Tag Archives: representation matters

The Ultimate Guide to Multicultural Toys and Black Dolls with Natural Hair

I’ve banged on before about how much representation matters. From buying dolls to choosing books to the movies your children watch, seeing themselves reflected in their everyday is so important for a child’s self esteem and for their aspirations to believe that they can achieve anything.

So, as part of that series, we are bringing you the ultimate guide to multicultural toys and black dolls with natural hair.  From dolls to figurines to bags, subscriptions, puppets, games and more…  And the best part? You don’t need to order from across the pond! This list should appeal to both boys and girls but if you’d like us to include anything else, just write a comment below! In the run up to Christmas time, this is the perfect Santa list for your little ones.

Lots to Love Bath Time Doll

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/627305944/girls-pink-foldable-umbrella-kids?ref=shop_home_active_8Designed by Berengeuer, these Lots To Love Babies are the perfect bath and playtime doll. Chubby and sturdy – who wouldn’t love these dolls. Perfect for bath or play. Comes with removable nappy. Able to sit independently. Outfits available.

Girls Pink Foldable Umbrella, Kids Umbrella, Cute Umbrella, Personalized Kids Ballerina Rain Gear, Monogrammed Umbrella, Girls Umbrella

GUIDE TO MULTICULTURAL TOYS AND BLACK DOLLS WITH NATURAL HAIRGreat idea! Kids love umbrellas and this one comes personalised! Choose from a variety of images.

North American Bear Little Princess Snowflake/Tan Doll

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/627305944/girls-pink-foldable-umbrella-kids?ref=shop_home_active_8Snowflake Princess is a very soft and cuddly toy. 15 inches or approx 36cm in length. Lightweight and very flexible. Very soft material body with beautiful pale blue princess dress & crown. Light tan complexion.

 

Granny, Black Grandmother, Full Body, Ventriloquist Style Puppet, 65cm

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/627305944/girls-pink-foldable-umbrella-kids?ref=shop_home_active_8I love a good puppet and Granny ventriloquist is a fantastic option! High quality full body ventriloquist style puppet made by Silly Puppets. Easy to move mouth. Hand entry through the back of the puppet. Includes 1 arm control rod which can be clipped to either hand for movement. Height is about 65cm tall. Lightweight at just around 500g. Puppet can be re-dressed in child size 18 month clothes.

 

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Rhino Face-Off by the Mine Toy for Boys and Girls

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/627305944/girls-pink-foldable-umbrella-kids?ref=shop_home_active_8Black Panther… the movie of all time. And it’s great that lego has the toys to keep the play alive. Includes three minifigures: Black Panther, Okoye and Killmonger. Rhino features a minifigure seat, posable head and legs, rhino horn elements and two stud shooters. Mining cart features a tipping function and translucent-blue vibranium nugget elements. Activate the rail track’s explode function to knock over the cart. 

Our Generation 18-Inch Nahla Deluxe Doll with Book

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/627305944/girls-pink-foldable-umbrella-kids?ref=shop_home_active_8This Nahla 18 inch doll is fully pose-able. She comes with 2 outfits and extra accessories including a story book. Eyes open and close. and you can buy lots more great outfits, accessories and accessory sets in the Our Generation range.

 

Ravensburger Doc McStuffins Medicine Bag Game

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/627305944/girls-pink-foldable-umbrella-kids?ref=shop_home_active_8A fun game for Doc McStuffins fans. Help Doc find her missing instruments and fill her. Game play based on the popular pre-school TV show. Perfect for children aged 3 and up, 2 to 4 players. Easy to understand rules combined with a unique and fun game play.

 

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/627305944/girls-pink-foldable-umbrella-kids?ref=shop_home_active_8We love crafts in our house and having the option to use different coloured pegs to make a puppet or figurine is such a great idea. Just wrap with fabric to ‘fashion’ an outfit. Decorate with acrylic paint, twirly hair, fabric and yarn (not included. Comes in 5 assorted colours – Dark Brown, Tan, Orange, Peach and Beige.

Just Like Me Book Box!

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/627305944/girls-pink-foldable-umbrella-kids?ref=shop_home_active_8Get a monthly subscription box with 2-3 children’s books featuring characters of color plus fun book swag! Finding the best African American children’s literature can be challenging. We’re here to help! Every month we hand-select books to send to your child. In addition, we include fun and educational activities to enjoy with your family.

Multicultural Kids Around The World Finger Puppets

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/627305944/girls-pink-foldable-umbrella-kids?ref=shop_home_active_8Ever sang the “Daddy Finger” song? I’ve had to many times and love that you can now bring it to life with these 12 Assorted Finger puppets. Made out of vinyl. Fits any size fingers.

 

 

Tidlo Wooden Little Friends Puzzle

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/627305944/girls-pink-foldable-umbrella-kids?ref=shop_home_active_8The Tidlo Little Friends Puzzle features eight little friends who come in pairs – a boy and a girl in each set. The head, body and legs of each character lift out separately, leaving little ones with the task of piecing them back together – working out which piece belongs to which character! A line drawing underneath each piece can be used as a guide to find the correct slot! Or, for a little extra fun, why not mix and match the character pieces to create some funny new characters. The puzzle splits into 24 chunky pieces that are ideal for little hands to lift, grasp, examine and replace. With a bright and colourful design, this wooden puzzle is sure to attract the attention of youngsters and is a great way to improve early shape recognition.

Barbie Baby Doctor

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/627305944/girls-pink-foldable-umbrella-kids?ref=shop_home_active_8Explore the world of medicine with Barbie dolls and medical play sets! Barbie baby doctor doll is ready to see patients with furniture for an exam table and accessories to care for two adorable babies. Details are realistic with colourful touches and office-inspired elements. Teal scrubs and white shoes are a perfect professional look. Barbie baby doctor doll does double duty with an exam station that features two tubs, a moving mobile and storage space. Accessories let young minds care for baby patients with a stethoscope, two baby towels, a bottle and a medical chart. Young doctors will love giving their patients a clean bill of health with baby doctor Barbie doll.

Barbie Robotics Engineer Doll

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/627305944/girls-pink-foldable-umbrella-kids?ref=shop_home_active_8Get your girls and boys dreaming big with Barbie Robotics Engineer doll — this Barbie Career of the Year doll introduces a partnership with Tynker, a game-based platform that teaches kids how to code and inspires them to explore STEM opportunities! Barbie doll comes with a silvery robot and a purple laptop — that shows a screenshot of her robotics project. A career-themed look includes a white t-shirt with rainbow tech-inspired graphic, a denim jacket, black pants, white sneakers and protective goggles. 

Positively Perfect Brianna Doll, 18-Inch

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/627305944/girls-pink-foldable-umbrella-kids?ref=shop_home_active_8Another great 18 inch doll with lovely curly hair radiating confidence and beauty. Soft body with vinyl head, legs and arms.

Mosi Backpack

This delightful, high-quality Mosi™ Backpack is the perfect accessory for boys who are ready to explore…The Ultimate Guide to MULTICULTURAL Toys and Black Dolls with Natural Hair

WWE Big E and Xavier Woods Figure, Multicoloured, Pack of 2

The Ultimate Guide to MULTICULTURAL Toys and Black Dolls with Natural HairHave twice the slamming ideal time with the WWE Battle Pack. No-holds barred personality pack celebrates key rivalries, champions, WWE Women’s Division competitors, manager and talent, tag teams and siblings. With the included iconic accessory and authentic WWE detailing, you can recreate realistic, big event matches with two approximately 6 Inch superstar figures.

Budkins Blue Football Team and Black and White Ball 4 item pack

The Ultimate Guide to MULTICULTURAL Toys and Black Dolls with Natural HairHave lots of fun with these bendy wooden players and a bouncy football. Ps you don’t need to be a Chelsea fan to enjoy these little guys;)

 

 

 


Queens of Africa Dolls

The Ultimate Guide to MULTICULTURAL Toys and Black Dolls with Natural Hair

I love the Queens of Africa range. The Trinity Pack features Azeezah, Nneka and Wuraola. Stylish Outfit and accessories for each doll. Each Doll has a different Afro hairstyle.

 

 

 

Lela Backpack

The Ultimate Guide to MULTICULTURAL Toys and Black Dolls with Natural Hair

The name Lela is of Swahili origin, meaning black beauty. Lela loves to be creative and express herself in everything she does. She is confident and full of enthusiasm and loves all things pink and sparkly. Welcome to the wonderful world of Lela, a place where kids can feel good about themselves. Lela products are appropriate for many gift-giving occasions, from birthdays to Christmas’s and more. This back pack is beautifully made with lovely detail making this a bag any little girl would love to take with her everywhere.

Nia Ballerina Musical Jewellery Box – Dressing Table

The Ultimate Guide to MULTICULTURAL Toys and Black Dolls with Natural HairFinally, a musical jewellery box with a black ballerina, which is the perfect keepsake gift a little girl will treasure for years!  Wind the key and lift the lid to see the beautiful ballerina turning to a melody.  Illustrated in a colourful image with Nia Ballerina sitting at a dressing table getting ready makes this music box ideal for little girls to keep their jewellery and special memorable items safe.

Hape Happy Family-African American

The Ultimate Guide to MULTICULTURAL Toys and Black Dolls with Natural HairA Happy African-American Family including Grandma, Grandpa, Mum, Dad, sister and brother. Perfect idea for any kids’ doll house. The family is also fun to play with on its own. Beautifully crafted dolls made from friendly fabric and quality hardwood. Helps develop role play and dexterity as well as playful storytelling.

African American Custom Selfie doll, personalized doll, custom doll, character doll, rag doll, art doll, made by photo, artist cloth doll

The Ultimate Guide to MULTICULTURAL Toys and Black Dolls with Natural HairI love this idea but beware it’s not cheap and it takes 6 weeks to arrive. But, these replica dolls can be custom made designed after you or your loved ones! Features, hair style, colour, clothing and all! The base price includes one 30 cm (12 inch) tall doll, with clothing (max. 2 garment) that you can specify in detail.

Black Boy Hoodie Sweatshirt Men’s hooded African American Black Boy Joy Hoody Sweatshirts Multiple Colors

The Ultimate Guide to MULTICULTURAL Toys and Black Dolls with Natural HairEvery boy loves a good hoodie and this one featuring a black superhero is a great one for your little men.

 

 

 

 

For more ideas for afro dolls and black dolls with natural hair, visit our exclusive list of the best dolls available…

*****This post contains affiliate links. It’s how I pay for this site but each and every one of these items was fully researched to bring you the best and most creative ideas for your mixed kids. Get buying!****

 

Inspiration for Diverse Halloween Costumes for Your Mixed Kids

Halloween is next week and while I’m thinking of the usual ideas like zombies, witches and ghosts, for the first time, I’d like my daughters to consider that representation matters.

I’d like them to see themselves represented, not just in the shows they watch, the books they read and the movies they go to but ALSO in the costumes they choose. Why not? They’re still young enough to want to dress up- even when it’s not halloween.

They seem to have a million and one princess dresses but I’ve been trying to be intentional about finding them non-princessy type dressing up outfits. Since then, I’ve added a fire fighter, police officer, pilot and construction worker to our dressing up box.

So this year, for Halloween, I’m not just thinking about gender but about real life (or fictional) characters who are black or non-white and in whom my kids might see themselves reflected. Even if they’re joke characters, it’s important that there are diverse  characters that look like them. Few as there might be, I’m determined that they see them.

Try some of these out and tell me about more so I can add them below!

