As a woman with white and black biological parents and white adopted parents, I understand how difficult it can be to feel like you “fit in” anywhere. Often, children who are of mixed racial backgrounds feel pressured to choose a side or to identify in a way that doesn’t feel authentic and true. Sometimes it isn’t the child who has an issue at all; it’s the rest of the world. Others have difficulty understanding the foundational (and sometimes cultural) aspects that play a part in making a person who he/she is. In the midst of what can be confusing, it’s important to never lose focus of loving yourself and who you are inside. Here are a few books on a subject near and dear to me.
1. I am Mixed by Garcelle Beauvais and Sebastian A. Jones
Jay and Nia are twins who explore what it means to be of mixed ancestry. I love this book because the twins tackle questions with confidence and strength: “When I go to school, I get asked funny things. Like, your hair is bendy like curly, wurly straws. It is not straight like Sally’s or thick like Lenore’s… I say, I am all these things and so much more. I am all things fine and fair and coarse. And beautiful brown.” I love that the book focuses on loving who you are and having pride simultaneously. Great read.
3. Black is Brown is Tan by Arnold Adoff
One of my favorite books, this is a story poem which reads with a cute sing-song cadence kids will love. It follows a family doing regular family things, but it has a strong emphasis on celebrating all racial colors and hues. The illustrations are in beautiful watercolor and will fascinate any child while driving home the message that we’re all beautiful and different, and that’s what makes us special.
3. Mixed Me! by Taye Diggs
With a short and rhyming text, this book tells the story of a little boy who loves to “go fast!” He’s always on the move, and he has lots of questions. He has wild and curly hair and recognizes that when he’s with his mom and dad of varying hues, people look at them funny and ask questions. It’s a story about acceptance and love. So charming!