Interview with Sara from Bookoholic Mom

SARA
It’s not enough to just read diverse books - you need to have open and honest communication with your kids about these issues. And, don’t only read books about the oppression of BIPOC, kids need to read books about kids that don’t look like them doing everyday fun and silly things too.
  1. Tell us about yourself and what you are passionate about.

My name is Sara and I’m a part time non-profit consultant and mom to two kids (age 8.5 and 4.5)  living outside Seattle, WA.  I am passionate about mental health, the environment, erasing the racial disparities in maternal and infant health (I’m on the board of the Perfect Push Foundation which is working to address this), equality and justice and of course BOOKS & READING!

  1. You share a wonderful selection of diverse children’s books on social media. What was your inspiration behind starting the account, and why was making it inclusive important to you?

I originally started my account to share my favorite high quality kids books.  I’ve always tried to read my kids a wide array of diverse books, but as I’ve learned more about the lack of representation in children’s books I’ve made a more conscious effort to share books that feature under-represented people (BIPOC, disabled characters, LGTBQ+ etc).

  1. What qualities make up a great book?

For me there are several factors: Does the text flow well when read aloud, quality of illustrations, uniqueness, repeatability (do I mind reading it over and over again!) 

  1. How do you choose books for your family? Do you do monthly themes or base them off of things going on at the moment like season and holidays?

I keep track of books I want to read on the For Later shelf of my library account.  I often get books from the library for seasons/holidays and I’m part of the #bookstagang book club on Instagram where we have a monthly theme that we post books about. 

  1. In regards to the current cycle of police brutality, how is your family discussing what is going on?

Living near Seattle this has been a huge issue for our family.  I talk about it openly with my kids about it.  I often use books as a jumping off point for these kinds of discussions (Something Happened in Our Town is a good place to start).  I also took my kids to a Black Lives Matter protest.  This was not the first time my kids have heard about police brutality though, we’ve talked about it before and also talked to them about how their Black friends might need to be more careful around police. These are not one time discussions in our household but ongoing conversations we have with our kids.

  1. How do you talk to your own children about topics such as racism and white privilege?

These are other topics that I have also found having books about really helpful for jump starting conversations (especially with my 8 year old).  When we read books about historical injustices I usually try to tie it back to current times and the struggles still being faced in our country.  I find having specific examples really helps make it real for my kids.  There are tons of resources online and I encourage people to learn directly from Black educators about these issues (I have learned a lot from @thetututeacher and @readlikearockstar.)

  1. For parents that have not talked directly to their children about racism before what resources or advice can you give to them?

It can be uncomfortable and you may not know what to say or you may say the wrong things – that’s ok!  It’s important that your kids see you trying and that if you make a mistake you talk about it and learn from it with them.  

  1. What are your favorite books for discussing these topics? 

Something Happened in Our Town, Not My Idea, The Other Side, Separate is Never Equal, The Undefeated, and reading picture book biographies about BIPOC.

  1. How does inclusivity look like in your family?

To me it means making sure all aspects of our lives are inclusive, including my friends, my children’s friends, the books we read, the shows we watch, our toys, the people I follow on social media, etc.

  1. Thank you again! Can you share your most valuable piece of advice for parents?

It’s not enough to just read diverse books – you need to have open and honest communication with your kids about these issues.  And, don’t only read books about the oppression of BIPOC, kids need to read books about kids that don’t look like them doing everyday fun and silly things too.

See more from Sara at @bookoholicmom!

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