While the issue of racism has bubbled along in the background of schools for decades, the recent rise and focus on the Black Lives Matter movement has brought it forward into the loungerooms and lives of our students and many have many questions. This is to be expected if we accept the premise that “race is not a natural, biologically grounded feature of physically distinct subgroups of human beings but a socially constructed (culturally invented) category that is used to oppress and exploit people of colour” particularly when ‘race’ itself is defined as “the idea that the human species is divided into distinct groups on the basis of inherited physical and behavioral differences.” (Britannica, 2022)
Therefore this book is a timely release that uses a simple lift-the-flap technique to answer children’s questions in a way that they will understand. For example, while the Britannica definition can be easily unpacked by an adult here it is explained as “treating people differently and unfairly based on their skin colour, where they’re from, their religion or their family traditions.”
From ‘What’s wrong with the idea of ‘race’? and ‘Why is life harder for people with darker skin?’ to ‘Don’t ALL lives matter?’ and ‘What’s racism got to do with me?’ this book tackles powerful, pertinent questions in a direct, accessible and thought-provoking way. Even if the reader has not encountered racism, they learn why it is everyone’s problem to solve, and how we can all be part of the solution.
There is also a blog post that offers guidance about how to talk to children about racism because “even by the age of two children begin to notice skin colour and other differences in appearance” and there are also the usual Quicklinks to help the reader understand more deeply.
’Twas the night before EASTER
When I spotted the BUNNY!
So I offered to help
Make the EGG HUNT more FUNNY!
Like many other families, this one has gathered en masse at the beach house but with the rain tumbling down it doesn’t look like it’s going to be the fun holiday they had planned. But when the mischievous little kid finds the Easter Bunny hiding eggs in the house, they decide to take matters into their own hands and help out, hiding the eggs in places that are significant to each recipient. But not only are the placements accompanied by an explanation, they also all the worst puns of the season…
Pop’s on a health kick, which he finds unappealing.
So we placed all his eggs up near the ceiling.
He’ll have to do some hare-robics!”
While the new Easter Bunny is carried away with the pranks and the jokes, they finally notice that the real Easter Bunny is not amused, and perhaps there should be a re-think of the plans… Perhaps the funny bunny isn’t so funny after all.
From the rollicking rhyme, to the predictable puns to the perfect illustrations this is a story that needs to be read aloud to an audience because the groans of those who get the incessant plays on words will just add to the atmosphere. Even though the Easter Bunny has heard them all before, the listeners will not and they will delight in the fun and the joy as they add to them with their own (while learning a bit more about how our language works.) And because James Hart has cleverly depicted the main character as gender-neutral, each child will see themselves being the Easter Bunny’s offsider and wondering how they could play similar pranks.
But this is more than just an “hare-larious” story that opens up opportunities for the more serious to explore puns in particular and humour in general – it’s just plain fun and while Easter may again look different for many this year because after the fires and the pestilence, many are now coping with floods, it it still those strong family connections that glue us together whatever the circumstances.