Today is Loving Day, the day we celebrate when the U.S. Supreme Court decided interracial marriage would be allowed. It is a day to celebrate another unlawful thing overturned. So, I am reviewing Black is Brown is Tan by Arnold Adolf with pictures by Emily Arnold McCully.
Black is Brown is Tan was first published in 1973, only six years after the Loving v. Virginia ruling! According to the publisher, Harper-Collins Publishing, it was the first children’s book featuring an interracial family! The author and illustrator must have been very brave to publish the book and say to the world that is what they believe in.
A good book to understand more about how the state laws against interracial marriage were overturned is one I reviewed before called The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage.
Black is Brown is Tan is from the perspective of a biracial couple and their children. I don’t really see many biracial characters in books, so this was cool to see. They talked about what they do with each parent, like how their mother combs their hair, and their Dad barbecues.
That part is kind of personal to me, because I am biracial. My mom is black, and my dad is Filipino. And, in one part of the book, all of their relatives on both sides of the family came over, some with blonde hair, others with skin as dark as chocolate cake. I could also relate to that because I have relatives who are black, white, Filipino, Samoan and Indian.
I liked that the author kept repeating these lines: “black is brown is tan is girl is boy is nose is face is all the colors of the race.” Basically, he is saying that we may look different, but we are all the same, we’re all people! I also thought it was cool that the author explained being biracial in such an easy way to young kids.
This book is good for readers 4 and up. I think that whenever you are ready to explain race to your kids, this should be the book to go to. If you have read Mixed Me by Taye Diggs, I think you would probably like this one! They are both written as a poem, and are both about biracial children.
I rate this book three out of four roses because it was sometimes hard to follow. I didn’t like that the author kept saying “is,” which kind of took my focus away and made it confusing. It was also formatted different than I’m used to. Some words would be r e a l l y far apart and others would be going