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The Jacket by Andrew Clements

The jacket

Check out The Jacket by Andrew Clements– this isn’t so much of a book review as it is a book acknowledgement. It’s 2014 and you still don’t get to read about racism too much in contemporary children’s fiction (that takes place in the modern era). Sure, there’s plenty of historical children’s fiction that talks about racism as a thing of the past, and there’s certainly a bit of fiction about kids of Color that sometimes hints at racial injustice.

But this is a book by a (super famous & popular) white author about a white kid who does something to a black kid and then starts thinking critically about race and racism for his first time ever. While as an adult, the sequence of the protagonist’s thoughts is maybe a little too idealistic, it’s still admirable and lovely and totally groundbreaking in its deconstruction of race and racism in mainstream suburban white America. It’s 89 pages of 14-point font with occasional illustrations. You’ll read it in a single train ride and wonder why more mainstream children’s lit hasn’t gone there. Find a copy here.


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