This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell

Review by Fiona in Year 13

Library age rating: suitable for all ages

Genre: social justice, social movements, race, politics

Content warning: death, suicide, drug misuse, sexual references

Plot summary

Full title: This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on how to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work.

This book is written for the young person who doesn't know how to speak up to the racist adults in their life. For the 14-year-old who sees injustice at school and isn't able to understand the role racism plays in separating them from their friends. For the kid who spends years trying to fit into the dominant culture and loses themselves for a little while. It's for all of the Black and Brown children who have been harmed (physically and emotionally) because no one stood up for them or they couldn't stand up for themselves; because the colour of their skin, the texture of their hair, their names made white folks feel scared and threatened. It is written so children and young adults will feel empowered to stand up to the adults who continue to close doors in their faces. This book will give them the language and ability to understand racism and a drive to undo it. In short, it is for everyone.

Fiona's tip for reading this book: It has wonderful illustrations and can be dipped in and out of whenever you need advice!

Positives

This book was loaned to me to read by Ms Coles, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. One of my favourite things about it is how action-focussed it is - there are many (importantly viable) recommendations for things we can do to work against racism, whether we see it in ourselves, our friendship groups or in wider institutions. This focus inspired me to make my second book about climate change ('Under the Sea') have a section which is likewise full of actionable tips.

Negatives

None!

 Reading recommendations

For non-fiction, I would highly recommend How to Argue with a Racist by Dr. Adam Rutherford, which functions as a timely weapon against the misuse of science to justify racism as well as The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colourblindness by Michelle Alexander, and Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge. For fiction, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi is stellar, dealing with the ripple effect of colonialism. Gyasi has recently published a new book called Transcendent Kingdom, which deals with race, faith and science. The Hate U Give and Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas are great for KS3+. For KS3, try The Boxer by Nikesh Shukla and The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Rauf.