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An age by age guide for parents of white children  

Get comfortable talking about race with your kids

Take action as a family against racism  

Raise antiracist kids at every age and stage 

Do you avoid talking about race with your kids because you’re afraid you’ll say the wrong thing?

When your kids make offhand remarks about skin color, you’re not sure what to say. What if drawing your kids’ attention to race backfires? 

Race, racism, and white privilege are complex topics that are often painful.  

Maybe you’re not sure your kids are ready to talk about these issues.

You wonder how you can do it in a way that’s age appropriate, and won’t overwhelm them.

Here’s why parents must start talking with white children about race:

Three out of four white parents of kindergartners don't talk to their kids about race.
A study of white liberal families asked young kids "do your parents like Black people?" More than half of the children answered either "I don't know" or "no."
One study found that when white 3rd and 4th graders had intentional conversations about stereotypes, it reduced their prejudices.
Researchers have observed children as young as age three using intentionally racist language, even in diverse preschools.

Breaking the silence about race with kids isn’t always easy. But with support and practice, you can help your child challenge stereotypes, embrace antiracist thinking, and speak up for racial justice.

Raising Antiracist Kids synthesizes current research to explain in down-to-earth language why white children are likely to develop racially prejudiced beliefs.  Author Rebekah Gienapp helps parents counter this trend with thoughtful suggestions for parent-child conversations, well-organized by child age and topic.  Her recommendations for family action steps are practical and her personal journey is moving. Readers will be inspired to openly examine and challenge white privilege in their families and communities. Marietta Collins, Ph.D. & Ann Hazzard, Ph.D. Authors of Something Happened in Our Town:  A Child's Story about Racial Injustice


Responding to your child's questions about race with calm and compassion.
Watching your child speak up against stereotypes and exclusion.
Taking antiracist action as a family, in ways that make sense to your child.
Making brave choices for your family that fit with your antiracist values.
There’s so much to love about Rebekah Gienapp’s short book. Its tons of practical advice that engage some of the most commonplace and difficult challenges caregivers face. The many stories from her personal experience as a child and mother. The accessibility of the ideas and language. The organization of the book by developmental stages. Most strikingly, Rebekah is as generous in sharing the many “mistakes” along her path to raising an antiracist son as she is with her wise advice, and in doing so she imparts arguably the most crucial lesson of all. To paraphrase Maya Angelou: do your best, and when you know better, do better. If you’re a white parent to white children and pay attention to this excellent book, you’ll do better.

What’s inside the Raising Antiracist Kids ebook?

Easy to understand summaries of research on how kids think about race at different ages and stages.
Conversation and action tips tailored to all ages, with chapters for toddlers, preschoolers, elementary age kids, and middle schoolers.
Step by step antiracist practices to try with your child at each stage of their development.
Strategies for dealing with your own feelings of guilt, shame, and perfectionism as you move deeper into your journey of antiracist parenting.
Approaches for addressing racism within your child's school.
A printable resource list, including 150+ books for kids and teens that help children develop healthy ideas about race and inspire them to take action.
How to respond when a child expresses racial bias or stereotypes.
Family friendly ideas for putting your antiracist beliefs into action.
Like most moms, I simply don't have the time to read a dense 400 page book about raising antiracist kids or good parenting techniques. I can buy all the books in the world, but I'm not going to read them. I love that Raising Antiracist Kids is so well laid out that I'm able to read through it, grasp really important concepts, and go back time and again to particular sections that are most pertinent to me at any given point in time. – Claire Prince, parent of a 6 year old and an 8 year old.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the book written for parents of white children? Don’t all children need to learn about antiracism?  

There are plenty of basic antiracist principles that are the same no matter the race of the kids we are raising. But racism is at its heart a white racial hierarchy that places white children at the top, Black children at the bottom, and puts other children of color in between the two. 

That means that racism's effects are very different on children of color and white children

Research has also shown that most white parents do not talk to their children about race, while most parents of color do. 

As the white parent of white children, I want to encourage other white parents to teach their kids to speak up against racism, and to take antiracist action as a family. In writing this book, I wanted to “stay within my own lane,” rather than trying to tell parents of color how to deal with the effects of racism that my family has not experienced. 

Is this book useful to teachers? 

The primary audience for this book is parents of white children, but there are many tips, strategies, and resources that could also be useful to teachers. 

Is this a physical book that will be mailed to me? What will I receive when I place my order? 

Raising Antiracist Kids is an ebook; please note that no physical copy will be mailed to you. 

You will receive your book as a PDF document, so that it’s easy to read on a computer or tablet without any special software or apps. And if you love holding a printed copy in your hands to read, it’s easy to print out all or part of the ebook (such as the recommended children’s book directory that’s included.)  

