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Empowering Educators

Resources, guides, and videos to help educators have difficult conversations around race and racism.

First Book Presents Empowering Educators

In 2019, First Book surveyed its network of educators, to provide resources that would help them proactively engage their students in conversations about race. Through the survey, 66% of educators stated they wanted to proactively discuss race and racism in their classroom; with 76% of educators requesting resources and tools to have effective, age-appropriate conversations with their students. Additional survey findings helped create a series of free resources that were informed by leading anti-bias and antiracist (ABAR) experts like Britt Hawthorne, Tiffany Jewell, Liz Kleinrock, Cornelius Minor, Catherine Wigginton Greene, and Christine Platt.

In 2020, First Book launched the first year of its Empowering Educators series, which included a Guidebook on Race & Racism, special edition paperback #OwnVoices stories, and the first part of a digital series on race and racism. In 2021, we have continued to expand the dialogue and provide educators with additional real-life resources and examples.

The program has continued to provide invaluable resources for difficult conversations and in 2021, First Book won a Gold Halo Award for the program from Engage for Good.

Explore our Empowering Educators resources designed to assist our Network of educators.

Our Toolbox to Help Build ABAR Classrooms

Have courageous conversations with students of any age.

Empowering Educators - How to Use This toolbox, updated 2022

How to Use This Toolbox

This Empowering Educators Toolbox provides resources designed to help educators help students develop understanding and respect for racial differences.

Empowering Educators, ABAR best practices updated 2022

Best Practices for Building an ABAR Environment

Doing the work to uncover and understand our biases allows us to become aware of how they inform our thoughts and actions and impact others.

Empowering Educators Guidebook - 2022 update

Guidebook on Race & Racism

This expert-informed, introductory guidebook is designed to help educators do the work needed to feel empowered and have courageous conversations with learners of all ages.

Challenging Conversations - Updated 2022

Challenging Conversations About Race & Racism

This guide explains how to facilitate productive, respectful conversations and includes scripts, conversation starters, and debriefing strategies.

Teaching Strategies Empowering Educators - updated 2022

Teaching Strategies & Lesson Plans

This resource offers best-practice guidance about using news articles and videos to spark and enhance race-related discussions. Writing prompts and lesson plans included.

Empowering Educators, Favorite Tools - updated 2022

Our Favorite Tools & Resources

We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite resources and influencers so you can stay current on ABAR strategies and issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

A Convening on Racial Equity in Education

Presented in partnership with American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center (ARPC).

This live webcast, hosted in August 2020, reached over 7,000 educators globally to provide valuable insights and support for educators looking to have effective and courageous conversations on race and social justice in the classroom.

Part 1: Theory & Pedagogy

Part I of the series explores the theories and model examples of how to have a conversation around race within an educator’s classroom.

close up screenshot of britt empowering educator video speaker

Let’s Create a Brave Space

In this segment, Britt helps educators support the positive racial identity development of students by modeling effective ways to start with the positive aspects of various cultures and races before i…

Using Books For Conversations About Race

In this segment, Cornelius models effective techniques educators can use with picture books to introduce and support conversations about race.

Foundation for Talking About Racism

In this segment, Tiffany discusses and models a popular activity she uses to help students explore their understanding of race and create an atmosphere of authentic community among her students.

Making Diverse and Inclusive Titles Accessible

As a companion to the Empowering Educators Collection, First Book have selected five of the most popular diverse titles on the First Book Marketplace and re-issued them in first-ever, affordable paperback editions.

The paperbacks selected for the inaugural launch are warm, affirming picture books that explore meaningful elements of identity that will be relatable to all readers. Pizza Hut selected these titles from First Book’s Stories for All Project™, which curates new, relevant, high-quality books representing diverse characters, voices, and life circumstances and makes them available and affordable to educators who support kids in need.

Part 2: ABAR Teaching in Action

The latest series provides examples of real educators and their students engaging in lessons or discussions about race, diversity, or inclusion.

first book educator sharing their abar lesson and teaching practices

Two Lessons on Creating Brave Space

Highlights First Book educators from around the country, showing how they incorporate anti-bias, antiracist practices in their classrooms.

screenshot of teacher in empowering educators video about inquiry based learning

Inquiry-Based Learning

Educators walk through their inquiry-based framework to lead a lesson on race, racism, difference, and equity.

headshot of rachel hsieh in empowering educators video

The Power of Literature

Educators show how they use books to begin conversations about race with their students.

“From the neighborhood to the national level, America is on a critical journey:  from identifying racism, to deeper understanding – and finally to dismantling systemic racism. To support this journey, First Book is excited to launch an unprecedented effort to empower educators – and the children they serve. These resources, and the important conversations they enable, will inspire and enlighten all of us as we work together with our educators to elevate equal opportunities for all of our children.”

Kyle Zimmer, president, CEO and Co-founder of First Book

Visit the Marketplace

First Book’s Marketplace serves eligible educators teaching in Title I schools and gives them access to brand-new books and resources for low-income and historically underserved communities.

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