Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness (Ordinary Terrible Things) is one of those books you will love or hate. You will think every piece is a gem or the worst bull you have ever heard. And I am not just talking about “liberals” will like and “conservatives” will not. I am not talking about “racists” will dislike it and “non-racists” will like. There is a lot going on and it will bring up a lot of thoughts, feelings and discussions. Not all of which will be pleasant to feel or to hear.
The biggest issues we have today when it comes to letting kids know about issues with race is: how much to tell them, when to tell them, how to tell them and should we tell them at all. After all, it is not about “us” as we are not “having it happen to us” as it is “happening to someone else” not part of our circle. This book can help with that.
The idea of privilege is brought up. But as a person who likes to consider themselves a forward-thinking, inclusive person, my first thought is “How white of you to bring up the issue.” Yet, there is a reason for this and the author addresses it at the start of the book. Maybe this book is too modern for some peoples tastes, yet not modern enough for others. But Anastasia Higginbotham did not decide to write about sunshine and flowers. She decided to write about race, the issues that surround it and how it relates to all of us.
I would have liked to have seen less “creative” illustrations but perhaps that helps take away from the strong emotions of the text and allows it to be accessible to everyone. I wish I did not have to put a rating on this book. I cannot recommend or not recommend it. It is too personal of a story/concept/issue for one person to say, “Yes read” or “No don’t.” I could go on about my political views, or the feelings this book raised for me (and it raised a lot of feelings and made me look at some beliefs) but that is a can of worms this is not the forum for. The fact that this book is so powerful (like it or not; regardless of beliefs) you must decide for yourself if this is something you read.