Using picture books to talk about race 

Anne Sibley O’Brien

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Island Readers & Writers (IRW) will host a two-part virtual professional development workshop with author/illustrator Anne Sibley O’Brien and Dr. Andrea Breau on using picture books to talk about race with children in majority-white communities. 

O’Brien and Breau will look at what the research is saying about children’s conceptions and attitudes about race and about how children can be supported to develop healthy racial identities and the ability to interact positively across differences with the aid of picture books. 

Part one of the workshop takes place on Tuesday, Oct. 5, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. It will focus on when and how children begin to notice and make sense of social differences, how racial identity and unconscious bias develop, and how to approach conversations on race. 

Part two is scheduled from 3:30-4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 12. Based on what is known from social and neuroscience research, part two will center around how to talk about race with both children and adults in predominately-white communities, and how books can help. 

O’Brien is a children’s book creator who has illustrated 32 picture books. She is the author of 14 of those books. She is also a co-founder of the databases I’m Your Neighbor Books and Diverse Book Finder and has published essays on diverse books. 

Dr. Andrea Breau

Breau has a bachelor’s degree from Colby College and a master’s degree and doctorate from Ohio State University, where she taught for a decade in the fields of women’s, gender and sexuality studies. She has served as program coordinator for Diverse Book Finder. 

Participation in both sessions is recommended and registration is required. Visit for more information and to register for the workshops.  

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