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Books for racist children?

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I know some racist children (/in their early teens).

 

It saddens, shocks, embarasses and frightens me - I'm trying to educate them but am not getting through to them. Their views are rooted in their fathers' ignorance but in some ways I think they are worse then he is!

 

However, I still have some faith in the power of books to change their horrible views. I'm looking for fiction mainly, perhaps some autobiographical books because I think they will be most effective in getting through to them without them realising.

 

I've noticed a lot of racist views about black people, middle-eastern, arabic, indian-asian people and also Islamaphobia.

 

[i might have imagined this, but I vaguely remember coming across a book from the perspective of a young Afghan refugee which talks of the struggles of war in his country and the struggles of dealing with the hostility received upon arriving in the UK. - would love to find this!]

 

If anyone knows of really powerful books to get through to these kids please let me know!!

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To Sir With Love, Uncle Tom's Cabin, To Kill A Mocking Bird, Roots is what immediately springs to mind.

 

Along with books dealing with racism, I think reading about stories set in different nations/cultures would also help in appreciating our differences.

 

Swami and His Friends - is set in India, and is a delightful read along the lines of Tom Sawyer.

A Long Way Gone - is a first-hand narrative of a boy-soldier from Sierra Leone

 

Children/young adults have very intense minds - but the good thing is they are also capable of startling changes - as you've rightly realised.

Good for you for wanting to influence them positively.

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I'll add my vote for To Kill A Mockingbird,a nd Uncle Tom's Cabin. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison is also a terrific read, but not sure if it's ideal for teens. There's also a Young Adult book called Bone by Bone by Bone, by Tony Johnston, which deals with the issue of race and racism.

 

Lots of luck :)

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I'd say Invisible Man, although superb, is beyond teens. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee might be too close to the bone if they're from the US... and perhaps a bit too past history for them to think it relevant to their world today (although it obviously isn't to anyone with a bit of perspective).

 

But what about books that deal with prejudice in general. Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime would work for that.

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I read Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin when I was a teenager and that helped me form the idea of the type of person I wanted to be. The Help is another good one that deals with racism and as the film is just out on DVD could be a good choice

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I can't think of any for teens, but for adults I can recommend 'Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson'.

 

Its a great biography about the first black world heavyweight boxing champion. From his slave heritage through his rise to success. Johnson fought racism from street level to government. An inspiring read.

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I've not read them, but they are on my wishlist, the Noughts and Crosses YA series by Malorie Blackman, are set in a dystopian society and have a central theme of racism. There's a whole thread about them here --> http://www.bookclubforum.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/3087-noughts-and-crosses-by-malorie-blackman

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I would recommend My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher.

 

Its about a young boys family & their stuggle to come to terms with the death of their daughter / sister.

Shes killed by a terrorist who plants a bomb.

 

Their dad through his grief and lack of understanding is racisit about muslims and thinks they are all terrorists. His son his bullied and his only friend is a muslim and its about their friendship.

 

It covers other things like bullying, grief and a little bit of religion.

 

It's a young adult read and is perfect for teens. Not a taxing read. It is written from the point of view of a 10 year old boy.

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I would recommend My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher.

 

Its about a young boys family & their stuggle to come to terms with the death of their daughter / sister.

Shes killed by a terrorist who plants a bomb.

 

Their dad through his grief and lack of understanding is racisit about muslims and thinks they are all terrorists. His son his bullied and his only friend is a muslim and its about their friendship.

 

It covers other things like bullying, grief and a little bit of religion.

 

It's a young adult read and is perfect for teens. Not a taxing read. It is written from the point of view of a 10 year old boy.

 

This sounds absolutely brilliant, thank you for sharing! I might read this myself... ! haha

 

I've not read them, but they are on my wishlist, the Noughts and Crosses YA series by Malorie Blackman, are set in a dystopian society and have a central theme of racism. There's a whole thread about them here --> http://www.bookclubf...alorie-blackman

 

I had this book in mind as I have heard great things about it, it has great reviews on amazon, a lot of teens seem to like it - Thanks for the suggestion, this does seem like a great choice.

 

Thanks to everyone for replying so far, I'm compiling a list of these books so I can check them out. Great suggestions so far, thank you.

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I would recommend a book that I have just finished - Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace. It is set in a boys boarding school during the 1980's after Mugabe came to power and was the winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2010, among others. Because of its seeing, the book addresses racism from both angles - whites against blacks and also blacks against whites, which to me at least is what makes it so interesting.

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I read Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin when I was a teenager and that helped me form the idea of the type of person I wanted to be. The Help is another good one that deals with racism and as the film is just out on DVD could be a good choice

 

I second both of those suggestions. I read Black Like Me last year, and thought it made its point very clearly. The Help is an excellent book too, and as VF says, the film is just out on DVD (I've been meaning to get hold of it myself).

