Keep the children away from politics, they know not what they do — is a refrain heard every time there are student protests in universities across the country. But what if you taught them about diversity early, helped them make informed choices about things that they did not understand, or, later, did not agree with? What if you told them that nothing about life is apolitical, that our personal is also, inevitably, clichedly, political? Here are a few books to start the conversation with:
If FACT were to be a person, what would he have been like in a post-truth world? Lonely, perhaps. But, definitely, sad. The Authorities “demanded that the sad little Fact admit that it was not a fact”, others called him “just a lie”. How does one go about establishing one’s integrity in the face of constant opprobrium and wilful distortion? Enter the “hardy band of fact finders” who dig deep and hard to unearth the Fact and hold it up for what it is — the invariable truth. In a world plagued by propaganda and fake news, The Sad Little Fact (2019, appropriate for 4+ years) by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Pete Oswald is a great reminder that, even though sometimes one might need to persevere for the truth, there really is no “alternative fact” to its inviolability. And that’s a fact.
BEFORE “URBAN Naxals” and “liberals” were thrown around as things that one must not be, activism was not such a bad word. In particular, it could work very well as a conversation starter for those who were curious and wanted to know more about the inequalities of the world they inhabited. Innosanto Nagaro’s book, A is for Activist (2012, appropriate for 4+ years) is a unique, heartwarming board book that introduces children to both alphabets (“A” is for “activist”, “D” is for “democracy”) and to ideas of civil and gender rights, a more equitable community-oriented approach to life and people who have fought for these ideals. Part of Nagaro’s success lies in how well he integrates ideas of justice with everyday living.
IN OTHER Words For Home (2019, appropriate for 10+ years), Jasmine Warga tells the story of Jude, a young Syrian migrant who moves to the USA, when war breaks out and who has to confront her identity — both religious and national. Told in verse, this is the story of the migrant crisis playing out in different corners of the world, often to less happy, more heartbreaking endings.
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