13 Jul / How to Fight Racism Young Reader’s Edition: A Guide to Standing Up for Racial Justice by Jemar Tisby [in School Library Journal]
Jemar Tisby, who continues here as his own narrator, is a patient, thoughtful reader, remaining consistently gracious even when discussing egregious history and contemporary injustice. Tisby gets immediately personal, introducing his younger self when he realized that the predominantly white school had “all the nice stuff” while his mostly Black and brown school had “all the broken-down stuff.”
With relentless headlines about anti-Black police brutality, white supremacy, racial profiling, and worse, Tisby is forced to get real: “our world is broken.” To “fix what needs to be fixed,” he’s ready with an antidotal model: “the ARC of Racial Justice” – Awareness, Relationships, Commitment. While Tisby draws often on his Christian beliefs, his religion never proves alienating.
Verdict: “Words … can be used as weapons to beat people up or as bandages to help people heal” – Tisby’s informative kindness pushes listeners to be better.
From the introduction: All the titles here are nonfiction; most feature difficult subjects including history, climate change, systemic racism. Some might ask, why expose younger readers to challenging, unpleasant, haunting truths? One of the featured writers, Hilary Beard, provides the consummate answer back in her introduction to The Burning:
“…the fact that something is upsetting to us doesn’t mean that we should not engage it. Facing the truth empowers us to understand our self, our neighbors, and our world more accurately; to make appropriate choices and decisions; to heal the past and present and build a more promising future. Together.”
Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult