June 14, 2018


Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness is the newest book in Anastasia Higginbotham's Ordinary Terrible Things series, and like all of Higginbotham's books, this one hits the nail on the head.

The latest book in the series (a series which has explored concepts like sex and death) tackles the concept of "whiteness." A white child watches breaking news coverage of a white police officer shooting a brown person and attempts to start a dialogue with his mother about what he is witnessing. The child's questions touch upon things like why the officer is screaming and threatening to shoot an unarmed black man, and he ruminates on how "skin color affects the most ordinary daily experiences." Although the adults in the child's family try to steer the conversation in different directions by telling the child not to worry about things and that the officer is just doing his job, the child understands that the issues he is witnessing run much, much deeper than his family lets on.

Like with her other books, Higginbotham uses a whole host of mixed media for her illustrations. They walk the fine line between feeling childlike in their execution (simple lines, few images per page) and feeling overly sophisticated to the point where it's hard not to focus on every little detail. Which is kind of the point. Higginbotham is silently asking her readers to be more aware of everything around them, and as the narrator, she is able to take control of the narrative and answer questions that expand on what little the child can gleam from adults."Racism is a white person's problem" too, and while white people don't need to defend themselves as being not racist, it IS up to white people (especially white children) to use their curiosity about events they see in the news and further their own education on the topic. And, of course, hopefully change the injustices they see around them now and in the future.

Not My Idea publishes from Dottir Press on September 4, 2018.

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