Three Children’s Books About Race

Recently, my daughter-in-law and I were discussing the lack of diversity in children’s books. Bible story books, in particular, seemed to draw Biblical people lily white, when in reality they would have been Middle Eastern in appearance.

Not long afterward, I came across What God’s Family Looks Like, a post from The Story Warren about children’s books that deal with race. I looked up the main book mentioned, then followed a rabbit trail of recommended reading. I ended up getting these three books.

Why be colorblind when we can be colorFULL insteadThe first is Colorfull: Celebrating the Colors God Gave Us by Dorena Williamson, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu. I love the tagline: “Why be colorblind when we can be colorFULL instead?”

The back of the book says this:

Imani and Kayla are the best of friends who are learning to celebrate their different skin colors. As they look around them at the amazing colors in nature, they can see that their skin is another example of God’s creativity! This joyful story takes a new approach to discussing race: instead of being colorblind, we can choose to celebrate each color God gave us and be colorFULL instead.

Imani’s Granny Mac helps gives the kids some perspective. My daughter-in-law said she wished adults would read this book, too.

When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner, illustrated by David Catrow, doesn’t explain or emphasize race: the story just incorporates it naturally as part of who God made you to be. God planned each person with their particular gifts, appearances, personalities, etc. to reflect His image.

One line in this gave me pause: “Have faith but love more.” At first it seemed to downplay faith. But you could also read it as saying, “Have faith, but don’t stop there: love others.”

An inside page:

Trillia Newbell’s God’s Very Good Idea (illustrated by Catalina Echeverri) took several weeks to get here. I hope that means lots of people are buying it!

Trillia begins at the beginning: with creation. Making people, and making them in all different colors and varieties, was God’s idea. They would “all enjoy loving him and all enjoy loving each other . . . reflecting what God is like.”

But the first people chose to disobey God. That plunged all of us into sin. We don’t love God or each other as we ought. “Sometimes we treat others badly because they are different than us.”

But part of God’s very good plan was sending Jesus to come and live on earth, to show us how to love, to die on the cross so we could be forgiven, and to rise from the dead, and to give us the Holy Spirit to help us live for Him.

He also gave us the church as a foretaste of what it will be like in heaven some day, “lots of different people enjoying loving him and loving each other.”

I love that Trillia’s story is couched firmly in the Bible and the gospel. She gives an overview of creation, sin, and redemption in words a child could understand.

I didn’t get a chance to read these with my grandson. I sent him home with them. But I hope he enjoys them!

I believe children need to be taught early that God created all people in His image.

Now that I look again at the post I first mentioned, I see a whole list that I must have forgotten to look up when I got distracted earlier. So I will probably explore some of those. Now that we have some books with a good, Biblical worldview about race, I’d love to find some that just show kids of all different colors naturally as characters in a story.

Do you know of any good books for kids along these lines?

(Sharing with InstaEncouragement, Worth Beyond Rubies, Grace and Truth,
Hearth and Soul, Senior Salon, Booknificent Thursday)

Laudable Linkage

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I usually share these on Saturday, but I needed to wrap up the Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge yesterday. Here are some great reads if you have time:

Who Is the Holy Spirit? “If your ideas about the Spirit are divorced from the clear truths of Scripture, you will go astray into all kinds of error and ultimately damage the cause of Christ.”

The Benefit of Yielding to Jesus. Two different meanings of the word “yield,” and one leads to the other.

The Way He Should Go. “I heard the same proverb referenced by all sorts…What I didn’t frequent hear was what ‘the way they should go’ consists of.”

What’s To Be Done? Potentially, Nothing Else., HT to Challies. “In the end, there may not be anything more to do beyond the ongoing, slow Word-based ministry and giving the Spirit enough room to move without our insistence on more and more stuff to do.”

The Most Frightening Three Words, HT to Challies. A well-meaning “How are you?” can unsettle those suffering with a long-term illness or chronic pain. They don’t want to overload you, and they may not feel like going into it. Kimberly shares a better approach.

Cameraman, Lend a Hand,” HT to Challies. I’ve often wondered, when watching a video of a child crying or someone in distress, why the person filming doesn’t put down the phone and help.

Seven Questions to Ask in Evaluating Online Pundits, HT to Challies. “The digital revolution has made knowledge more accessible, the flow of information more diverse, and the ability to make your voice heard easier than ever before. The same revolution has also made invincible ignorance more sustainable, pervasive crankery more common, and the ability to discern what voices are worth listening to harder than ever before.”

Should “Broken” Genes Be Fixed? My daughter changed the way I think about that question, HT to Proclaim and Defend. “We believe the world is a better place for having kids like her in it, and we want the world to think hard about whether it really wants to go down a path of engineering a world where there are no Ruthies.”

Here’s What Iconic Historical Figures Would Look Like Today. This is strangely fascinating. An artist has rendered historical figures with modern hair styles and makeup to show what they would look like if they lived now.

I was reminded of the song, “See the Destined Day Arise” a couple of weeks ago and planned to share it during Easter week. Then I thought—why wait? As our church celebrated communion last week, as we look every Sunday, every day to the cross, we grieve at the cost of our salvation but rejoice that an able and willing Savior accomplished it. The first two stanzas were written by Venantius Fortunatus (c.530-600) and translated by Richard Mant (1837). The last stanza, chorus, and music were written by Matthew Merker. (I don’t know the church in the video: I just thought this was a nice, clear rendition.)