Let's Talk: A Toolkit for Conversations About Race
The Children's Museum of Cleveland has partnered with The Diversity Institute at Cleveland State University to launch a new program called Let's Talk: A Toolkit for Conversations About Race. This program is designed to help parents and caregivers talk to their kids about race, and continue the learning through play.
The Children’s Museum of Cleveland envisions a community where all families have access to the educational resources they need to raise creative, curious, healthy and well-educated children. We believe that honest and impactful racial equity education is foundational to the vitality of our communities.
Research has found that children can identify race-based differences as early as infancy, and can internalize racial bias as early as 2-4 years old. When healthy associations are not formed early on, or when existing biases are not interrupted in young children, these negative racial associations and beliefs become more difficult to change over time.
One way to create positive change in young minds is for caregivers to engage in conversations surrounding race and racial bias early and often. Recognizing and working to address issues of racial bias can help build more just associations and unbiased thinkers. By providing consistent messaging to children, parents and caregivers can support this learning.
Toolkits: CMC will provide a toolkit that caregivers can use to introduce or discuss the topics of race and racism with their children. The toolkit provides age-appropriate information, resources for parents, conversation guides, a children's book, and interactive activities. The materials are designed for ages birth to age 8.
Receive a Free Kit: Registration for the free toolkit program is currently full.
We currently accepting registrations for our program waitlist. If you would like to be contacted when a toolkit is available, please register for our waitlist at the link below!
Toolkits will be available for in-person pickup at the Museum only.
A digital copy of the toolkit, downloadable activities, and read-along videos of the books on the reading list are also available and free for all to access on this webpage.
Created in partnership with:
with generous support from The Billie Howland Steffee Fund of The Cleveland Foundation
Conversations about race can be complex, especially with young children. This program was designed to help guide families through these conversations. The toolkit provides sample conversation guidelines, information, activities and other resources to guide the learning and support caregivers and children in navigating these discussions.
About the Author
Heather Hill, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology in the College of Education and Human Ecology and Associate of The Diversity Institute at Cleveland State University. In this role she teaches courses in learning and development theory and the social, cultural, and political foundations of education.
Start Here! : View the Guidebook
- All the Colors We Are: The Story of How We Get Our Color/Todos los Colores de Nuestra Piel: La Historia de Porque temenos differentes colores de piel by Katie Kissinger
- Let’s Talk about Race by Julius Lester
- Grandpa, Is everything Black Bad by Sandy Lynne Holman
- The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
- The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss
Start Here! : View the Guidebook
- A Kids Book About Racism by Jelani Memory
- Boycott Blues by Andrea Pinkney
- Wings by Christopher Myers
- Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh
- Dear Benjamin Banneker by Andrea Davis Pinkney
- Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
Additional Books for Diversity
- Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho
- Intersection Allies by Carolyn Choi & Chelsea Johnson
- The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad
- Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry
- Islandborn by Junot Díaz
- Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Méndez
- We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom
“Who is Black? One Nation’s Definition”
by F. James Davis, PBS.org
“What we mean when we say ‘Race is a social construct’
by Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic
“11 ways race isn’t real”
by Jenée Desmond-Harris, Vox
“Kill the Indian, and Save the Man”: Capt. Richard H. Pratt on the Education of Native Americans, historymatters.gmu.edu
“White immigrants weren’t always considered white — and acceptable”
by Brando Simeo Starkey, The Undefeated
How “Prerequisite Cases” Tried to Define Whiteness
by Matthew Wills, JSTOR Daily
“Plessy v. Ferguson”
by History.com editors, History.com
- The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter
- The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould
- Race: the Power of an Illusion
- Unspoken: America’s Native American Boarding Schools
- A Class Divided
- Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia
- National Museum of African American History and Culture
The Diversity Institute at Cleveland State University is pleased to partner with The Children’s Museum of Cleveland to produce this handbook as a resource for parents and caregivers to engage their children in difficult discussions regarding racial equity. Research, teaching, and advocacy are core activities of The Diversity Institute to promote community awareness of diversity, inclusion, and equity. Opportunities to share this knowledge early in the lives of children are rare. During the formative years is an opportune time to introduce concepts that will promote social justice and reduce bias before youth reach adulthood. We anticipate that this guide will augment the wonderful work that the Children’s Museum undertakes to help young children flourish as they learn about the world in which they live. For more information, visit csuohio.edu/engagement/diversity-institute
The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio (DCNEO) is dedicated to eliminating bias, bigotry, and racism with a vision to build communities where all people are connected, respected, and valued. We promote understanding, respect, and institutional equality on matters of race, age, religion, sex, ethnicity, culture, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. We achieve this through youth and youth-serving adult programs and by promoting diversity and addressing institutional bias in the workplace.
For more information, visit diversitycenterneo.org
Visible Voice Books is the book store partner for this program. Visible Voice Books is a bookstore & café in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood with that lost independent feel — a relaxed, inviting environment conducive to discovery, where quality takes precedence over quantity, where the titles marginalized by commercial concerns have a home.
For more information, visit visiblevoicebooks.com
The Ratner School is partnering with the Let's Talk program to pilot integrating this curriculum into early childhood classrooms. Ratner Montessori School is a richly diverse Pre-K through 8th Grade school located in Pepper Pike, Ohio. We are excited to partner with the Children's Museum and Cleveland State University in modeling the implementation of the Let's Talk program in our school community. The Let's Talk program is consistent with Ratner Montessori's core value of growing a diverse and equitable community for children and families. The foundation of the Montessori philosophy supports equity and inclusion for all, making this program a perfect fit for our school, children and families.
For more information, visit theratnerschool.org