A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Provides a developmentally appropriate explanation of why communities are upset about issues related to race, injustice, and inequality. The book shows cause and effect and encourages question asking.
You can always ask questions about the world around you, and why things are happening. It is important to stand up for what is right, and speak up against things that are wrong. Everyone has the power to create change and make a difference in the world.
Positive Role Models
The kids in the story are curious about the world and want to make a change for the better. They understand the value of peaceful prayer and action. The adults model having honest conversations with kids.
The book shows characters in a diverse community of different ages, religions, skin tones, and abilities (a man using a wheelchair is pictured). Unity and collectivism are themes. Explores racism and the desire to stand up to injustice and strive to make the world -- or your neighborhood -- a better place.
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Violence & Scariness
The book has subtle images and descriptions of buildings burning as a result of "anger burning" inside of those who have been mistreated.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Why?: A Conversation about Race is a timely picture book for kids about why events around inequality and injustice are happening in society. The book was written by renowned actor and children's book author Taye Diggs (Chocolate Me!), Mixed Me!) and illustrated by Coretta Scott King Award winner Shane W. Evans (My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood). Emotional illustrations, paired with simple sentences paint the story of Black and brown children witnessing an uprising against hatred in society. There's subtle imagery and description of a fire, but no overt violence in the book. Themes of the story include the power of asking questions, fighting against inequality, and striving for change.
Is It Any Good?
This developmentally sensitive and timely book that can help facilitate conversations between kids and adults about issues related to race, injustice, and anger in society. Why?: A Conversation about Race breaks down the barrier between kids and adults, as it's often a struggle to have conversations about concerning and delicate events related to discrimination and inequality. It will likely also inspire kids to feel more comfortable asking questions.
Shane W. Evans' soulful illustrations helps to engage the reader and draw upon emotions. The characters display diversity and inclusion. The somewhat repetitive nature of the book's vocabulary creates predictability and increases understanding for young readers. This is an all-around valuable read for families of all colors.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
Books to Inspire Young Activists
Books About Racism and Social Justice
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