Saturday, November 05, 2005


After I read Black, White, Just Right! to my six-year-old, Lauren, I wasn’t entirely sure what she thought about it. She’d been quiet and still throughout the brief look at a biracial family from the fun-loving point of view of a girl just about her age. When I asked whether or not she’d liked the book, Lauren answered (in classic first-grade fashion!): “I didn’t like it, I LOVED it!”

I’d seen this title on various lists of books for children of mixed-race heritage over the past few years. Published in 1993, it was clearly written with the goal of helping children of mixed-race parentage understand the special place they occupy in their families. The first-person narrator of this book, who never reveals her name, cheerfully runs through the various ways in which her parents differ, and how she fits very happily in the middle of those differences:

“Mama’s face is chestnut brown. Her dark brown eyes bright as bees. Papa’s face turns pink in the sun; his blue eyes squinch up when he smiles. My face? I look like both of them—a little dark, a little light. Mama and Papa say, ‘Just right!’”

Colorful illustrations by Irene Trivas bring the words of author Marguerite Davol to life in a spunky, feel-good read. Davol’s photo of herself with her two “just-right” grandchildren gives young readers an additional glimpse at a diverse family that just might reflect their own. The cover glimpse of a little girl smiling at herself in a mirror sets the tone of positive self-esteem and self-image that permeates this little gem of a book.


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