Parents' Guide to

Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness

By Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Powerful, simple story about race and privilege.

Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness book cover: A White-skinned girl kneeling on a small raft or boat on choppy waters looks across the title and cover

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 7+

Important book for white kids and parents

As a white parent of white children, I’ve been looking for more books to read to my kids to discuss racism in this country. This book offers an age-appropriate (elementary school) discussion of the problems of racism and how white people are often complicit in it. Recommended to read with your kids and discuss, as it does bring up challenging subjects including allusions to violence. Please disregard the problematic reviews by obviously racist white parents. Yes, this book included harsh topics of violence, but nothing a black family would not be well versed in. Time for white folks to toughen up and face the reality of racism.

age 10+

Despicable book that is damaging

This is one of the most appalling children’s books I have read! Not only does it encourage children to be afraid of all police, but the book implies a white child is racist simply based on nothing but having white skin. The book also states that a child may think their loved ones are the “good ones” but they are not. Seriously disturbing that someone would do this to children.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (5 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This powerful book offers a basic but clear explanation of White supremacy, White privilege, and the need for families to talk honestly about race. Mixed-media art in Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness uses archival news and magazine collages to tell the story of the struggle for civil rights and the ongoing issue of police brutality and police shootings. Having the focus be on the little girl's feelings and her quest for knowledge and understanding (then talking to her mom) makes it empowering.

The book is packed with information and context and would be an excellent jumping-off point for a family discussion of racism, protests, and police violence.

Book Details

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