[Image description: The Ray family, a young family with two small children, jumping and dancing on a large bed together.]
My mission with Books for Littles (BFL) is to raise kind and brilliant humans.
BFL gives you free age-appropriate picture book recommendations to help you discuss complex topics with young children.
Through these discussions, you can educate and empower the next generation to lead with compassion.
A busy and just-a-bit overwhelmed parent raising young kids.
If you’re like me, you’re short on time, funds, and energy and are under a ton of pressure to do more and raise decent humans while eating a lot of kale and looking like you sleep more than you do.
It’s hard enough to keep your kid from eating old grapes they find under the fridge, so raising topics about death and slavery are kind of intimidating.
But you also don’t want to raise a rapist, a mass shooter, or a CEO who interrupts women and won’t hire people of color, so uhh. Ahh! WHERE DO WE START?!
You’ve got a lot on your plate. No worries, I gotcha.
I need the perfect book with a strong female protagonist, diverse representation, help with potty training, protects my kid from sexual assault, ends racism, and also I need help with…
Okay, slow down.
Hi – I’m Ashia Ray, the lady who writes all the words and does all the things for BFL. That’s a picture of me and my family above. I personally analyze and research every topic and book we feature (and sooo many terrible ones we don’t.)
At BFL, you can find engaging stories that don’t suck and bore you (and your kids) to death. We focus on picture books because parents struggling to afford groceries can pick up books at the library for free. We start these discussions with books at story time because this a safe, non-judgemental space for most families. We focus on books for kids from birth to age 7 because little brains start forming implicit bias at birth.
So let’s start slowly. First – let’s make sure we’re on the same page and this is the right place for you.
In principles of kindness, compassion, inclusion, and creating a world without stigma – and you see your family playing a part in this progress.
You believe that we have a responsibility to provide our kids with respectful, accurate, and empowering representation – because stereotypes increase real-life discrimination and violence against targeted groups.
You believe that Black lives matter, the model minority stereotype dividing people of color is a myth, and that we (in the US) live in a system built on a foundation of anti-Black oppression that continues through the present day in the form of school-to-prison pipelines.
You believe that colorism is a problem, and those of us with light skin have the responsibility to acknowledge and work against discrimination toward darker-skinned folks.
You believe that disabled lives are lives worth living – that people with disabilities are full humans who have the right to integrity, independence, interdependence, inclusion, acceptance, and personal autonomy, whether or not you believe they contribute to society.
You believe in the de-stigmatization of psychiatric health issues, and that pathologizing violent behavior that stems from toxic masculinity, white supremacy, and privilege to disability, neurodivergence, or mental health issues is ableist and derails from real, systemic problems.
You believe that love is love is love is love, and that gender is a spectrum – that the LGBTQ+ community deserves the rights to live safely in this world and raise families that cishet folks enjoy.
You believe that loving someone who you have power over does not give you the right to speak over them or people like them. You believe that no one has the right to speak over voices from people in marginalized communities, and that people with more power and privilege have a duty to listen and boost the voices of those who have been silenced. You understand that white parents of children of color, and non-disabled parents of disabled children do us great harm when they speak about us, without us.
You believe colonists stole this land (the US) from Indigenous tribes. You believe in the restoration of the authority and self-governing power of Indigenous communities within the US, and their right to preserve their culture, heritage, and human rights against a government that is still stealing and polluting their land and devastating their families.
You believe that children have rights, elders have rights, and age does not affect a person’s right to autonomy, integrity, and respect.
You believe in evidence-based-science, do not use autistic or otherwise disabled people as a boogeyman to justify an individual’s refusal to contribute toward herd immunity (which protects those who can’t have vaccinations due to age, illness, disability, or poverty) and accessible health and safety for all
You believe in freedom of religion, and respect the rights of people of faith even when these practices and values differ from your own.
You believe in equal rights, safety, and dignity for all women and non-binary people – including people of color, trans folks, parents and non-parents, and sex workers.
You believe it is our duty to fix climate change and care for the planet we all share.
You believe that honesty and compassion are vital for the progress of humanity, that good things are possible, that kindness takes courageous action, and that discomfort is a normal part of growth.
You might not belong here if:
If you disagree with most of the principles above, you might find a better resource elsewhere. Lots of organizations promote female empowerment or racial justice while stomping all over other marginalized groups, I’m sure you’ll find those with a quick google search.
OR! If you’re like me, and you are curious to hear the experiences of people you disagree with – maybe you’re in exactly the right place.
If you’re concerned with the comfort of your children at the expense of another person’s child well-being – you definitely don’t belong here.
If refuse to talk about racism and other forms of discrimination with your kids – that is selfish. You’re putting the rest of us in danger. You can start these conversations with your kids without overwhelming or traumatizing them. This is your responsibility as a decent human being.
If you presume I’m too incompetent to speak on matters of race, gender equality, or autism because I’m an autistic woman of color, you definitely don’t belong here.
I have human limitations and operate from a vast pool of ignorance.
I’m a multiracial light-skinned Autistic woman of color who has a LOT of privilege. I’m cishet, married and raise my two healthy kids in a safe and happy home, in a moderately diverse, wealthy city with a spectacular public school system. So while I do my best, I will mess up because I don’t know everything.
If you want me to do better, speak up. Leave a comment where you see me being problematic, and I’ll try harder. (But maybe wait a beat and consider whether your discomfort is caused by the fragility from being challenged, first.) You can also check out our accountability standards here.
Remember – I’m not just this wordy human dynamo with a cool dinosaur t-shirts who thinks too much about kids books.
I’m also disabled woman of color and mother. I’m raising two small, spirited kids and I work full time on BFL (which I provide to you, for free). So be gracious, and know that my resources and energy are limited as I try to help literally thousands of readers every day. Before you email me asking for help, suggestions, book lists, and more free labor, it would save me a TON of sanity if you search this website or Facebook group archives first.
I create a lot of awesome stuff for BFL and my experience as a an autistic woman of color gives BFL a unique lens, but these abilities come at a great cost for me, so please stay mindful of that.
And of course – there’s lots of good stuff in our super-duper-top-secret resources exclusively for our Patreon subscribers, the kind and awesome folks who help me provide this resource for families and educators who rely on BFL. For as little as $1/month, you can be one of my favorite people? What a deal! Join us!
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