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I read To Kill a Mockingbird at school and found that very powerful. The Help is also more of a lighter story but still has similar meanings, I think the film has come out too so maybe that would be better for children?

 

Andie x

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Reunion by Fred Uhlman is an excellent book for this age range. I read it at school as a teen and found it very touching. It's the story of a friendship between a German boy and a Jewish boy, based in Nazi Germany. It's quite short as a book, and very well written, which allows you to fully appreciate the story. I would strongly recommend it.

 

Deborah

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What about The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison? It deals with some harsh topics, but it's a very powerful book

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What about The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison? It deals with some harsh topics, but it's a very powerful book

 

I wouldn't suggest that to a kid in their early teens, because there's

violence and incest in the novel

.

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I just read Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli and immediately thought of this thread.

It's an award-winning YA book which deals with racism - and has a twelve year old homeless boy as its protagonist.

A wonderful, uplifting read.

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I remember reading Malorie Blackman's Noughts and Crosses when I was in school, it was a class text we all had to read, it focuses directly on racism and prejudice. Coming from a school where there were people of many different races and nationalities it really hit home for a lot of my classmates (myself included) so I would heavily recommend that as it's very teen orientated.

 

I think Judy Blume's Iggy's House has already been mentioned, that would be a good one too, considerably shorter than Blackman's novels.

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My mother bore me in the southern wild,

And I am black, but O, my soul is white!

White as an angel is the English child,

But I am black, as if bereaved of light.

 

My mother taught me underneath a tree,

And, sitting down before the heat of day,

She took me on her lap and kissed me,

And, pointing to the East, began to say:

 

'Look at the rising sun: there God does live,

And gives His light, and gives His heat away,

And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive

Comfort in morning, joy in the noonday.

 

'And we are put on earth a little space,

That we may learn to bear the beams of love;

And these black bodies and this sunburnt face

Are but a cloud, and like a shady grove.

 

'For when our souls have learn'd the heat to bear,

The cloud will vanish, we shall hear His voice,

Saying, "Come out from the grove, my love and care,

And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice."'

 

Thus did my mother say, and kissed me,

And thus I say to little English boy.

When I from black and he from white cloud free,

And round the tent of God like lambs we joy,

 

I'll shade him from the heat till he can bear

To lean in joy upon our Father's knee;

And then I'll stand and stroke his silver hair,

And be like him, and he will then love me.

 

The Little Black Boy - William Blake :-)

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Black Boy or Native Son, or anything by Richard Wright. I'm surprised he hasn't been mentioned.

 

What is the What by Dave Eggers.

 

I can't think of any for teens, but for adults I can recommend 'Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson'.

 

Its a great biography about the first black world heavyweight boxing champion. From his slave heritage through his rise to success. Johnson fought racism from street level to government. An inspiring read.

 

I'd have to agree with this, as I'm a sucker for anything boxing. Any biography on Joe Louis or Muhammad Ali would work well too, as they were both massive figures in advancing African American culture and legends in their own right.

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I read Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin when I was a teenager and that helped me form the idea of the type of person I wanted to be. The Help is another good one that deals with racism and as the film is just out on DVD could be a good choice

 

I read Black Like Me at school and like you VF it had a very big impact on me. I can still remember the indignation I felt at the different way he was treated, purely due to his colour. Have just finished The Help and thought it was excellent too.

 

This is a song from South Pacific

 

You've Got To Be Carefully Taught

 

You've got to be taught

To hate and fear,

You've got to be taught

From year to year,

It's got to be drummed

In your dear little ear

You've got to be carefully taught.

 

You've got to be taught to be afraid

Of people whose eyes are oddly made,

And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,

You've got to be carefully taught.

 

You've got to be taught before it's too late,

Before you are six or seven or eight,

To hate all the people your relatives hate,

You've got to be carefully taught!

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This is a song from South Pacific

 

You've Got To Be Carefully Taught

...

Amazing poem poppy.

So very true.

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I'd go for non-fiction, not fiction - they sound old enough. Go for aomething in archaeology about human origins, or somethign that talks about 19th century anthropologists and how they studied different races, compared to modern views.

 

It's an interesting problem though - what perogative do you have to tell them that their views are wrong? Will their father be angry if you're trying to change their minds about the issue? If they were homophobic and you showed them books on sexuality, or they were Christian an dyou showed them books about how god is probably not real, I can imagine offending the family. I know it's a lot less socially acceptable to be racist, but it's still someone else's children. Not saying I wouldn't air my views as well in that situation! Just thinking about the tension it can create.

 

And while I'd let people know about my alternative views, answer any questions etc, I can't imagine handing the next door teenagers my copy of 'The God Delusion' and telling them to be more critical of their faith. I might to an adult, but for children that's sort of up to the parents.

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