Nonfiction – Shades of People

One of the more surprising chapters in the new book NurtureShock is the evidence that children inherently notice the races of the people around them and, when left to their own devices, make the conclusion that people who look most like themselves are best. It is therefore vital to a racially tolerant society that discussions about race begin at a very young age. Almost as if in answer to this new focus on young children and skin tone comes the newly published book Shades of People.

Featuring full-color photos of small children of every conceivable skin color, the book makes explicit that skin is “just our covering” and that “you can’t tell what someone is like from the color of their skin”. The book then talks about how even in the same family different members can have different shades of skin, and that in the park, at school, and at the playground you can see lots of people with lots of different skin tones. The pictures dominate each page. Some pictures are of a single child, others of children playing together, both in multi-racial and single-race groups. All of the pictures are engaging and will appeal to small children who are often fascinated by other pictures of babies and children. The text is simple enough to use with toddlers, while it will make a perfect jumping off point for discussion with older children.

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