What is your refund policy?  

If you’re not satisfied with Raising Antiracist Kids: An age by age guide for parents of white children, please contact me within 30 days of your purchase for a full refund.

“Rebekah offers us a great gift in these pages as parents and practicing antiracists. She offers a resource rich, age specific guide for parents to integrate antiracist approaches into our parenting and lives. But more than that, she creates a vulnerable and welcoming space in her writing and ideas, inviting us as white parents to make mistakes, show up anyway and learn alongside our children. The result is as much a learning guide for parents as it is for white adults committed to creating a different kind of world where whiteness is examined and white supremacy is addressed and dismantled with an inside/outside approach to action and practice.”   -Jardana Peacock, Writer

Raising Antiracist Kids is for you if:

- You're the parent of a white child or young teen. The book includes sections for toddlers, preschoolers, elementary age children, and middle schoolers. 

- You believe that racism is an urgent issue we can't wait to address until our children are older.

- You long to bring more antiracist ideas and practices into your parenting.

- You’re willing to start talking to your children about race, racism, and white privilege, or go deeper in the conversations you’re already having, even though you’ll make mistakes sometimes. 

- You believe that conversation about race goes hand in hand with taking action against racism, no matter what age we are. 

- You know in your heart that even though antiracist parenting isn’t easy, it is doable, and you just need some support as you undertake it. 

This book is NOT for you if:

- You are certain that talking to children about race is racist. 

- You’re unwilling to examine the ways that whiteness and white privilege are shaping both you and your children’s day to day reality, and the ways that racism harms children of color. 

This book helps parents become educated. Most people don't deliberately teach racism to children but rather they teach regional culture, behaviors, and expectations to their children. They normalize racism through dinners, parties, school sessions, social connections, and chats on an elder's knee. This book addresses racism right at those places: at home, at the holidays, at the school rallies, at the playground, and at Grandmom's kitchen table. Every mom or dad is in those places and lacks the language to just say something. This book gets to the family roots of childhood training and adult behavior with grace and determination. – Lois Johnson-Mead, K – 5th grade educator

Hi there! I’m Rebekah Gienapp, founder of The Barefoot Mommy. I’m mama to a boisterous 7-year-old and stepmom to a chill 21-year-old. I’m also an activist, a parenting blogger, a former community organizer, a minister, and a religious educator for children.  

Before my son was born, I spent my days working for economic and racial justice. Becoming a parent turned my world upside down (it usually does, doesn’t it?), and I left my community organizing job to focus primarily on motherhood. 

It wasn’t until my kiddo was 4 years old that I understood how racially segregated our family life had become. Talking about race took on a greater urgency as I realized our youngest child was living in a white racial bubble in the midst of our majority Black community.  

As we talked more about race and racism, my desire grew to find a way to fit activism back into my life. But this time, I realized that activism needed to include my family (at least some of the time.) I also knew we needed to find ways to desegregate our lives. 

While doing this work within our own family, I learned even more about teaching children about antiracism and social justice as the Lead Teacher and curriculum developer of Evergreen Presbyterian Church's Peace Camp.  

Raising Antiracist Kids is filled with lessons I’ve learned from other parents in the trenches, antiracist activists, and researchers. I’ve also included many of my family’s stories – including mistakes I’ve made on my continual journey towards antiracist parenting.

I’m still learning and growing every day, and I’m so glad to be traveling this path with you. 

As someone who suffers from compassion fatigue from time to time, the book spoke to me. The reminder to start where I am, recognize that “progress” is not linear, and “always we begin again” hits home. The way Raising Antiracist Kids breaks big concepts into smaller one-step-at-a-time ideas is inspiring and the anecdote to overwhelm. Each section is organized into digestible chunks of information, research data, bulleted concepts, and action steps, making it easy to read, consider carefully, and remember.  – Cindy Hastings Sakaan, director of religious education for children and youth
Raising Antiracist Kids presents practical tips and tactics for teaching kids about racism and how they can be anti-racist in an easy-to-use format - meaning it's a perfect tool for busy parents! – Maryam T. Brotine, parent of a 3 year old and a 7 year old

Your purchase supports the work of EmbraceRace!

A portion of your purchase of Raising Antiracist Kids will be donated to EmbraceRace, a fantastic nonprofit organization working on four goals related to race and children.

EmbraceRace equips caregivers and educators to nurture resilience in children of color, nurture inclusive, empathetic children of all stripes, raise kids who think critically about racial inequity, and support a movement of kid and adult racial justice advocates for all children.

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© 2019, Rebekah Gienapp