Research from Harvard University suggests that children exposed to racism tend to accept and embrace it as young as age 3, even if they don't fully understand it. Their bias can be as developed as an adults.
One way to prevent this bias is to acknowledge and name racism. An effective tool for this is through reading children's books starting at a young age. These books can be the starting point for important conversations and what it means to resist oppression.
Here is just a sample of children's books curated by critical literacy organizations and teachers.
- Something Happened in Our Town, a Child's Story About Racial Injustice by M. Celano
- A Kids Book About Racism by Jelani Memory
- Do Like Kyla by Angela Johnson
- Let the Children March by Monica Clark Robinson
- A Boy Like You by Frank Murphy
- Smoky Nights by Eve Bunting
- Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills by Renée Watson
- Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
- Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
- Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney
- The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
- Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters by Andrea Davis Pinkney
- The Stone Thrower by Jael Ealey Richardson
- The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles
- Daddy, There’s A Noise Outside by Kenneth Braswell
To read more on the Harvard study, take a look at the following links:
How Racism Harms Children by the Harvard Health Publishing
Children's Responses to Group-Based Inequalities: Perpetuation and Rectification study by Harvard's Mahzarin R. Banaji