By: Norman Whaler
Illustrated by: Jasmine Mills
Publisher: Beneath Another Sky Books
Publication Date: March 2018
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Tara is a beautiful young girl with a problem – she is the product of a biracial marriage and gets teased by both white and black children. What can she do?
Most of the children at Tara’s school were nice to her but it seemed that there was always somebody who wanted to tease her. “Are you Black or are you White?” they’d ask her as they laughed. Children can be so cruel to each other!
Most Black kids didn’t make a fuss.
And most White kids said, “Come, sit with us!”
But, some didn’t like her from the start,
That she was too light or she was too dark.
The teasing hurt Tara and she often found herself in fights at school with those who went out of their way to pick on the young girl. Those cruel children also mocked Tara's parents for marrying and expected her to pick one over the other. But how could she choose? She loved both her parents and the mix of cultures they gifted her with. Tara felt lost and cried to her mother. She needed her parents' help to decide “Am I Black or am I White?” Would Tara ever be able to find her place in the World?
Am I Black or Am I White? touches on a sensitive subject that is often overlooked – how the children of biracial marriages cope with the teasing they often receive from schoolmates. The book opens with a page honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., and is dedicated to Dr. Alveda King. There is also a page of Biblical quotes related to the story and a strong Christian message of love and acceptance throughout the tale. The book has a beautiful message of love and “...to be brave against the lies of hate.” Readers also learn that “Everyone should be proud of who they are, whether born here or come from afar.” It is nice to see a children's book tackling this difficult subject in a sensitive way and youngsters who have experienced hate will find comfort in this book.
Quill says: Am I Black or Am I White? bravely takes on a tough subject with love and understanding, helping to teach children how to deal with the teasing that biracial children frequently encounter.