ask themselves these questions.
Thanks to #NetGalley and Quarto Publishing’s Frances Lincoln’s Children for the preview copy from which I've copied a few illustrations.
If you're looking for a book that not only informs but brings to light some very important topics, Tiffany Jewell's book is where it's at.
This book goes over racism, personal growth, identity, and general lessons on how to be a good person. It's the kind of positive book I needed when I was younger and I'm sure people today need to read. We're all different and differences can make us stronger. Why destroy others for their differences?
I could easily see classrooms and educational groups picking this book up. It makes learning about the topics of gender and racial differences very simple and makes understanding so easy.
My only negative about this book is the illustrations are kind of weird. Some of them sat strangely with me and I felt they creeped me out more than fit with the story. The colour is bright and amazing though. Otherwise, this book is a gem!
Four out of five stars.
Thank you to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group - Frances Lincoln Children's Books for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.
This book was a far bigger education than I expected and than I realized I needed. I have always thought of myself as not being racist but by reading this book and understanding the difference between not being racist and actively being anti-racist I have a wholly changed perspective.
"When you know better, do better." Maya Angelou
I believe this book is targeted towards young adult readers, but I would encourage adults to read this book as well. And if you have kids...read it to them or give it to them! The writing is factual but reader friendly and totally accessible. There are exercises to do throughout the book that ask you to get introspective and sit with your own feelings and beliefs. To think about your personal history. To give thought to what you can do to be anti-racist in your everyday life.
The book serves not only as a educational tool but also provides actionable steps everyone can take whether it's calling out those around you or being a great co-conspirator in the fight against racism. As a white cisgender woman I had not given that much thought to my inherent privilege and that is one of the biggest points of the book. It forces you to look at yourself and your situation and recognize things you may not have given much thought to before.
I highly recommend giving this book a read and taking the time to do the exercises. Tiffany Jewell shares so much of her personal experience and the book is punctuated with great artwork and quotes. This book is a must, not only in today's climate, but to understand how we got here an how to change things going forward.
This didn’t quite meet expectations for me. Although there are some absolutely fantastic moments throughout (and it’s beautifully designed), this book seemed somewhat disorganized and incomplete—especially if it’s supposed to serve as an introduction to antiracism for young readers. I found myself feeling confused sometimes about the depth (or lack thereof) of information shared. Who was the target audience here? What are we assuming they know? The answers to these questions feel different depending on where you’re at in the book.
I was also expecting to find a variety of unique and engaging activities inside as per the book’s subtitle, but this didn’t end up being the case. The activities included are all simple journal prompts—some were excellent discussion starters, but others felt lackluster.
I definitely wouldn’t discourage anyone from picking this up, but I didn’t quite find what I was looking for (as a teacher) with this one.
I imagine I might be attacked for my low rating. If so, I won’t engage with you, so please don’t waste your time and mine. The author is young, sincere, and arrogant. She even admitted she does not listen to others particularly well. She thinks she knows it all and she doesn’t. Now, let me emphasize something: her basic point is 100% correct. BIPOC and the various other marginalized groups definitely have a more difficult time in many ways. But painting white straight males as the entire problem and the reason why institutional racism is still around isn’t fair. If you want allies, don’t antagonize them. She even admitted she did that with one white male friend and still hasn’t learnt the lesson.
Next, she isn’t much of a historian. On page 63 she writes “These schools (American residential schools for Indians) were the model for the residential schools in Australia and New Zealand. On the prior page she notes that Indian boarding schools started in 1860. Yet right after the quote on p. 63, she states “In 1814 they (residential schools) were set up by Christian churches and funded by the British government.” Let’s not automatically blame everything on American system of racism. American residential schools might have been influenced by British examples, but it certainly wasn’t the other way around, not unless the Brits had time travel and used it to see what the Americans would be doing in the future!
My problem with this book, is that she is young and has the arrogance of youth who KNOW they know it all. Her suggestions might have merit for other young adults who need to start examining the shocking news that they were brought up with many racist assumptions. It likely isn’t news to adults who have lived a while and read newspaper headlines as they matured, that the world they grew up in has changed drastically and their parents were wrong in certain things. Those adults who haven’t realized this are not likely to read this preachy book and if they do, are likely to be antagonized by the righteous attitude of the author. I was antagonized, and I agree with the basic premise that there is a lot of institutional racism that needs to be yanked out and redone.
