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My son is now 5 1/2 year old and has been noticing that my skin color is quite different from his and dads; it’s not ever been a concern of course, just funny observations every now and then.
“Mommy is hot dog color and I am ham color!” I would have much preferred he compare us to yummy beverages like coffee with cream or hot cocoa rather than processed meats, but hey, what can you do?
Recently I started thinking of ways I could broach the subject of race in a healthy and positive way without putting too much emphasis on it and keeping it as natural and straightforward as possible. I naturally gravitate to the written word as a way to understand and process the world around me and seek the same meaningful literature for my children in an effort to educate and inspire.
I originally found the book Black is Brown is Tan at the library and loved it so much that I needed to have it in our home library. The illustrations depict our family perfectly!
The Case for Loving gently introduces the fight for interracial marriage to children in an age-appropriate way. While it doesn’t fully explain how the court system works, it responsibly uses illustrations as a jumping-off point for parents to fill in the blanks on the Supreme Court if needed and respectfully illustrates the ‘darker’ aspects of the story through dramatic (not scary) images.
It doesn’t get any more classic than Sesame Street for teaching children that no matter what, we’re all different but we’re all the same! We’re Different, We’re The Same is a book that needs to be on every child’s bookshelf. This book also makes a great baby shower gift. In today’s world, tolerance and acceptance need to be taught from day one, and who better to initiate that than Elmo and Friends!
Finally, being “mixed” myself, I’ve long battled what to call myself. Years of ticking off the “other” box and trying to fit “who I am” into one neat little box left me frustrated and confused as a child and young adult. I want my son to be comfortable and confident with who he is and where he comes from. I am Mixed is a sweet book by Garcelle Beauvais & Sebastian Jones that any child, multi-racial or not, will enjoy.
Our children will ultimately follow our lead and if it is our goal to raise well-adjusted, compassionate and emotionally intelligent children, then we owe it to them to start them out on the right path of love and acceptance of all people and a true understanding of who they are, where they come from, their place in the world and how they can positively contribute.