Contains a wealth of information for secular or mixed-religion families preparing for the God talk with kids.

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RELAX, IT'S JUST GOD

HOW AND WHY TO TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT RELIGION WHEN YOU'RE NOT RELIGIOUS

Written for secular parents from a nonreligious perspective, this guide explores methods of teaching youngsters about God, religion, and spirituality.

Russell is the polar opposite of secular writers such as Richard Dawkins. Avoiding an in-your-face style, she emphasizes the golden rule and tolerance. She suggests incorporating religious trappings—places of worship, holidays, books, prayer—into family regimens; she even flirts with the possibility of sending a child to a religious school. For the skeptical, some of this may seem a tad too touchy-feely. “Make a collage using pictures of famous religious leaders—and non-religious ones—and then leave it up for a few months in your child’s room. See if it sparks conversation.” However, while Russell at times seems to be out-Flandering Ned Flanders, this is, after all, a book about dealing with children, and Russell is skilled at relating to kids on their own terms. For her, the God discussion has supplanted the dreaded “birds and bees” talk for secular parents. In fact, the inspiration for the book was when her 5-year-old blurted out, “Mommy…you know what? God made us!”—a statement that made Russell feel “like a cartoon character being hit…with a frying pan.” Her own investigations to address the situation resulted in this well-written, thoroughly researched work that mixes advice, humor, and history. It also includes footnotes, an appendix of major world religions, recommended readings, and facts and figures on atheism in the United States. Chapters deal with a variety of topics such as reactions of grandparents and other relatives, mixed-faith marriages, kids being harassed at school, and how to handle discussions of death. At the same time, her easy-to-read style is down to earth and conversational: “When it comes down to it, ‘tolerance’ is just a way of asking people not to be total dicks to one another.”

Contains a wealth of information for secular or mixed-religion families preparing for the God talk with kids.

Pub Date: March 31, 2015

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Brown Paper Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE

Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.

In her feisty debut book, Oluo, essayist, blogger, and editor at large at the Establishment magazine, writes from the perspective of a black, queer, middle-class, college-educated woman living in a “white supremacist country.” The daughter of a white single mother, brought up in largely white Seattle, she sees race as “one of the most defining forces” in her life. Throughout the book, Oluo responds to questions that she has often been asked, and others that she wishes were asked, about racism “in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves.” “Is it really about race?” she is asked by whites who insist that class is a greater source of oppression. “Is police brutality really about race?” “What is cultural appropriation?” and “What is the model minority myth?” Her sharp, no-nonsense answers include talking points for both blacks and whites. She explains, for example, “when somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing.” She unpacks the complicated term “intersectionality”: the idea that social justice must consider “a myriad of identities—our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more—that inform our experiences in life.” She asks whites to realize that when people of color talk about systemic racism, “they are opening up all of that pain and fear and anger to you” and are asking that they be heard. After devoting most of the book to talking, Oluo finishes with a chapter on action and its urgency. Action includes pressing for reform in schools, unions, and local governments; boycotting businesses that exploit people of color; contributing money to social justice organizations; and, most of all, voting for candidates who make “diversity, inclusion and racial justice a priority.”

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58005-677-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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