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How to talk to your kids about racism and the protests for George Floyd across Tampa Bay

Talking about social justice issues and racism may be a tough conversation to have with your family, but books can help.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — There's so much going on in the world right now: a pandemic, protests against police brutality and frank discussions about racism. These things are tough enough to navigate for adults and kids may be having a hard time processing, too.

As a family, it's important to address these conversations. 

"These aren't bad things to talk about because it's what's happening in the world right now," said Lorielle Hollaway, owner of Cultured Books in St. Pete.

Hollaway's bookstore is a children's bookstore that focuses on sharing positive stories about people of color, people of various sexual orientations and religions. The stories she has curated address difficult social justice issues and explain them to children.

"We want to make sure we're countering the narrative that's given to children about particular groups, that some are better than others. We want to show that we all are equal," said Hollaway. 

Some of her favorite titles she carries right now are "Antiracist Baby", "Race Cars: A children's book about white privilege" and "A is for Activism".

Hollaway says books are a good resource for parents, especially in white families that may not have ever experienced racism first-hand. 

"Black communities and communities of color have had these conversations really early on because they have to deal with it. So for white parents, it's a great start to help kids understand what's going on with family or friends that may not be white."

Books can serve as not only a learning experience but a bonding experience too. Hollaway says opening up the avenue to have discussions about tough topics will create a more open line of communication and a desire for understanding.

Cultured Books also carries titles that can help children understand the difference between religions and things they may see on themselves, like different hair textures.

UNICEF published some other ways to talk to your kids about racism.

  • Recognize and celebrate differences, like skin color
  • Celebrate diversity by exploring food and media from other cultures
  • Be open. Make sure you're always open to questions and encourage them
  • Use fairness. Children understand the concept of fairness well, so explain how racism is unfair and how we need to work together to make it better
  • Encourage action
  • Remember that you're the example your child follows

Another resource parents can use for having discussions about protests and what led to them is the recent Sesame Street town hall about racism.

RELATED: Why you shouldn't respond to Black Lives Matter with 'all lives matter'

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