The Fair Housing Five

A new book for children

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Recently, Jabari Asim, a children’s book author and professor at Emerson College, published an opinion piece in the New York Times. “Don’t Shy Away From Books About Tough Issues” argues the importance of exposing children to subjects like race, gender, and politics. Asim writes that these books not only make children better equipped for the tough issues they may eventually face, but it is also essential for children to see characters like themselves or their family reflected in books.

Frequently when I tell people I’m going to lead a workshop with youth about housing discrimination, they give me a somewhat doubtful look. I understand, as I was also slightly skeptical when I heard GNOFHAC had a book to teach 1st through 6th graders about discriminatory housing. After reading The Fair Housing Five & The Haunted House though, a book written collaboratively by children, educators, caregivers, and fair housing providers, it became clear that a book like this is invaluable for youth. The themes that this book covers–fairness, justice, discrimination, and civil rights–are themes that even five and six year old children understand. Every time I asked kids in summer workshops if they could name a leader that fought against discrimination, they had an answer–Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, and Nelson Mandela, the kids always spouted off.

Books like The Fair Housing Five & The Haunted House are vital for kids to start thinking about issues that are relevant to their lives. They also have the power to start dialogues about topics that may be glossed over in a conventional classroom. We hope that this book can continue reaching students in Louisiana, but also across the United States, to encourage kids, parents, and educators alike to begin a conversation about the “tough issues”.

If you would like to schedule a youth workshop, please contact Education and Outreach Director, Sophie Rosen at srosen@gnofairhousing.org or by calling (504) 596-2100 ext. 109.

 

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