Diverse Halloween Costumes Ideas

Moana

Our favourite Disney princess, if you’re daughter is obsessed with dressing up as her favourite Disney character, why not play feature Moana this family movie night and see how keen she is to wear Tafiti’s heart.

Black Panther

Sort of a no-brainer, Black Panther was THE black superhero we’ve all been waiting for. Look no further for a great superhero for your black son or daughter. Great costume, great movie.

Frida Kahlo

For your art-inspired little ‘uns, Frida Kahlo’s style lends itself perfectly for Halloween costume inspiration. Her story is intriguing as well. She will, no doubt, become your daughter’s new hero.

Princess Tiana

Again, a no-brainer for your Disney inspired princesses. Princess Tiana is a great black character and inspiration for frilly, sparkly obsessed little princesses.

Shuri Black Panther

Wow. I love this costume. Not just for the character in the movie, but for how cool it looks too. More superhero inspiration for kids wanting to shun the usual gender-specific costumes but instead come out fighting.

Cleopatra

Looking for something different? Go historical. One of the most intriguing women of our history, Cleopatra is a perfect fit. Teach your daughters and sons about her and Anthony, her empire and her eventual fall. Great history lesson along with a very cool costume.

Rhianna from Home

Diverse Halloween costumes No need to buy anything here. Simply don your child in an orange coat and jeans and see how cute they’ll look impersonating the cutest character from Home.

Maui

We all love Maui from the wonderful Moana movie. He’s a great character and has inspired many little boys.

Mr T

We had to go 80’s! Always a winner for any little boy. He’s funny, tough, has his own style and will make you take a walk down memory lane. 

Doc McStuffins

Good ol’ Doc McStuffins will never disappoint. She’s an aspiring doctor, black and a girl. You don’t get better role models than that. Let your daughters dress up and bring along a stuffy  to complete the outfit.

Michael Jackson

And finally….’ it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white’, Michael Jackson appeals to ALL children- even years after his death. He’s still the king of pop so get your kids to dance along to some of his best hits and they’ll be killing it on the dance floor.

Good luck and have fun with it!!

 

 

*******This post contains affiliate links***********


THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO DIVERSE CHILDREN'S BOOKS with multiracial characters

Complete Guide to Ethnic, Mixed Race and Afro Dolls

Kids' Classic Black Movies

Mixed Race Book Review: Stand Tall Molly Lou Lemon

I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up Stand Tall Molly Lou Lemon. But I’m glad I did.

Stand Tall Molly Lou LemonFrom the first page, it gripped my kids because it paints the picture of a little girl who stands out. Not because she’s popular but because she is the ‘shortest girl in first grade’. But that doesn’t stop her.

 

She has buck teeth, she’s short, has a voice like a bullfrog and she has wild curly hair. But she doesn’t care. She holds her head high and uses her limitations to stand tall no matter what.

Stand Tall Molly Lou Lemon

But one day, she has to leave her friends and her supportive grandma… and start a new school.

 

 

 

She got called “Shrimpo” by the school bully and “Buck-tooth Beaver” but she doesn’t let that get her down.

An absolutely adorable book for children nervous about going to back to school, changing schools or facing bullies.

Stand Tall Molly Lou Lemon
Click to purchase on Amazon

Molly Lou Lemon shows us that bullies will never win. That if you hold your head high, people will see the light within you. What a character and a lovely story. Perfect for ages 3-8 years.

 

Complete Guide to Ethnic Mixed Race & Afro Dolls in the UK

Why do Afro dolls matter to our mixed kids?

It’s a message that can’t come early enough. Kids as young as 3 notice race, and they quickly become aware that race or colour is given meaning in our world. Princesses, featured in books and movies, our kids’ teachers, role models, ballerinas and royalty. All white and straight haired.

In a 1940s experiment, African-American children given the choice between white and black afro dolls overwhelmingly chose the white doll and assigned it the more positive character traits. The study has been replicated over the decades with other minority kids and similar results.

afro dolls

Two weeks ago one of my children received a doll. With black skin. A beautiful ballet dancer afro doll complete with a tutu and pointed toes. My other daughter looked at it and turned her face saying, “I don’t like it”.

