Representation Matters: Children's Books
Mixed Race Representation, Faith & Children's Books
Hey Friend! If you’ve stumbled upon Mixed.ology for the first time, I’m so glad you’re here! Kick off your shoes and get comfy. This is a safe space where we shed the labels we’ve been given and learn to love our God-given blends. Not mixed…no worries. There’s something for everyone because longing to belong is universal…and you belong here! 🤎
What was your favorite book as a child?
While I’ve always loved books. I haven’t always loved reading. As a kid, reading was hard for me. I was super slow and fumbled over words and phrases. In fact, during elementary school, my mom would read my book report books to me as bedtime stories to help me get them finished on time. While I struggled with reading, I excelled at comprehension. Many nights I fell asleep while she read. But in the morning, I could tell her everything that happened.
The Right Book Can Change Everything
So when did I fall in love with reading?
A girl in my class started reading a new series of books called Fear Street by R.L. Stein. After listening to her rave about how good the books were, I decided to give them a try. Instantly, I was hooked. I devoured the young-adult suspense thrillers. Before I knew it, I not only loved reading, but I was getting faster at it.
As an adult, I almost always have two - three books going at any one time. There’s usually one non-fiction (Christian living, leadership development, or memoir), and two fiction (one audiobook and one ebook that I read before I go to sleep). Suspense thrillers are still my favorite with some true crime thrown in just to mix it up. And yes, that’s what I read before I go to bed too.
I love reading SO much, I’ve even been known to carry a book around Disneyland and read between rides. I mean if Belle can, then why can’t I?
Passing Down My Love of Reading
Although my mom read to me every night, I don’t remember having a specific favorite. She read Bible stories, Curious George, Madeline, Disney, and more.
“You loved books,” she recalled. “Sometimes you would bring me books to read and other times I would pull some from the shelves. Either way, you loved listening to the stories.”
I wanted to pass my love of reading down to our kids. When they were little, I read to them every night, just like their grandma did to me. We had a series of Bible storybooks that I read so often that I memorized the entire book!
Guess How Much I Love You became my favorite to read as I rocked and snuggled my kiddos. The childhood classic follows the story of Little and Big Nutbrown Hare as the pair compare how much they love one another. The book concludes with the famous line, “I love you to the moon and back,” a line I still quote to my kids.
Diversity in Children’s Books
As I look back on all the books that I read to my kids and those that were read to me, I see something missing…someone who looked like me. We’re learning how much representation matters. It matters at work, and school, and church. It matters from the classroom to the boardroom. It matters in the shows we stream, the movies we watch, and yes, it matters in the books we read.
Imagine the positive difference, the self-esteem boost, and the ability to believe the impossible might just be possible - that’s what happens when you see someone who looks like you grace the pages of a story. And when those stories talk about God and His love for us, you begin to believe that His love applies to you too.
Chasing God’s Glory
My sweet friend Dorina released her new children’s book this week called Chasing God’s Glory. It follows Zayla and her mom as they bicycle around town looking for God’s glory in ordinary places.
This book is such a delight! Not only because my friend wrote it ;).
There are three reasons I fell in love with this book:
It features an interracial family. As a Mixed woman herself who is raising three amazing daughters in an interracial family, it was important to Dorina for Zayla’s family to represent her own.
It celebrates various cultures. Dorina embraces and celebrates the cultures represented within her family through travel, food, and music. She included those personal touches throughout the story. As Zayla and her mom continue through town on their adventure, they encounter a variety of cultures from dancing to murals to food to people.
It teaches us that God’s glory is all around us. I confess. I don’t always do a good job of seeing God’s glory in my day-to-day. In our fast-paced, social media-ready culture, it’s easy to miss how God shows up in our lives. But when we slow down, we’re able to really see His glory in the birds chirping, children playing, the breeze as it cools your cheeks, and even in the peace-filled silence.
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Mixed.ology is all about learning to love your God-given blend, a lesson I didn’t learn until I was in my 40s! Thankfully, more and more children’s books are beginning to feature stories, families, and children with various cultures, ethnic backgrounds, histories, and experiences.
One of the coolest things about children’s books…they’re not just for kids! You and I can learn a lot from the gentle storytelling. Oftentimes, children’s books are able to introduce us to ideas and truths we might not be ready to see when offered from an adult perspective. We can see the bigger message nestled within the pages.
Friend, it’s your turn!
Answer in the comments…What’s your favorite children’s book?
I’m cheering for you!
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A Little Something Extra…
Each week, I like to share a little something extra, something I’ve found fun or helpful. It might be a post, book, podcast, tv show, movie, song, Bible verse…or something else I think you’ll enjoy.
Seriously, I can’t say enough about this woman! We met about a year and a half ago at a conference and God has continued to intersect our paths. This year, she became one of my writing mentors. She is gracious, kind, and patient. She’s the cheerleader you want in your corner who always has a word of encouragement and a prayer to keep your eyes on Jesus when they slip…and mine have a tendency to slip.
Dorina is an author, speaker, writer, & Bible teacher. She’s also a mom, re-married widow, marathon runner, mentor, and friend! Her books include adult non-fiction, devotionals, and Cora Cooks Panceit, a children’s book featuring her Filipino culture and a yummy recipe to make with your kids.
I’ll just say you’re welcome because I already know your heart will be lighter and you’ll have more joy following this incredible woman. She. Is. A. Gift.
Thank you for reading. Mixed.ology is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.