Anastasia Higginbotham specializes in books for children that address difficult subjects with honesty, compassion, and respect for young readers. The latest book in her Ordinary Terrible Things series Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness speaks to our current crisis of racism in policing. Higginbotham does not downplay or ignore issues of racial injustice, but confronts them head-on, illustrating white supremacy’s disastrous toll on the lives and livelihoods of Black and Brown people.
If that sounds like a lot, it is, but Higginbotham’s expressive collages, clear writing, and appeal to a child’s innate sense of fairness make these ideas accessible. Even so, some of the passages will require explanation for a child to understand, such as the Jim Crow laws that denied Black Americans opportunity, housing, and voting rights. This book may indeed raise more questions than it answers, but I can’t think of a better book to start the conversation with a child of what we can do to work towards racial justice.