A necessary children’s book about whiteness, white supremacy, and resistance.
Higginbotham’s text includes both dialogue among white adults and a white girl grappling with her growing race consciousness and additional text that references and unpacks the ideas in that dialogue. The connective tissue between these two essential pieces of the book can be weak, but the book as a whole is sure to spark conversations, and its collage art and DIY aesthetic may encourage creative expression. The dialogue begins when the girl overhears snippets of a news story about a police officer (whose white hand is shown holding a gun) killing an unarmed black man. “Oh no, not again,” says her mother, covering her eyes, and the girl asks “What? Mom. What ‘not again’?” Instead of responding, Mom turns off the TV and dodges questions, asserting, “Our family is kind to everyone. We don’t see color.” The girl grows increasingly frustrated and eventually seeks information independently while also asserting that she does see color and knows “that what that police officer did was wrong!” Precisely how she came to this raised consciousness isn’t clear, and no adults seem sympathetic or overtly supportive. Narrative text directed at readers (perhaps also absorbed by the girl as she reads?) highlights white people engaged in anti-racist activism, and it avoids undermining itself by also placing historical and contemporary black activism at the center. Curiously, however, the text excludes people of other races from its discussion.
Important, accessible, needed. (Picture book. 5-12)