DURHAM, N.C. (RNS) — Amy Julia Becker always looked forward to the nightly reading routine she shares with her children, especially some of the classic books she loved as a girl — books such as “The Little Princess,” “The Secret Garden,” “Anne of Green Gables,” “Little Women.”
But one day scanning her children’s bookshelf she realized that nearly all the characters in those books were white, like herself, her husband and her three children.
That was the beginning of an awakening for Becker, a Christian writer based in Washington, Conn., who has written a series of books, most prominently “A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny” about her daughter who has Down syndrome.
Becker’s latest book, “White Picket Fences” (published by NavPress, in alliance with Tyndale), delves into the hot topic of white privilege and how Becker set about reconsidering her own background as an Anglo-Saxon Protestant, an Ivy-League-educated wife and mother with a growing awareness of poverty, oppression, racial strife and police brutality.
Becker grew up in Edenton, a small town in North Carolina’s Inner Banks region, “within walking distance of the local plantation,” as she writes. In the book she explores what she calls “the lies” she was told about its past. The aim of her book is not to indict, she said, but to give Christians a gentle introduction to the issues.
RNS sat down with Becker during a book tour that brought her to Durham before heading off to Chicago, Richmond, Va., Lexington and Louisville, Ky.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.