My family happens to be multiracial. I am White Canadian and my husband is Black Jamaican. While multiracial families aren’t as much of a stigma as they were even just a decade ago, it definitely sets us apart and I think makes us pretty special. I do worry sometimes about how my children will be perceived and how they will perceive themselves because of it. Developing positive views of their multiracial identity now, while they are young can only help their psychological well-being as teens and adults. Like most parents, I want them to be confident, to have good self-esteem and to feel in place. I want them to worry about their grades, and not about where they fit into society.
We are big readers in my house. My almost 3 year old daughter has a 3 shelf bookcase that is already full of wonderful books that she loves to both look through herself and have read to her. Part of our nighttime ritual is reading and she will often ask me to read her a book in the middle of the day. I love encouraging her love of books, even at an age where she can’t read them for herself.
Books can connect, engage and encourage in a way that other modes of entertainment can’t compare to and that also makes them a powerful tool.
One of my favourites books to read the girls is Something Good by Robert Munsch which depicts a multiracial family but isn’t about being multiracial or even anything social. What it does depict is a fun and silly story about a family doing somewhat normal things and i think it really helps to normalize what it means to be multiracial.
This is a list of the 10 books I have found most helpful (and fun!) in fostering positive feelings about our identity as a black and white multiracial family.
I Am Mixed by Garcelle Beauvais
Jay and Nia are the children of two worlds, and as they will discover, they can enjoy the best of both. From Mommy’s jazz beats to Daddy’s classical piano, we will dance with the twins through a book that explores what it is to be of mixed ancestry, proving that a child is more than the sum of their parents.
Mixed Like Me by Gina Golliday-Cabell
Mixed Like Me is a delightful children’s book addressing a most important building block in a child’s development: the element of positive self-esteem and pride. With the prevalence of blended racial and cultural differences in our society, children of various ethnic backgrounds often question the differences in appearances among themselves, their friends, and other family members. This charming children’s book reinforces an interracial child’s self-image, identity, and value, regardless of what they have heard or been led to believe, and will help to develop unity in their family, community, and the world, one child at a time.
Mixed Blessing: A Children’s Book about a Multi-Racial Family by Marsha Cosman
A young son discovers he does not have exactly the same skin colour as either parent. He questions this revelation and his parents explain using animals during a visit to the zoo. A candid look at children of mixed race and multiculturalism learning about their identity for the first time through a colourful illustrative story. The author uses her own experience to write this book about children questioning their appearance and acceptance in society. A fun learning book for any age which will aid in the prevention of bullying and the acceptance of differences.
Black, White, Just Right! by Marguerite W. Davol
This simple story celebrates how the differences between one mother and father blend to make the perfect combination in their daughter. The fact that her mother is African American and her father is white is just one of the many interesting things that make this little girl and her family “just right.”
My Two Grannies by Floella Benjamin
Alvina has two grannies: Grannie Vero from Trinidad and Grannie Rose from England. When Alvina’s parents go on vacation, both grannies arrive to look after Alvina. But the two grannies have two very different ideas about what to eat, what to play, even what stories to tell. The grannies get angrier and angrier with each other, but Alvina devises a plan so that each granny can have her own way — or so she hopes! This sweet, funny story about tolerance and understanding reminds children that no matter how great the differences may seem, there’s always room for common ground.
Brown-skinned momma, the colour of chocolate milk and coffee pumpkin pie, whose face gets ginger red when she puffs and yells the children into bed. White-skinned daddy, not white like milk or snow, lighter than brown, With pinks and tiny tans, whose face gets tomato red when he puffs and yells their children into bed. Children who are all the colours of the race, growing up happy in a house full of love. This is the way it is for them; this is the way they are, but the joy they feel extends to every reader of this book.
Black is brown is tan is a story poem about being, a beautiful true song about a family delighting in each other and in the good things of the earth.
Something Good by Robert Munsch
Tyya’s dad won’t buy anything good at the store – no ice cream, no candy, no cookies. But when the saleslady puts a price sticker on Tyya’s nose, Daddy is finally forced to buy something good.
My Two Grandads by Floella Benjamin
Aston’s Grandad Roy played in a steel band and Grandad Harry played the trumpet in a brass band. Aston always enjoyed going to visit them and listen to them practise. But soon he wanted to join in. So he asked Grandad Roy to teach him to play the steel drums and then he asked Grandad Harry to teach him to play the trumpet. He loved practising both instruments. Then the school needs a band to play at the school fair, and both grandads want their own band to play. Finally Aston had an idea – both bands join together to make one big band, and Aston joins in first on steel drums and then on trumpet. This delightful story of a mixed-race family reconciling their very different cultures is a wonderful celebration of diverse cultures.
Mixed Me: A Tale of a Girl who is both Black and White by Tiffany Catledge
Little Mixie wonders why everyone wants to know WHAT she is. Isn’t it obvious? She is clearly a human being. And anyway, isn’t WHO she is what matters most? Coming from a family with a black dad and a white mom makes her extra special, and maybe a little different too. But different is good. Mixie embraces her uniqueness and determines to be the best “Me” she can be.
Hope by Isabell Monk