I knew why.

We concentrated a lot on my oldest to make sure she grew up with a healthy sense of who she is/ was, where she came from so that she is proud of both the skin colours that make up her being.

We neglected our middle daughter, perhaps thinking it would sink in by osmosis. But, we were wrong. It doesn’t. We’re up against it.

ALL of her teachers are white. Her friends all seem to be white (not that there isn’t a healthy mix of diversity in her classroom but she’s purposely… or not- it’s too early to tell- chosen out her few friends from amongst the bluest eyes and blondest hair).

Despite being surrounded by cousins and grandparents, Aunties and Uncles who are all a dark chocolate complexion. Not to mention her most influential male, her most devoted dad who she is so close to, is brown skinned.

And yet, there it was. Is it a phase that children go through, I wonder? Because she certainly has a healthy circle of diversity surrounding her. Was it to shock us?

Of course I went into a whole tirade of reasons why what she said was unreasonable and unfair and ‘what if someone doesn’t like you because of your skin colour?’ etc etc. My husband told me to relax.

I spoke to her about it later reminding her about all of the people around her who have dark skin. And one by one, she made exceptions. Realising afterwards that she didn’t actually dislike everyone with dark skin.

The fact that she wanted to. That she’s been unconsciously cultivating this preference towards lighter skin is alarming but also scary to think how easy racial bias creeps in.

How early should we start?

Experts recommend that parents buy ethnic or afro dolls from birth as one way to surround daughters and sons with positive images from the outset. When introducing afro dolls later on, you don’t need a big speech about the doll’s ethnicity, though. Just let their imagination run wild.

So here you go. It’s all here, your go-to guide to buying the perfect ethnic afro dolls for your kids craving diversity in their lives. From dolls to figurines, Hispanic, Chinese, Mixed Race to African, it’s all here. And the best part? You don’t need to order from across the pond! Click on the picture direct to purchase from a UK retailer.

 

Read more on raising your kids to love the skin they’re in…

Interracial Relationship10 Things Every Parent Should Do When Raising Mixed Race Kids

Best curly baby hair products

Help! 7 Essential Tips to Styling biracial hair!

I swore I’d never be that Mum. The white mum whose kids’ biracial hair looks like the Mum has no clue and her only attempt at ‘doing’ her daughter’s hair is to brush it– down.

Three mixed race daughters later and with all three sporting completely uniquely textured hair, I quickly learned that wash, brush-and-go would not work with my girls’ biracial hair.  A mountain of research, plenty of questions to friends and family and a motto to ‘learn as we go’ is the only way we’ve gotten this far. Now, with a 3 step routine every morning with each daughter, it’s gotten slightly easier but no less complicated.

So, I feel your pain. Not the pain at having curly hair. Truly, I love their curls. I love how it looks, how it feels and I love that each one is unique in how her hair falls- a lesson I am constantly reinforcing. Curls are amazing.

But what I don’t love is how little I know about how to do it. I have straight hair and before having biracial kids, I’d never heard of co-washing, could never imagine sleeping on satin pillowcases and putting ‘oil’ in my already oily hair was the last thing from my mind. So I’ve done my homework and then some.

So if you love your mixed kids, you’ll only want the best and time is nothing when it comes to doing it right. We’ve now gotten it down to a 20-30 minute routine, depending on how cooperative my girls are and the hairstyle they choose. (I definitely hate braids).

So I am offering some helpful curly tips, the best biracial hair websites, mixed hair tutorials from the experts and information to identifying the best curly hair products for your biracial kids curly hair care routine.

