At Least Four Massachusetts Public School Districts Recommend Children’s Book Comparing ‘Whiteness’ To The Devil

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Is whiteness the Devil?

There is a children’s book that makes that reference, and several Massachusetts public school districts want elementary schoolers to read it.

The book is Not My Idea:  A Book About Whiteness by Anastasia Higginbotham. The book has a devil-like figure that offers the protagonist a “contract binding you to whiteness.” The recipient will receive “stolen land,” “stolen riches,” and “special favors,” but if the character signs it, the contract will cause the character’s soul to “mess endlessly with the lives of your friends, neighbors, loved ones and all fellow humans of color.”

As NewBostonPost previously reported, it’s in the category of “Children’s Books on Race, Culture, and Activism” on the Belmont Public School district’s reading list. (It’s one of 80 books on the list.) However, the Belmont school district is far from alone among Massachusetts schools in wanting children to read the book.

It’s also a book that the Concord-Carlisle regional public school district recommends. While NewBostonPost reported on some of the resources that the “Cultural Competency and Anti-Racism” section on the school’s web site recommends, that story focused primarily on a Google document called “A Collection of Anti Racism Resources.” That Google doc was part of a section on the web site called “How to Speak to Children About Racism Resources.” Another one of those “resources” is the book Not My Idea:  A Book About Whiteness.

Needham Public Schools also suggests it as a possibility for educators to read to their students. On the equity section of the school district’s web site, there is a tab called “Resources for Educators.” The section includes a few external links to books about race as well as five specific titles. One of them is Not My Idea:  A Book About Whiteness.

Here are three related but separated images from the same landing page on the Needham public schools’ web site:



Birch Meadow Elementary School, part of the Reading Public Schools district, recommends the book, as well.

The school’s web site has a section called “Anti-Racism, Equity and Anti-Bias at Birch Meadow School.” That section includes a link to a PDF called “Books to Begin the Anti-Racism Conversation.”

“There is no doubt about the fact that having honest conversations about racism and inequity is difficult at any age. How do we begin these conversations with our children?” the school’s web site says. “Literature is a good place to start.”

Not My Idea:  A Book About Whiteness is one of the six books it recommends. The description of the book that the school district uses calls it “A picture book about racism and racial justice, inviting white children and parents to become curious about racism, accept that it’s real, and cultivate justice.”

Here are two (related but separated) images from the PDF put together by the school’s librarian:



The superintendents for Concord-Carlisle, Belmont, Needham, and Reading Public Schools could not be reached for comment on Sunday or Monday this week.


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