How to Decolonize Your Child's Library

The Parenting Decolonized Podcast is back with another amazing episode to help you learn how to decolonize your parenting to raise liberated black children. In this week’s episode, I chat with Danielle Dunn, native Detroiter, community organizer, and author of the children's book Ivylocs. Danielle decided to write Ivylocs when shopping for a friend’s first child and realizing just how few books were focused on Black children. When I did the research, the was surprised by the numbers. Just 9% of children's books published in the US in 2017 featured African or African American characters -- according to data from the Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) which has been measuring representation in children's books since 1985. And of that 9 %, just 3% of the books counted by the CCBC in 2017 were authored or illustrated by a Black person.

I personally made a vow to only buy black dolls and books that feature black main characters. In this house, we center blackness because the world does not. Anti-blackness in literature is rampant and white supremacy is insidious. It will creep into your child's psyche as they look around and notice the majority of cartoon characters are white or the majority of dolls are white, or the most valued features are European. So, before the world has a chance to grab hold of our children, we need to be intentional about centering blackness in our homes, including our children's library. But don't get it twisted, this isn't just about teaching my daughter to love being black. Surrounding her with black books and immersing her in black culture also steels her against the effects of discrimination. One study shows that children with a strong sense of ethnic-racial identity are more resilient when faced with racial discrimination than those who don't. This is about survival ya'll. Taking it back to the first episode with Dr. Theresa Chappel, racial trauma affects infant and maternal mortality. Decolonizing your child's library is an act of resistance too and a big reason why Danielle wrote Ivy Locs.

During the show, Danielle and I talk about:

  • How to decolonize your child’s library

  • Why representation is so important for all children

  • The concept of mirrors and windows and how we can help our children feel seen

  • Sexism and the harm that can come from ‘gendering’ children’s books

  • The percentage of children's books that feature Black characters… and how people like Danielle are changing that

  • How to intentionally choose books for your child's library

  • How the loss of her childhood best friend inspired Ivy Loc

I hope ya'll love listening to this episode as much as I loved recording it. In the end I get kinda weepy about this mission to raise free black children because it's so important to me. This podcast and blog is near and dear to my heart. Our children deserve a better world than the one we grew up in and I aim to help make that happen. If you're reading this or listening to the podcast, you are helping that dream come true, so thank you!

You can catch up with Danielle on the Ivylocs website, her Facebook page, or Instagram.

Thanks again for tuning into another episode of Parenting Decolonized. We'll be discussing this more on the Parenting Decolonized Facebook page, but if you feel moved to do so, please leave a review on iTunes to let me know how I'm doing.

Until next time ya' ya!


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