Not recommended except for other young adults who are anxious to try to change their world. Good luck, but if you are young and reading my review, please remember that the world is not easily spilt up into right and wrong. It is various shades of both and it can be hard to distinguish what is indeed wrong and need to be redone from the ground up and what simply needs change of some degree, hopefully from within an organization, with input from outside pressure. Older adults might have suggestions that are valid.
I just can’t with “folx”—folks is already gender-neutral! As is “people,” which is also a perfectly good word for a group of humans. So that was unnecessarily distracting. *end rant*
As for the book itself, it’s fine for what it’s trying to do. There are sections that gave me flashbacks to the cheesy self esteem programs we did in elementary school. There’s a history section, which I thought was the weakest because it was really disjointed. It was like, this happened, then in a different century on a different continent, this happened, now here’s a random statistic. I think it could have been pulled together a lot more coherently, either chronologically or by theme. I did like that she included the UK and Europe, since we normally only talk about race in America. The last section is about how to get involved and that was the strongest.
Oh, also, I’m not clear what age this is for. It says YA, but it felt younger a lot of the time (but sort of jumped back and forth). So sort of upper middle grade/young YA/junior high?
Wow. I loved everything about this book! The historical content, lessons, activities, terms and definitions, and the personal connections the author made to her own life. I realized just how much my schooling was whitewashed, and I think my students will too.
I really hope there are better books out there for teaching young people how to be anti-racist. This book does have 20 chapters, but other than some nice self-reflection exercises, the author does not give 20 lessons on how to “take action and do the work.” When it comes to practical strategies, she gives two: 1) call people in, or 2) call people out. I believe when one is looking for allies, calling people in works much better. But the author admits her preference for calling people out, so here goes. The writing felt incredibly patronizing, which is usually not well-received by snarky young people. For example, the author’s note at the beginning of the book includes "It is okay for you to continue on with this book and I am so proud of you for picking this up and opening these pages." I immediately pictured 12-year old Sheri thinking “I bought the damn book, I don’t need your freaking permission to read it. And you know precisely nothing about me, so telling me you’re proud of me is precisely stupid.” Then I pictured 12-year old Sheri slamming the book down and looking for something better to read. (Apparently, that snarky 12-year old still lives in my head!) When text is formatted with both left and right margin alignment (as this book is), the result is inconsistent gaps between words. I personally dislike it very much! But, despite personal preference, I also know that it can be extremely disorienting—therefore difficult to read—for people with dyslexia. I doubt this is common knowledge, but editors and typesetters should know it, so I’m calling out whoever made the ugly (and exclusionary) text-alignment decision. I had a couple of other issues, but enough said. As learning to be anti-racist is important to me, I’ll be looking for better books on the topic.
This book should be required reading and used as a textbook for students in grades 6-12. Jewell uses clear language, personal stories, self-reflection prompts, historical snapshots and accessible action steps to teach and inspire young people to be actively anti-racist in their daily lives.
The illustrations are vibrant also!
I also recommend this for adults who are parents, caregivers, educators or who serve youth in other roles — those adults in search of an accessible and succinct introduction to anti-racist theory and practice.
This book is definitely aimed towards teens and tweens so if you're looking for in-depth information, this might not be the resource for you. That being said, this book does offer tidbits and statistics about race that aren't common knowledge to many. I learned about the Grenfell tower fire and the Windrush generation in the U.K., for instance. I also appreciated the guide in the back with suggestions as to what the average citizen can do to be actively anti-racist.
This book blends personal experiences with historical references and uses data, brightly illustrated infographics, suggested activities, and recommendations for working in solidarity against racism to serve as a call to action for all interested co-conspirators. This is a must-have purchase for middle and high school classroom and school libraries.
"Someone described racism to me as the smog we breathe. It is all around us; racism is everywhere. Our lives are polluted with racism and it harms us all. The more we are aware of this smog of racism, the better equipped we can become to combat this toxic way of being."
Between the adamant prose and joyful artwork, this book is required reading for adults and kids alike!
The focus of each chapter follows a natural progression from personal identity to collective awareness to transformative action; each chapter also offers reflective writing exercises to relate the material back to the reader’s own life.
What I appreciate most about Jewell’s words is how she manages to be so clear-eyed and concise without dumbing down any of these topics for young readers. No, on the contrary, she brings young people in like peers and vessels of their own wisdom and experience, capable of changing the world around them through personal fortitude.
