Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness By Anastasia Higginbotham, 64 pgs.

Apr 10, 2019

The fourth in Anastasia Higginbotham’s “Ordinary Terrible Things” series, aimed at making difficult topics accessible to children without being condescending or inaccurate, Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness follows the story of a young boy who sees a police officer shoot a brown person with their hands up. Throughout the narrative, adults around him dismiss the narrative as “just the way things are” or something that isn’t a systemic injustice but rather just something unfortunate that happened, but he remains inquisitive. Eventually, he is able to learn about the history of racial injustice and the implicit bias towards whiteness. Instead, however, of making white children feel ashamed of something they don’t quite understand in the first place and dismiss the issue in a fit of early-onset white guilt, Higginbotham makes it clear that we’re all part of the solution, encouraging the young readers to “grow justice inside [themselves] like a bean sprout in a milk carton.” And if it dies? “Plant it again!” Not My Idea and books like it (of which there’s a bit of a renaissance happening) set the foundation for a generation of socially aware kids who aren’t afraid to face difficult problems, and I love them for it. –Jimmy Cooper (Dottir Press,