My first encounter with Anastasia Higginbotham’s work was “Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness,” a children’s picture book about racial justice that is currently banned in several states. I saw myself in the story. Growing up white in St. Louis, Missouri, born in 1956, I differed from the child in the book. My parents did not shield me or look away from racism, but rather, they shared and shed light on it. My parents’ early influence paved the way for my path to unfold in the clear direction of justice. How often is this the case in white families?

After using “Not My Idea” for my own self-examination, I found that the book had value for my peers and my students. I have always had the practice of using children’s books for grown-ups. Higginbotham’s picture books explore challenging human experiences like death, divorce, sex, race, and abuse. Higginbotham’s stories come in the form of color-rich collages crafted on grocery bags with everyday materials and paper dolls dressed in real fabric. The focused, minimalistic scenes evoke strong emotion. Still, there is plenty of space left on the page for a reader to project their own intimate experiences of common childhood events.

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