Category Archives: Books

Blasian Read: Water Baby

blasian water babyIt’s hard to find books for kids or teens with Blasian characters. I am not sure how Water Baby by Ross Campbell escaped my notice.

The main character Brody is a young adult who is a bit of a tomboy. She likes karate, she likes to run and she likes to surf. While out surfing she is attacked by a shark and loses her leg.

Blasian connection: AfAm mom/AsAm dad which you see only briefly in the story.  shark

Some girls will connect with Brody, she’s not for everyone.  She has a punker attitude and isn’t girly in the least.  Her ex-boyfriend muses that she likes to pick her nose.

But even though she is a rough girl she is soft inside.  Brody, although constantly talking about how hot she is, feels very self-conscious about the loss of her leg and battles with nightmares about the shark.

Writer/illustrator Ross Campbell is a great storyteller.  A few years ago I read his graphic novel The Abandoned and was captured into the story.  This story also features another punker black chick but this time instead of sharks she’s fighting Zombies.

For Water Baby and The Abandoned I can only recommend the book for older teens. There are some graphic images in the books and although the book doesn’t depict sex, both of the main characters are sexually active and sexual liaisons are discussed.

So read this book.  And if you know of any books about Blasian kids or families hit me up in the comment section so I can check it out, too.

Our Kids and Bilingual Learning

Cleaning out my inbox always yields some cultural related treasure. This weeks find is the website My Panda Paws

The site was started by two Chinese-American moms who wanted to pass on their heritage, culture, traditions and language to their children. Even though there are many bilingual products in the market already many of them did not meet the quality standards of thee moms. One of the things important to them…good translation. Seems many books in the market place tend to translate each word literally, and therefore many times losing the essence of the book.

As a mom I can understand the feeling behind their goal. After having a biracial child you look for ways to include all the parts that make your child whole. In a world that still views many things with mono-racial glasses seeing sites like this is encouraging.

Of course I ran all thru the website checking out how culturally aware their products are. I was pleasantly surprised to find that while the main theme of learning the chinese language and culture was…well the main theme…they included products by other cultures. More exciting is I found a few things that included *gasp* black images.

I’m loving this All About Me from the Lift the Flap book series. Now you probably don’t understand how key this is on both sides of the kiddy spectrum. First seeing the black image introduces racial awareness to young children. I’ve read one to many articles about parents raising their children in isolation from other cultures.

Second, as a mom of a black and asian child I want him to see children in books and products that reflect his community, images he can relate to, products that mix both black and asian culture…sorta. Granted there’s still a while to go before there’s anything made specifically for the blasian community but until then…sites like this help.

Learn to Speak Chinese

For you and your baby

Still no word on the baby front yet (J is under the misconception that I, like Benjamin Button, get younger every year).  So since J still wants to wait a few more months before we start “trying” which gives me time to add a few more Korean words to my vocabulary.  If I learn three more I’ll be up to five.

Five is a good number. 

I just discovered this book.  It’s about Korean and hopefully they will add it to their collection but for mothers who have Chinese babies (or who want their babies to learn Chinese)

The cd is for newborn to 2 year olds.  I haven’t tried it yet so I can’t actually give a use perspective but it looks promising.

Baby Loves Jazz

About a year ago I had to get two baby gifts for two different friends as their children were about to turn one.

My husband J said he had just gotten these books in his store and he thought they would make perfect gifts.  The book was called Charlie Bird Count to the Beat by Andy Blackman Hurwitz.  The book incorporates learning with jazz music.

I didn’t get a chance to examine the books but I gifted them anyway and hoped that the mothers and babies would like them.

I was wrong.  They loved them.

Last November my friend Vee hinted that she thought her son would love the other books in the Baby Loves Jazz series for Christmas.  And tonight talking to my friend Gina she mentioned that her 21 month old baby tries to count along with the book. 

Okay, so little kids love it which makes the parents love it, too. 

So, I’m not saying that your kid will love any books in the Baby Loves Jazz but with 11 books in the series you’re sure to find one that will get your kids learning to the groove.

All Mixed Up

Hat tip to Evia.

Although she’s better known as the Wayans’ brother only sister, Kim Wayans is an actress, comedian, and comedy writer in her own right.  Now we can add author to her list of accomplishments.

Co-authored by her husband, Kevin Knotts, the couple tells the story of Amy Hodges, a fourth grader who has decided she was ready for the real world of elementary school instead of being homeschooled by her mother.  Her first day gets off to a bad start when the school bully places a sign on her back and the popular girls make fun of her dress.   By lunchtime she is feeling completely out of place because the popular girls make fun of her because she’s a melange of racial/ethnic mixes.  She is befriended by classmates who also have a diverse heritage, but where they have at the most three Amy Hodges has four (she is Korean, Japanese, African American and Caucasian). 

The easy to read story is cute and engaging and girls with mixed racial heritage will be glad to have a spunky heroine like Amy to look up to.  Kim Wayans said she was inspired by relatives to write the series.

“My nieces and nephews are mixed-race children,” Wayans said. “They were my inspiration. I’m also in a mixed marriage, so that’s another source. Just listening to my nieces and nephews and their little stories, about something mean some kid said in school, I thought, ‘The world is becoming so much more (integrated) like this, wouldn’t it be great if they had books that reflected them in positive ways?’”

The first two books in the series, “All Mixed Up” and “Happy Birthday to Me” are now available.  The other two books (“Lost and Found” and “Playing Games”) will be available this fall.

Whale Talk

Here is a book for teens about a multiracial boy (Japanese/African American/Caucasian).

In “Whale Talk” TJ Jones also known as “The Tao” decides to join the swim team as a favor to his English teacher.  In joining the team he sees a chance to get revenge on the “establishment” (the airhead jocks he likes to deride) and invites outcasts to join the team.  This thought provoking book will have readers examining their perception of those they deem as losers.

Saris and Salsas

 

Here’s another book that features a character who is African American and Asian.  In “How to Salsa in a Sari” the story begins with lead character Issa Mazumder losing her boyfriend to her biggest rival a Latina named Cat Morena.  Insult is added to injury when she discovers that her mother has secretly been dating Cat’s father and plans to marry him and for them to move into his big house. 

Author Dona Sarkar-Mishra was born in Nepal and grew up in Detroit.  Her forthcoming book Shrink to Fit is about an African American girl with an eating disorder.  It will be out in August.

Read Sarkar-Mishra’s blog here

And read an excerpt of her book on Amazon.