A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Uses social justice vocabulary like "injustice" and "inequality," though the words are not defined. Provides examples of social-emotional needs like safety and a peaceful childhood, as well as physical needs like fresh air and fair rules.
There's beauty in diversity. We can create a world where all people are safe despite their differences. All kids deserve the same chance at peace, joy, and a childhood. All people deserve to have what they need to live mentally and physically healthy lives. Build bridges, not walls. Clean water for all. I have a voice.
Positive Role Models
Families and friends treat each other lovingly and respectfully. Parents affectionately put their children to bed, reading bedtime stories, giving kisses, and watching their little ones sleep. A girl dreams of pursuing her big dreams. Young people march for equality with positive messages on signs.
Through words and illustrations, the book imagines a world where all people are safe and equal and have their needs met. Families of all ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and age ranges fill the pages.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Goodnight Racism is a picture book by New York Times bestselling author Ibram X. Kendi, illustrated by Cbabi Bayoc. Kendi is known for writing about racism and anti-racism, having published the controversial Antiracist Baby. This gentle bedtime book calls on young dreamers to imagine "what is possible": a world that's safe, fair, and peaceful for all. "A world where all kids have the same chance / to have peace, / to have joy, / to have a childhood." The pages are full of diverse families and inclusive themes and ideas, from the moon smiling down on households where dinner tables all look different to a carnival scene with big flashy signs featuring "True Acceptance," "Fairness," and "Fresh Squeezed Compassion." Through the lens of racism, the book puts to bed all types of injustice, including unfair rules, cruelty, inequality, hate, and hurt.
Is It Any Good?
More than the average bedtime story, this is beautifully illustrated social commentary. Goodnight Racism shows what kind of world we could have if people put racism to bed, along with its equally shameful relatives. With powerfully positive messages, it emphasizes change starting with the younger generation. It touches on issues that create inequitable lived experiences and shows what's possible if we level the playing field. It could have used a glossary to help young readers understand terms like "injustice" and "cruelty." But still, it works as a bedtime story, reminiscent of the classic Goodnight Moon, or as a conversation starter with talking points that impact us all.
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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