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Mixed Race or Just Mixed Up? Children’s Books Provide Answers

I noticed a surge in the number of books I sold, over the last two months (see best-selling books list), that dealt with issues of mixed race people.   Forty percent of the fiction, best-selling, titles addressed this complicated and often sensitive issue.  The bulk of these titles were targeted to children.

interacial-african-americansThe concept of “race” has no basis in science and is arbitrarily applied.   Unfortunately, because of America’s twisted concept of race, many so called “mixed-raced” children suffer from problems of self-esteem due to confusion over identity and belonging.

In the United States, a significant portion the population is mixed.   Which race you belong to has nothing to do with your genetics.   Even more absurdly, the “one drop” rule which asserts that you are black if you have a black person in your ancestry.  As a result, Tiger Woods who is 1/4 African-American, 1/4 Thai, 1/4 Chinese, 1/8 Native American and 1/8 Dutch is simply Black.

According to a 2009 study, by Genome Biology, the average African-American has 21.9% European ancestry.   Approximately 10 percent of the people in the U.S., who self-identify as African-American, have at least 50 percent European ancestry.  Can you imagine the public’s reaction if our President, Barack Obama, decided to embrace the race of his mother and self-identify as white?

Interracial marriage only became fully legal in all the States of the U.S. in 1967!  However, a 2012 report from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that 10% of all marriages, by opposite sex partners, in 2010, involved people of different races.  This represented an increase of 28% from 2000.

As the number of mixed race people increases in the U.S., due to the increase in mixed race marriages, the need for books on the subject, particularly for children, will become increasingly important.   These books are not just for mixed race children, all children will benefit from them.

I Am Mixed I Am Mixed
by Garcelle Beauvais (Author) , Sebastian A. Jones (Author) , Joshua Cozine (Editor) , James C. Webster (Illustrator)

Series: I Am Book (Book 1)
Hardcover: 52 pages
Publisher: Stranger Comics; 1st edition (August 7, 2013)

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.

black is brown is tanblack is brown is tan
by Arnold Adoff (Author) , Emily Arnold McCully (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Paperback: 40 pages
Publisher: Amistad (January 6, 2004)

Brown-skinned momma, the color 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 colors 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.

black-white-just-rightBlack, White, Just Right!
by Marguerite W. Davol (Author) , Irene Trivas (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Grade Level: 1 – 4
Library Binding: 32 pages
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company (January 1, 1993)

Celebrating the differences between a mother and father that blend to make the perfect combination in their daughter. An African American mother and a white father are only one reason why this family is “just right.”

Mixed Blessing: A Children's Book About a Multi-Racial FamilyMixed Blessing: A Children’s Book About a Multi-Racial Family
by Marsha Cosman (Author) , Kyra Kendall (Illustrator)

Paperback: 26 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 6, 2012)

A young son discovers he does not have exactly the same skin color 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 colorful 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.

Mixed Like MeMixed Like Me
by Gina Golliday-Cabell (Author)

Paperback: 26 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 10, 2012)

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 Me: A Tale of a Girl Who is Both Black and White Mixed Me: A tale of a girl who is both black and white
by Tiffany Catledge (Author) , Anissa Riviére (Illustrator)

Paperback: 34 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 11, 2013)

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.

Meet China Robinson

Chanel Iman & China RobinsonOn the subject of mixed race, meet China Robinson.  She is the parent and former manager of super-model Chanel Iman.  Ms. Robinson, is half Korean and half African-American.   She never she learned who her parents were.  She was born during the Korean War, orphaned and labeled a “War Baby.”  She was adopted and raised in Los Angeles by an African-American couple.  She was teased throughout her childhood, called “ching-chong-china the girl with no eyes,” only to learn, at the age of 13, that she was indeed half Korean.

In her memoir From Seoul To Soul a Robinson describes her struggle with an identity crisis because of her Asian features. She overcomes and embraces her lost past, when her supermodel daughter takes her back to her roots in an unexpected yet victorious style.

In the video below, China Robinson describes here story.


Troy D. Johnson is the President, founder and webmaster of, LLC (The African American Literature Book Club). Launched in March of 1998, has grown to become the largest and most frequently visited website dedicated to books and films by and about people of African descent.