This piece first appeared on the author’s blog, Chicana M(other)work, and is reprinted here by permission.
Ever since I became a mother seven years ago, I have struggled to find parenting resources that reflect my visions for social justice. I am not interested in resources that reinforce neoliberal ideologies, rather, I want revolution! The following is a list of 10 parenting resources (books, zines, and podcasts) for mothers, parents, caretakers, and children of color who can use these as tools to dismantle oppression and collectively build better worlds for feminist, radical, queer, and abolitionist futures. The revolution truly begins at home with our children of color. Now, let’s get free!
Note: I have included links for everything except the books because I strongly encourage you to purchase them from your local independent book slanger.
1. Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines (2016) edited by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens, and Mai’a Williams, “is an anthology that centers mothers of color and marginalized mothers’ voices—women who are in a world of necessary transformation. The challenges faced by movements working for anti-violence, anti-imperialist, and queer liberation, as well as racial, economic, reproductive, gender, and food justice are the same challenges that marginalized mothers face every day.” I’ve returned to essays like “m/other ourselves: a Black queer feminist genealogy for radical mothering” and “Mothering as Revolutionary Praxis” again and again because their words have deeply impacted my own revolutionary mothering. Contributors include June Jordan, Loretta Ross, Panquetzani, Irene Lara, Victoria Law, Fabiola Sandoval, Mamas of Color Rising, and many more.
2. The anthologies Rad Families: A Celebration (2017) edited by Tomas Moniz and Rad Dad: Dispatches From the Frontiers of Fatherhood (2011) edited by Tomas Moniz and Jeremy Adam Smith. The contributors address a broad range of subjects from a radical perspective, including Black fathering, single mothering, queer parenting, trans pregnancy, adoption, racism and police brutality, mothering from prison, raising anarchist children, punk parents, and what it means to be a parenting ally in activist communities. The essays “Calm the Fuck Down” and “Losing My Shit” resonated with some of my parenting struggles for obvious reasons. Contributors include Ta-Nehisi Coates, Allison Wolfe, Mindi J, Artnoose, Jeff Chang, and many more.
3. Fare of the Free Child is a podcast that centers the unschooling education movement from the radical perspectives of people of color. Host Akilah S. Richards and guests “discuss the fears and the fares (costs) of raising free black and brown children in a world that tends to diminish, dehumanize, and disappear them.”
Podcasts include “Woke AF Parenting 101,” “Black Queer Mothering,” and “Unschooling Away the Plantation.”
4. Sex is a Funny Word: A Book About Bodies, Relationships, and You (2015) by Cory Silverberg is an incredible resource for teaching kids about their bodies, consent, sex, and much more. I love this book because it actively de-centers heteronormativity by uplifting all genders and all sexualities. In addition, there is a special section about identifying child sexual abuse, which is important information for every child to know. The colorful cartoon illustrations and graphic novel-like format are especially engaging for kids.
5. Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom (2011) by Shane W. Evans is a stunning picture book that is appropriate for younger children and yet complex in the simplicity of the words. The book jacket description reads, “A family silently crawls along the ground. They run barefoot through unlit woods, sleep beneath bushes, take shelter in a kind stranger’s home. Where are they heading? They are heading for Freedom by way of the Underground Railroad.” As the mother of a non-Black child of color in the United States, this book is a useful resource for talking with my child about the history of slavery, how slavery connects to our current fight for prison abolition, and why we share responsibility to eradicate anti-Blackness in Latinx communities.
6. Parenting for Liberation (P4L) is a podcast created by Black feminist movement mother-activist, Trina Greene Brown, for Black mothers, parents, and children “who are freedom fighting for our collective liberation” through the dismantling of anti-Blackness, patriarchy, and more. Listen to the P4L podcast here (https://parentingforliberation.org/itunes/) and purchase the P4L workbook here (https://parentingforliberation.org/shop/).
One of the featured stories in the workbook is from an interview that P4L did with me about how I had “the talk” with my son about an incident of police brutality against a brown teenager that occurred in my neighborhood. P4L provides a space for us to ask ourselves, how can we shift from parenting out of fear toward parenting for liberation?
7. Decolonizing P@renting, a zine by and for queer parents of color, is created by María Teresa Carmier of Super Sisters zine and Se’mana Thompson of queer indigenous girl zine. The zine declares “Decolonizing parenting takes root in my healing. Planting seeds of resilience in my child to heal and grow is decolonial love.” There is a real lack of parenting resources that center queer mothers and queer parents of color and this zine marks a significant contribution.
8. When A President Is a Bully: Truth and Creativity for Oppressive Times (2017) by Maya Gonzalez is a bilingual book that was created shortly after the election of 45 to address the very real fears our children of color are experiencing in our current political climate. The book addresses the histories of Native Americans, African Americans, and Mexican Americans in the United States and affirms our families with a powerful hands-on activity inspired by Gloria Anzaldua’s phrase “I change myself, I change the world.” This book has spurned many discussions with my son about the difficult concepts of racism, slavery, oppression, and colonization and what these mean for us and our loved ones. I highly recommend this book and all of Maya Gonzales’s radical children’s books for folks of color.
9. Anything from the “Intersex is Beautiful” Etsy shop, which was created by a Chicago activist of color who is intersex @pidgeo_n. I love the “Too Cute to be Binary” and “Post-Gender” onesies and shirts. Shop here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/IntersexisBeautiful?ref=profile_shopicon
More Radical Reads: 5 Ways I Teach My Children Intersectional Feminism… And Why It Matters
10. Radical Coloring Books! I can’t get enough of these! Here are a few:
Color Me Rising Coloring Books by the Chicago Childcare Collective and For the People Artists Collective. Their coloring books depict local demonstrations and events in Chicago. They do not ship copies but you can print some free coloring pages here:
Girls Are Not Chicks by Jacinta Bunnell and Julie Novak and Sometimes the Spoon Run Away With Another Spoon by Jacinta Bunnell and Nathaniel Kusinitz. These books features coloring pages with phrases like “No one wants to fight patriarchy alone. Make friends!” and “We pledge allegiance to all-girl bands, pro choice rallies, witchcraft, and female MCs.” Order here:
Mira! A Radical Coloring Book for Kids by Mira, a radical womyn’s art collective based in Southwest Detroit. Their book “features drawings that demonstrate struggle–historic or present–and radical futurism to spark kids’ imagination and re-center justice narratives…let’s celebrate real people and ancestors waging fierce grassroots organizing struggles.” Order a copy at MiraDetroit.org.
More Radical Reads: 7 Things Not to Say To a Child Wrestling With Their Sexuality
Bonus Resource: Chicana M(other)work, of course! In our work, we center Chicana/Latina mothers within academia and beyond who work toward social justice and liberation. We invite all mothers, parents, and caretakers of color to listen to our podcasts, read our blog, and learn about our forthcoming anthology. Follow us on Instagram (@chicanamotherwork) and Facebook.
Do you know about other radical resources for mothers, parents, caretakers, and children of color? Let us know for Part 2!
Cecilia Caballero is the mother of a seven year old and the daughter of Mexican immigrant parents from Michoacan. Cecilia is a poet, short story and speculative fiction writer, and lover of all things spooky. She lives in Los Angeles in a blue house and she is currently a PhD Candidate in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California.
[Feature Image: A photo of a person with light brown hair. They are wearing a blue and white shirt. They are holding a child, wearing a blue and purple shirt and an orange band on their head. Source: Jim Epler]