Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Darkness in Light of MLK

After my rambling thoughts on how darkness isn't all bad last week, there's this quote by Dr. King:

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness.
Only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate.
Only love can do that."
       -Dr. Martin Luther King Junior

One of my very favorite stories about a child learning about Martin Luther King is in an old episode of this American Life called 'Kid Logic'.  It's one of those mouths-of-babes stories where a child somehow cuts to the center of the message of love and justice that King preached as a follower of Jesus.  And the devastating consequences of that message of love.  I found the episode here. The story starts at  minute 13:10 in Act One of the show but the whole episode is a really great piece of radio storytelling.  Be warned though, if you're anything like me you will cry your eyes out EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. you listen to it.

I don't have any other deep thoughts to offer on the subject of kids and race this year.  I have often suggested books to read to kids on racial justice and building equality.  This time around I'll let the experts make the suggestions.  The Seattle Public Library has a couple of excellent lists for children across the age spectrum: "Race and Social Justice Books for kids K-5" I think is has a few books that look suitable for younger ones as well. "Reading and Talking to Kids about Race" also has both picture books and chapter books, as does "Reading Race: Fiction for Kids."  There's in the content of their lists but it seems like a great place to start to me and to test out books that you might want to have on your own shelves.
It's a good quote for a chaotic time. 

On our bookshelves at home I try to be intentional with the picture books we purchase that the illustrations feature a diversity of characters, whether or not the stories are explicitly about race.  One of the picture books favorites for the toddler right now (one of the few that's not about animals) is Up Up Down by Canadian author Robert Munsch (maybe most famous for The Paperbag Princess  and Love you Forever) about a little girl obsessed with climbing.  Because Munsch uses real kids in almost every one of his books (including his own kids, who are black) a lot of his books feature kids of color.  We also like Something Good, which is about Munsch and his daughter.

Whatever you do this weekend, may you find rest and connection in family and community (recognizing that sometimes 'rest' and 'connection' are mutually exclusive).

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