I ordered this book for a 6th grade class at my school, and was so happy to see multiple students request it and ask me questions about it after the colorful artwork caught their eye. On a side note: the format of this book makes it a powerful window into engaging nonfiction texts, especially for students who are reluctant to leave the graphic novel landscape.
I can’t wait to usher this book into all our middle school classrooms and see where the conversation takes us.
I love how this book presents a balance of straightforward information (quick but critical glimpses of history & systems) with action items & work-book style reflection prompts. This book is great for any age & is also a wonderful tool for parents/educators to engage in conversations & actions around racism & identity. I plan to revisit this book over & over again as a personal tool for doing anti-racist work & as a parenting guide.
The author’s definition of racism is “personal prejudice and bias AND the systemic misuse and abuse of power by institutions.” I feel strongly that the author uses this definition of racism to justify her own (obvious) “personal prejudice and bias” towards people who fit into what she calls the “box” (white, male, educated, cis, etc.). If the book weren’t full of her own personal prejudices, there would still be the issue of how she says to address racism as an anti racist. I have zero problems with her suggestion to call people out and call people in (public vs private). But those are really the only suggestions she gives. I think she mentions creating antiracist art maybe once, but that’s it. There are many other ways to be antiracist, and I wish that this book included ways more suited to introverts. Mostly though, the biggest reason I disliked this book was because of the authors own personal prejudice and basically saying that it wasn’t a problem because her personal prejudices do not contribute to the “systemic misuse and abuse of power by institutions.” Adding though that the art in this book is wonderful! I give 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ to illustrator Aurélia Durand.
A beautiful book, bright and creatively illustrated with the most important message. I believe this book would be suitable for not only school age (teenagers) but older as it is so well done. Presented well, easily understood, written in plain English and each chapter has different activities. It has 20 lessons for anti-racism teaching about privilege, inclusion, conscious and unconscious choices. I recommend this book for everyone. A truly beautiful and much needed book.
Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
This book was sent to me by scholastic in a fourth grade pack. I can’t imagine why any fourth grader needs to know what cisgender means. At every turn of the page I learned a new way people are offended. My fourth graders would not get the term micro aggression at all. Why would I teach them to be more offended? What an awful way to live. The idea of sticking this on an elementary bookshelf is absolutely ridiculous.
This reminds me so much of the how to be a pre-teen girl books released by American Girl when I was a kid (in tone and writing style if not in subject). This is a perfect intro to anti-racism for the 12-14 age range, broken into simple, easily digestible chunks and featuring gorgeous, colorful illustrations and activities that will be perfect for classroom or youth group use.
Like many, I'm sure, there have been numerous occasions in my life in which I have found myself feeling disheartened about change. I've been in moments where I was unsure what I could possibly do to fix the horrible things I saw in the world, moments where I felt like everything I tried was useless. I guarantee at some point or another we all end up in that space. The thing I love about This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell and illustrated by Aurélia Durand is that it offers an opportunity to move past those moments of feeling helpless and provides readers with actionable goals.
I will always be immensely grateful to resources like this. It is an unfortunate thing about this world and people in general that we often choose the easy path with nearly everything. This is actually rooted in our own psychology, the inclination that leads us toward taking shortcuts and not putting in the extra effort required for nearly everything. And while this is something everyone, including myself, need to work hard to combat every day it is nonetheless immensely helpful when books like this are put together. Not only do they bring the history and material to educate others on topics like racism and the difference between being not racist and being anti-racist, but they offer life-applicable goals and information to lead readers toward the next steps they must take.
This Book is Anti-Racist is an incredibly pertinent read, one that literally everyone can benefit from picking up. The fact of the matter is that when you don't know everything and you're not sure how to go about fighting for much-needed change, you have resources available and ready to help you. This book is one of those resources and I have high hopes that it will help many people develop a better understanding of racism and pave a path forward of purposeful action to bring about change.
