The Times 

In support of age-appropriate books that navigate difference

 

September 28, 2023



To the editor,

I feel that I must respond to a recent letter to the editor that stated a personal opinion about the book “Our Skin…” and stated that in that person’s opinion, “children do not even notice skin color.” I know, respect, and very much appreciate the person who wrote this letter and what they have done for this community, but I must respectfully disagree with this statement and perception. I can tell you that when my son was about four years old, we were living in a community with people from many different countries. My son and I were in a store when he noticed a very black man. My son had never noticed a black person before, and he did not understand why this man looked so different, so I had a conversation with my son about the fact that there are people with different skin colors, and that is just fine. Also, I think we all know that children can sometimes be very unkind to one another, especially starting about 3rd or 4th grade and up through high school, and some children may show biases they have learned to pick on or bully children who they consider “different” than the majority, or a particular group.

I have reviewed the book “Our skin: A first Conversation About Race” in the past few months to understand why this book is objected to by some adults in our community. I did notice a couple of sentences that some might consider offensive, but I do not have concerns with this book being in the children’s section of the library, or in the parental guidance section. I am fine with having an age-appropriate conversation with children about skin color and the biases that some people have. I understand that a conversation with children about skin color, race, or racism may make some adults uncomfortable, or it may be considered off-limits for some, but I am fine with having that conversation, and I do not think it is necessary to remove or hide this book from children, or parents, at our library.

Glen Mendel

Dayton, WA

 

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