We were contacted recently with a request for books that might help congregations with conversations around current events in Ferguson, New York, and other places where the justice system is affected by prejudice. We thought this was an interesting suggestion, and began thinking about how we could approach the topic.
First, we realized books geared towards children represent police officers as we ideally expect and hope them to be: helpers. If you are looking for literature that represents prejudiced corruption in the justice system, you’ll need to look at YA or adult literature. A book that came to mind was Lizzie Bright and the Buckminister Boy. As we were working to create this list quickly, we do not include additional YA selections, but would welcome your ideas in the comments section.
When exploring the topic of racism in children’s literature, very little showed up that wasn’t a story from a particular historical setting. With Martin Luther King day approaching, you might explore a number of wonderful books about the Civil Rights movement that have been reviewed on Storypath. The easiest way to find them is running a search for Civil Rights. (Clicking on the previous link will take you right to the selected books.)
What we decided might be most helpful would be other books that invite conversation about prejudice and discrimination, as well as tolerance and diversity. The following is not an exhaustive list, but will hopefully give you some ideas as you consider how to approach these topics within your congregation.
This bibliography was compiled by regular contributor Noell Rathbun-Cook, an alumna of Union Presbyterian Seminary and Minister of Children and Youth Discipleship at Grace Baptist Church in Richmond, VA.