Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness

Written & Illustrated by: Anastasia Higginbotham

For ages: 8-12 years

Language: English 

Topics Covered: Whiteness, Social Justice, Activism, Racism, Anti-Blackness, Self-Reflection, Police Brutality, 

Summary: 

Not only is this book beautiful, but it is important.  It fits perfectly in with the #sweetsandsocialjustice series that we’ve been posting lately! I made peanut butter chocolate squares, which appear on one of the pages.  They also happen to be one of my favorites, and I had all of the ingredients on-hand, creating a perfect chocolatey storm.

This story centers around a young child recognizing how much of the news is shielded by their parents from them, particularly when police violence against a person of color is broadcast.  It addresses the danger of using the excuse “we don’t see color” as a way to avoid discussing how racism and white supremacy are embedded so deeply within our culture.  Especially being white, we typically aren’t taught these things from a young age. Marginalized and oppressed groups are, because it’s a matter of their survival.  This book does a phenomenal job of explaining how power and privilege affect us from birth, and how we can educate ourselves.  It is our duty as white people to self-reflect, educate, and change ourselves to work towards the liberation of everyone.

In the back of the book are several activity pages that explain to the reader how we can be white without signing onto Whiteness, and how to begin engaging in anti-racist work ourselves.  Not My Idea is an incredibly important book, one that we should all be using as a catalyst for our anti-racist education.

This book was kindly sent to us by Dottir Press, but all opinions are our own.  Now for a limited time, folks that go here can download a free PDF of another one of Anastasia’s books Death is Stupid.  She is kindly offering it for free now in light of the pandemic, as a way to hopefully help with coping and loss of family and friends during this time.

Recipe: Peanut Butter Chocolate Squares

Ingredients:

Peanut butter layer:

1.5c peanut butter

1/2c maple syrup

1.5c oat flour (I made my own by grinding oats in my blender)

pinch of salt

Chocolate layer:

1.5c chocolate chips

1/4c peanut butter

Directions:

Make the peanut butter layer first by melting the peanut butter and maple syrup together, and then stirring in the oat flour and salt.  Press into a lined 9×9 pan. Next, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter together, spread over peanut butter layer. I usually sprinkle a high-quality sea salt on top of this (such as Malden or an infused salt) but you can leave it off if you wish.  Put in fridge to chill for an hour or two before cutting.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

anastasia-higginbotham-writerAnastasia Higginbotham launched her Ordinary Terrible Things children’s book series in 2015 with Divorce Is the Worst. It was embraced by children and adults for trusting kids as the authority on their own lives. Higginbotham’s second book, Death Is Stupid, was named one of New York Public Library’s 100 Best Children’s Books of 2016, and Tell Me About Sex, Grandma earned a spot on School Library Journal Blogger Elizabeth Bird’s “Best Books with a Message” in 2017. The series’ fourth book, Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness, tackles white supremacy and will be published by Dottir Press.

Higginbotham makes her books by hand in collage on grocery bag paper, using only recycled materials, including jewelry and fabric.

Her books demonstrate a way for kids to cope with change and loss by making meaning out of whatever broken, ragged, or unraveling life circumstances they face.

Higginbotham writes for social justice organizations and taught full impact self defense for 10 years. Her work has been featured in The Believer, The New York Times, Huffington Post, Women’s Media Center, Ms., Bitch, The Sun, The Women’s Review of Books, and in anthologies, including Yes Means Yes (Seal, 2009).

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