The bestseller "Antiracist Baby" will be a illustrated book
The demand for books on race and antiracism has risen sharply since the murder of George Floyd on May 25.
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As soon as it was released last June 16, the last children's book by the writer Ibram X. Kendi, Antiracist Baby, became a national best-seller. With the furor of protests over racial and police violence in the United States, parents felt the need to explain to their children in the best possible way that the fight against racism and for equality begins in the nursery. Kendi's book was a favorite. So much so that its publishers had to increase the initial print run from 50,000 copies to 100,000 more before the book was sold out, according to the AP.
Due to the great interest and the fact that a collective change of mentality has to start from children, Antiracist Baby will be released in bookstores as a picture book for 0-3 year-olds next July 14. It is illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky and, according to the publishers, will incorporate a letter from the author to parents and educators that "outlines questions and beginnings of discussion to encourage conversations about race and racism with young children."
"We are delighted to bring the work of Ibram X. Kendi and Ashley Lukashevsky to a new audience," Namrata Tripathi, vice president and editor of Kokila, told AP. "It has been encouraging to see the growing understanding among parents and caregivers that we want to raise children who are kind or empathetic, that it is our responsibility to raise them to be anti-racist. I hope that this illustrated book edition, with its added resource of conversation starters for caregivers and children about race and racism, can be a useful tool in the lifelong work of being an antiracist."
The writer explained in an interview with the LA Times that the idea for the book came about because he wanted to be able to read it to his four-year-old daughter.
"I'm very excited about the book because I wanted to provide a tool for other parents to have conversations with young children about racism before they can understand it. The idea is that when they're older they'll have heard so much about it, that it won't be anything mysterious or taboo," she said. Kendi added that "it's very important for us as older people to educate ourselves very deeply [about racism and antiracism]. That will give us the credibility to teach it to younger people. There are children who see darker or lighter skin as beautiful or better. Why do they think that? We have to encourage them to think deliberately, to be deliberate ourselves. If a child says, 'Mommy, look at that poor black man,' we have to know how to respond."
Antiracist Baby is Kendi's fifth book to come out this month, but it's not the only one whose sales have soared during the protests. Three other books by the African-American are equally best-sellers:
- How To Be an Antiracist.
- Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (National Book Awards, 2016).
- The young adult version of Stamped, which Kendi co-wrote with Jason Reynolds.
Ibram X. Kendi, 38, is one of the nation's leading antiracism advocates. He is the founding director of the Center for Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University in Washington and a contributor to The Atlantic and CBS News.