Children’s books can be fantastic tools for fostering kindness and social justice values in our kids, but at the end of the day, parents are their child’s greatest influence. That means that despite our best efforts to read every amazing children’s book out there to our children, we still have to practice what we preach if we want our kids to grow up to be changemakers. But we are not without fault and still need to be challenged. The following feminist parenting books can help you challenge yourself to grow in your commitment to social justice parenting.
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8 Feminist Parenting Books for Raising Changemakers
Count Girls In by Karen Panetta and Katianne Williams – Even in 2019, even with an exponentially growing technological industry, we still have a long way to go before women are adequately represented in STEM fields. A large part of this gap in representation is that girls are raised from a young age to think they are “not good” at math and science. Count Girls In asks its readers to challenge their inner biases when their daughters express an interest in STEM and gives caregivers real strategies to help them introduce STEM concepts and opportunities in a way that blends with their child’s natural curiosities and interests.
Raising White Kids by Jennifer Harvey – This is the parenting book every white caregiver needs to read to raise allies against systemic racism. Jennifer Harvey’s book addresses how to talk to kids about race, racism, and white privilege in a way that is honest about racial injustice, but gentle in its approach. Harvey also offers resources for incorporating anti-racism into one’s parenting style. The book is written in an extremely accessible style with real-world examples making it a quick and practical read.
Parenting Beyond Pink & Blue: How to Raise Your Kids Free of Gender Stereotypes by Christia Spears Brown – When having a baby, even the most feminist of parents will often fall victim to the ubiquitous and aggressive gendering of their children by our family, friends, and larger patriarchal society. Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue is a quick read to give you a framework for fighting against this stereotyping by focusing on your child’s unique personality and strengths.
How to Raise a Feminist: Bringing Up Kids With the Confidence to Change the World by Alison Vale and Victoria Ralfs – In this short book, Vale and Ralfs offer a humorous introduction to feminist parenting. Lots of anecdotes and accessible strategies make this a perfect primer and the perfect gift for your favorite expecting feminists!
The Fifth Trimester: The Working Mom’s Guide to Style, Sanity, and Success After Baby by Lauren Smith Brody – Though not explicitly feminist in subject matter, The Fifth Trimester is feminist in its existence. Everyone has heard of the fourth trimester- those first three months of your child’s life when everything is so brand new for both baby and parents. What no one talks about, until Brody’s book anyway, is the fifth trimester- going back to work after maternity leave and all the unique challenges that come with it. Brody covers a range of topics unique to first-time working mothers including finding child care, negotiating length of maternity leave, pumping, and splitting household duties.
Parenting Forward: How to Raise Children with Justice, Mercy, and Kindness by Cindy Wang Brandt and Rachel Held Evans – Rachel Held Evans is known for giving “faith-based” a brand new definition. In their new book, Evans partners with Cindy Wang Brandt, founder of Raising Kids Unfundamentalist, and talks about how to raise kind, compassionate kids who appreciate and work for social justice. This is a parent-focused parenting book that emphasizes setting an example for your kids by dismantling your own biases and while it is a faith-based approach, it still offers advice for us all.
We Live for the We: The Political Power of Black Motherhood by Dani McClain – In We Live for the We, McClain approaches the unique challenges black mothers face raising their children in a racially unjust society and how to keep your black child safe without crushing their childhood innocence and joy. McClain emphasizes the importance of community and practices what she preaches by incorporating other mothers’ experiences into her book.
Be on the Lookout For….
Motherhood So White: A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting in America by Nefertiti Austin
Publication Date: August 2019
Sometimes the best parenting advice comes in the form of listening to another parent tell their story. That is exactly why Motherhood So White makes this list. Austin shares her story of being of a single mother of a Black child adopted out of the foster care system. Through her story, she confronts racial stereotypes, shares how history plays into into her experience, and her challenges raising a Black child in a racially unjust America.
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