Offering biracial kids a true sense of who they are, where they come from and an understanding of their place in the world will help them positively contribute to it.
It forges the way toward self-confidence, strength and compassion to become the change the world so desperately needs right now.
More than Other – Checking off the Boxes
One thing I learned early on as a biracial child myself is that I never felt like I truly belonged to a particular race.
Identifying as “half-black” and “half-white” made me feel less more like “other” than those check-boxes I had to fill out in forms and applications.
The instructions screamed “Choose One!!” and each and every time, I chose both.
I spent years fractionizing my identity into “half-black” and “half-white” It wasn’t until I had multi-racial children of my own that I realized how problematic this was.
It kept me from embracing and accepting ALL aspects of my background; I wanted better for my children.
As a homeschooling mom, I seek meaningful literature for my children in an effort to educate and inspire them.
One such way is by ensuring there are books on our bookshelf that my son can identify with. Because he is of mixed-race, I began my home library with a collection of books geared toward biracial kids.
My son is now 6 years old and has been noticing that my skin color is quite different from his and dads; just funny observations 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?
Our Favorite Mixed-Race Identity Picture Books
Recently I started thinking of ways I could broach the subject of his mixed-race in a healthy and positive way while keeping it as natural and straightforward as possible.
I gravitate toward these books for biracial kids because they’re a fun and organic way to show my son people that looked like us!
- 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 and it discusses the differences between mom and dads skin color and how the biracial child is a beautiful blend of both.
- The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage 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.
- Black, White, Just Right by Margeurite Davol celebrates how the differences between one mother and father blend to make the perfect combination in their daughter. As this little family moves through the world, the girl notes some of the ways that her parents are different from each other, and how she is different from both of them.
- Mixed Me by Taye Diggs chronicles Mike. Mike has awesome hair. He has LOTS of energy! His parents love him. And Mike is a PERFECT blend of the two of them. Still, Mike has to answer LOTS of questions about being mixed. And he does, with LOTS of energy and joy in this charming story about a day in the life of a mixed-race child.
Picture Books for Younger Biracial Kids
- It doesn’t get any more classic than Sesame Street. In the book We’re Different, We’re The Same recognizing our similarities despite our differences is the goal. This book makes a great baby shower gift. Who better to introduce tolerance and acceptance than Elmo and Friends!
- I am Mixed is a sweet book by Garcelle Beauvais & Sebastian Jones. Years of ticking off the “other” box and trying to fit “who I am” into one neat little box left me sad and confused as a child and young adult. Representation really and truly, does matter.
Raising our children to be well-adjusted, compassionate and emotionally intelligent is the goal. It’s important to start our kids on the right path toward love and acceptance of all people.
Filling bookshelves with quality children’s literature that is both inclusive and representative is a step in the right direction.
Check out my blog post on Charleston Moms Blog for children’s picture books for Black History Month
Have you found any books for biracial kids that you absolutely love? Share in the comments below, I’m always looking for new options for our bookshelves!