Updated: Jul 23, 2020
Sharing therapy resources on anti-racisim, diversity and acceptance. A combination of bibliotherapy, art therapy, and play therapy can be very beneficial in broaching such topics with children.
Our world, as we know, has continued to undergo painful changes. It has been disheartening to see protests, riots, and violence unfolding around us. It is equally upsetting to hear clients speak on what they see in the news and how concerned they are. As therapists, we need to provide support and discuss topics related to kindness, acknowledging differences, and embracing those differences among one another.
1. "A Kid's Book About Racism" by Jelani Memory
I have searched for resources to use in therapy a lot lately! I have found a few children's books that address the topics of diversity and anti-racism beautifully. My absolute favorite is A Kid's Book About Racism by Jelani Memory. This book is simple and very clear in providing an understanding of racism. The book follows the story of a boy named, Jelani, who is experiencing racism. The character identified to be of mixed descent. The book offers the character's experience of being bullied and enduring microaggressions. I love this book because it focuses on the characters' experience, and it facilitates awareness and empathy. I highly recommend this one! Besides this book, I also recommend a few other titles in the series the are great companions to this discussion of diversity and racism. I have included the book titles below. These are kindle editions, which I find to be easy to incorporate into your telehealth sessions. You can download the kindle app free and share your screen to read the books together in session.
2. "Skin Again" by Bell Hooks
This book is simple yet powerful. Skin Again, by Bell Hooks is about learning to acknowledge differences and invites the reader to learn that we must not ever judge others by their exterior. Hooks teaches the reader to instead focus on learning about the other's heart. It encourages us to look so much deeper than what the eye can see. This book is very artsy, and it's very kid-friendly.
3. "The Skin You Live" In by Michael Tyler
This book is colorful, fun, and very poetic. The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler focuses on diversity and personal uniqueness. What I enjoy the most is the playful manner in which the author describes skin colors. Hooks describes skin tones as shades of different foods. The poetic nature of this book and the use of words create a vibrant description of the beauty of our skin tones.
4. "A is for Activist" by Innosanto Nagara
This board book is poetic and straightforward. A is for Activist, by Innosanto Nagara is read in the order of the alphabet. Each letter of the alphabet describes a term related to topics such as community, equality, and justice. This book is an excellent addition to your therapy resources on diversity because it can also serve to address the present-day protests and riots that we are witnessing in our communities.
5. "The Color of Us" by Karen Katz
So last, but certainly not least! The Color of Us, by Karen Katz is such a cute and colorful book. An art therapist's dream when it comes to content as well as inspiration for an art therapy activity! Katz takes descriptions a step further here. She describes various skin tones in very warm and rich ways using foods that add a visual language to each character that she introduces in the story. While reading this book, I thought of color mixing skin tones or creating a collage out of various skin tones would be a great way to reinforce the theme of the book further. It is easy to love the skin your in when described as cinnamon, chocolate cupcakes, and caramel!
Art & Play Therapy Resources
These five books are a great addition to any therapist's toolbox of diversity resources. Bibliotherapy is an excellent way to broach topics for discussion in session in a clear, fun, and creative manner. With a little creativity, each book can provide an opportunity to further discuss each topic through a creative activity such as how it would be to walk in Jelani's shoes from A Kids Book about Racism. This activity could be done simply by searching for an outline of shoes or drawing an image of a pair of shoes to symbolize empathy. A collage can serve to represent diversity using images and skin tone paints, markers, crayons, clay, or construction paper. Or, as mentioned above, creating a color mixing session to discuss and celebrate the diversity of skin tones. There are two additional play resources you can incorporate into your bibliotherapy sessions. I recommend the games, "I Never Forget a Face Memory Game," and "My Family Builder's Friend Edition Diversity Game."
I'd love to know how you are adapting your session to meet clients' current needs during this time!
Do you have any favorite books you are currently using in session with your clients?
Any suggestions on materials that are useful for other mental health professionals addressing the topic of diversity and anti-racism in therapy?
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be utilized as a form of self-help, personal clinical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The content on this blog is meant for educational purposes and to provide clinical art therapy directives/resources for trained mental health professionals. This information is by no means a substitute for therapy.
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