Hi, we are Katie and Marley. We met six years ago teaching on the Southside of Chicago. As co-teachers, we spent a lot of time together...and we mean a lot of time. Naturally much our conversations were centered around what and how we would be teaching. Our discussions also encompassed many other topics like that of race and the inequities that are prevalent for our students. Sometimes our conversations got uncomfortable. Hard questions were asked and we spent hours listening to each other. These honest and tough conversations are the reason our professional relationship extended to a true friendship.
So...we get that talking about race isn’t easy. It’s often hard knowing what to say and how to best say it. Notice how we said it can be difficult to “talk” about race. We meant to say that. Now let’s consider what it’s like to teach students about race, inequities, and what our society is facing as a whole right now. Feeling tongue tied? We’re here with you.
As educators, we know the value of read alouds and classroom discussions. If certain conversations aren’t happening within the home, we can only hope they’re taking place within the classroom. Eventually we found ourselves talking about the number of resources our classrooms were lacking so that we could begin having more conversation around race. Yes, teachers do way more than focus on the Common Core State Standards! Luckily, we have time embedded into the day for teaching social emotional skills and this also allows us to be responsive to the needs of our students. More often than not, what happens outside of the classroom becomes a topic of conversation and a moment for learning within the classroom.
Luckily for us, we know what we have to do when something is missing within our classrooms. Luckily for you, we knew our messages were too valuable to keep to ourselves and we wanted to bring you on this journey with us. Our hope is that our books will go beyond the classroom and into the homes of all students. We trust that you’ll enjoy learning along with us and being a part of The Race to Understand.
Before we sat down to write, we knew we wanted to educate and inspire society to think, be, and do better. We wanted to make tough conversations about race more accessible to children, parents, and educators. This summer we did just that. Together, we came up with two book ideas. Writing and publishing one book before we started the other was never discussed. We knew that BOTH books had to be written because their messages were equally important.
During the summer, we came up with several book ideas. We have so much more to share and that led to us creating The Race to Understand. Our goal here today is to keep it about our first two books, but we cannot wait to share more about the additional children’s books and classroom resources that are in the works.
When Lincoln makes a classmate upset, he finds he has a lot to learn about the world he once knew. Turning to his dad to make sense of why it’s important to see color, he begins to understand the importance and the power (good and bad) in people’s differences. Lincoln’s first day of school may teach him one of the most valuable lessons in life.
When McKinley’s classmate questions her abilities, she realizes that the world may not see her the way she was raised to see herself. McKinley has to remember all of the things that make her brilliant and hopes to help others see that too! McKinley’s experience reignites her will to believe in herself even if she’s the only one who believes… for the time being.