And yes, while I did find the phrasing of folx distracting and unnecessary--I don't know the history, but I'm pretty sure the word folks is gender-neutral--the most important take-away from this book has nothing to do with a single word choice. So, please, don't let that one word pull you away from the broader importance of the message this book is sending.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Although this book was written for a teen/young adult audience, as a 40-something white woman I got a lot out of it. I learned some factual information that I didn't know before, and I am glad the author used examples from around the world to show how racism permeates across boundaries and isn't just an issue in the US. In showing this issue as a global one then utilizing the term "Folx of the Global Majority", the author helps to change the mindset that BIPoC are 'minority', because in a global sense, they are not and we as white people need to understand this. Also, as someone who has a minor in Sociology focusing on diversity and understanding the different people that make up our community, this book has given me tools to help address these issues with other white people who may not understand what privileges we hold because we identify as white. Sometimes I get so frustrated trying to explain to friends, family and others and can't always articulate it, but the language in this books gives me the tools to be able to do so without sounding academic (which seems to be a turnoff nowadays). Also, the physical aspects of this book are fantastic and on a sensory level: feel, colors, fonts, etc., make it exceptionally easy to read as it helps to bring it alive. I grew up poor and white, and didn't really understand how my whiteness benefitted me until I got older and learned. Now I am always looking to how I can use my privilege to help my community and I think holding a workshop of this book with white teens and young adults is one of the answers. By helping a younger generation understand the bigger picture and giving them the tools to help change it, we can do more, and longer to confront this and make it right.
I sincerely hope this is stocked in every school library across the UK and US, but though it is indeed aimed predominantly at a YA audience, there is still so much that adult readers like myself can take from it. Every point discussed is applicable and educational no matter your age, and I was pleasantly surprised by how wide the book’s scope was, especially when considering its relative brevity and the complexity of the issue it’s addressing.
Jewell writes with clarity, compassion and warmth, articulating her every point without condescending those who may be newer to the concepts of engrained racism and white privilege. Her approach is wonderfully intersectional and nuanced, incorporating many factors that comprise our individual identity and socioeconomic background. I think she struck a perfect balance between personal experience and wider societal examples when backing up her arguments, and though most historical detail is centred around the UK and US, she does draw on instances of systematic racism from throughout the world. This was a very welcome touch, as it’s something not often seen in a book that feels as succinct and digestible as this does.
I also adore how self-aware Jewell is as both an anti-racism campaigner and a human being. She is not at all shy in highlighting her own privileges and flaws, even detailing specific examples where she feels she as a biracial woman handled race-related issues poorly. By showing that we’re all constantly learning and improving, she essentially gives her readers permission to make mistakes when tackling societal prejudices and their own inherited biases, thus fuelling them to always strive for better within themselves. After all, you can’t make mistakes if you aren’t trying, and trying is proof that you care.
Calls to action and activity suggestions at the end of each chapter encourage us all to be more proactive and self-critical when considering how we (singularly and collectively) can tackle racism moving forward. They provide excellent opportunities to reflect on and analyse where we stand at any given time, and equip us with the tools necessary to safely recognise, challenge, and overturn everyday racism.
Highly recommended to young adults and adults alike
This is such a well written book, I don't know where to start :-) As a white male, I can safely say I learned a few things and most importantly got a seriously well documented scaffold to build conversations with my kiddo. The book covers a lot of topics, but in short enough chapters that it allows anyone to either take note, focus on each activities at the end of the chapters, or switch back and forth to re-read the content. I love the fact that it ends with some clear vocabulary explanation and a very good list of further reads and other supporting literary work. Everybody should read it. And I seriously mean everybody. This would give all of us a chance to speak the same language on being anti-racists and perpetuating it.
Great book for students/teachers/humans. Will definitely use this in class next semester. I appreciate the activities and journaling component, and the illustrations! I would supplement Chapter 5 on institutional racism with more examples and articles. Here is a quote from the book, toward the end, "Your awareness of yourself, your privilege and power continues to grow. Your understanding of how racism came to be such an integral part of our global and local societies continues to expand. You are able to interrupt, disrupt, and take action with growing strategy and confidence. And you are ready to work in solidarity with others. You are a part of something big. You're writing your history and ours" (Jewell 147).
Concise, smart, and engaging. The best part about this book are the activities/prompts at the end of most of the 20 lessons. It makes this book a great teaching tool and a way for readers to look inward. I filled 10 pages journaling. I loved the illustrations and the way this is structured, it makes it digestible for young people but also adults. Definitely recommend!
This book breaks down what it means to be anti-racist and is a wonderful primer for YA and adults as well. There are-activities at the end each chapter that provide thought provoking ways to cement the ideas and the use of imagery and quotations also make the learning more layered and meaningful. Highly recommended!