Today is publication day for an all-ages (12+) non-fiction book I highly recommend: Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You by Jason Reynolds. Stamped is a self-described “remix” of Ibram X. Kendi’s important book Stamped from the Beginning, which I first learned about while listening to an excellent series called “Seeing White” on the podcast Scene on Radio.
Reynolds writes this non-fiction book with the same spirit as most of his award-winning fiction for YA and Middle Grade readers – with respect and love for the audience, speaking to children like equals, engaging you page by page. Like the book this is based on, Stamped traces back to the early origins of race as a construct (actually, late in the scope of human existence) and draws it forward to present day through American History. Stamped aims to teach the sides of history that are sugar-coated, white-washed or simply omitted in most K-12 schools in the United States now and always so that young people can learn this reality and take up the intellectual work of antiracism before adulthood. To counteract the racist ideas we live and breathe unwittingly every day with just a dose of antiracism.
Stamped manages at once to be accessible, digestible, engaging, lyrical and straightforward. It is appealing and appropriate for middle school readers and insightful and meaningful enough for adult readers at any education level. It is an excellent overview for parents and educators who want to be a little more prepared to field these topics with young children honestly and appropriately or to have more intelligent and empathetic conversations with their own peers.