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Offering teens, young adults and adults counseling in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Request an appointment now!

  • Jay’s Horrible Day, A Children’s Book Based on a True Story About Racism and Discrimination

    Did you know young children can experience racism and discrimination? Neither did Stacey, the author of the new children’s book,

    Jay’s Horrible Day, until it happened to her child. Of course, the child who spoke these discriminatory words probably didn’t know how hurtful these words are. She probably heard adults speaking this way. However, it didn’t hurt any less. She and her son put the book, Jay’s Horrible Day,

    together so other children can understand how hurtful words are and their effect on the other person. There are some ideas on how to cope with it for the child on the receiving end also. Through empathy, children may think before they say something discriminatory or racist.

    Introducing the topic of racism to a young child can be a difficult task to take head-on. Explaining this topic to young ones can be difficult because it can be hard to gauge if the topic is getting across fully in a way that they understand and will keep with them. Talking about racism is something that requires a safe space and a comfortable conversation. Racism and discrimination are something that is still present in today’s society, and educating others on it can help them as well as those around them become sensitive to situations where racism and discrimination are present. Each parent and family can have their own way they would like to explain it, and sometimes it can be hard to even know where to start.

    One way that a parent, educator, or teacher can approach this topic is by using the children’s book called, Jay’s Horrible Day as a tool. This book is based on a true story, which can very much be a situation in which a young child finds himself. The illustrations in the book can help the reader understand further the discriminatory nature of the situation in which the narrator is retelling the story. The book uses language that is appropriate for young children and can help them understand with words that won’t confuse them. Knowing that this book came from a young child’s point of view can help other adults to see that racism and discrimination is still very much present in today’s world. If we center on a topic like this, we can then include other books as well to help showcase diversity. We should not avoid the topic, we as adults have a responsibility to help others see each other’s differences in a positive light. Embrace them and not let these strict lines get in the way of daily tasks or group activities, especially for children.

    This book can also help give peace of mind that it is coming from a good source. Stacey has been a mental health therapist for children and their families since 1999. She has helped the people around her and continues to do so on a regular basis. Stacey asked her child what topic would he like to write a children’s book on. He said, “Everyone should be nice to one another no matter their skin color.” Stacey thought this was a great idea. She was able to embark on this journey with her son and make sure that his story made it out to the world. With this in mind, it was important to highlight the importance of children seeing themselves and their experiences represented in the books they read. The book showcases that on occasion we can not change what people say to other people or the way they act towards someone in specific. However, emphasizes that we can control how we let it affect us. Even if the child has not yet been in a situation where they have experienced racism or discrimination it can help them understand what is going on and give them tools to face it in the future. When we dedicate time to read a book that is on a topic like this we can give power to a child so that they can ask questions in a safe space. As an educator or parents, we can actively listen to what the children are saying, the expressions they are making, and the knowledge they may or may not have already on this topic. Fostering a child’s positive sense of self is also prevalent in this book, we want to lift each other up, not bring each other down. Introducing a book like this to a child can help them become an ally to others, recognize the power of kindness, and help them celebrate the differences present in every individual.

    This book provides more than illustrations that young children would find entertaining but it also provides an educational component as the main focus in children’s books. It can become an aid in sparking conversations on racism and discrimination at an early age and keep them happening as they grow.