  1. Figure out their biracial hair texture.

I figured out early on there is a whole school of thought about curly girl hair type which, once identified, can open up all sorts of doors in terms of products recommendations and what would likely work on your biracial hair. So, to identify your biracial kids curly hair care type, check out these sites: 

2.  Follow naturally curly hair blogs.

There are so many out there! With so many helpful articles, blogs, styles and tips for toddlers, girls’, boys’, long, short and all kinds of curly hair. Here are the best I’ve come across: 

3. Get mixed hair care tips! 

I’ve gotten so many helpful tips from blogs and articles I’ve read online about biracial hair care. From co-washing to leave-in conditioner, to wetting my daughter’s hair every morning to activate the curls, start with these and you’ll feel like an expert in no time. The best part is that they’re not written for hair experts but cover the basics and give real, non-judgemental advice. 

4.  Use YouTube for hair tutorials! 

If you’re more visual and crave that hands-on lesson, try these Youtube channels. (And of course there’s a load more links on the right side for you to browse: 

5. Try different mixed hair care products. 

Although we all wish it was just about the amount of research you do that equals success, it is actually about trying, trying and trying more… And, then, just because it works on one biracial child’s hair, it may be different for your other child. Because biracial kids curly hair care will depend on the season, the weather, the thickness, length and curl size of each hair type- not just their hair texture. For reviews and recommendations for different curly girl hair products, go to:

6.  Ask around. 

Nothing beats a recommendation from a friend or someone you know. Every time you see another child with curly hair and you like what you see, ask the Mum what their hair regime is. Mums love talking about curly hair as do curly haired girls themselves I’m learning! Particularly if the child has hair similar to your ds or dd, make sure you ask them what products they use, what kinds of hair styles they do and what hair dresser they go to (it’s not every black hair dresser that can do mixed curly hair and the same goes for upmarket European hair salons- they may be expensive but curly hair has its own rhythm and texture).

7. Finally, and most importantly: Embrace the curls!

“I embrace my kids’ curls through praise and curly hair education. It is important to me that they love their hair, so I constantly tell them how beautiful and amazing it is. I never speak negatively about their curls or allow myself to show any frustration when I’m doing their hair. I make it a point to teach them about the products I’m using and why I am using them, as well letting them help me add their conditioner and styling products in anticipation of them one day managing their curls by themselves.” – See more at: Curly Genes: Meet Two Moms Who Embrace Their Kids’ Curls

If you would like to know more about teaching your mixed kids to love their curls, read on….

curly hair cheatsheet
GET YOUR FREE CURLY HAIR CHEATSHEET NOW!

curly mixed race hairstyles

My Mixed Race Curly Hair RoutineHow to Teach girls to love their curly hair

The Importance of Reading Books To Children

We were recently re-united with our children’s extensive book collection. So what, I can hear you saying.

Well, the last time we moved, I couldn’t carry more than a handful on the plane so sadly we had to leave our extensive collection back in Nigeria.

You know the feeling, when you’re looking for things and you know you have it but can’t bring yourself to buy it again, it can drive you nuts. Well, it drove me nuts anyway.

So finally, almost 2 years later after we moved to London, a friend was able to bring the lot. So that’s where I am… reunited with my vast collection of books. And there you are, wondering why this matters…

When I got these back, it was like going through years of memories, moments and experiences my daughters and I had shared reading endless stories every night.

You see, books are not just books to us. They are a way of communicating with my children. With books, we’ve introduced the concept of bullying, sharing, loneliness, and skin colour. With books, we’ve been able to talk about difficult subjects without making it about them.

My daughter’s concept of a bully was defined in a book called “Me and My Dragon” because it featured a bully who was incidentally a chubby boy with a baseball cap on. I remember reading it once and it sparked a conversation about what is a bully. To this day, when we’ve spoken about someone bullying, my daughter protests, “but he isn’t wearing a baseball cap”!

The day identity and my daughter’s skin colour came up after school, I swiftly went online and ordered about 20 books that featured mixed race or brown skinned characters. Some of these included girls who bucked the mould and didn’t conform to ‘princessy’ ways or girls who were just different but were nonetheless proud of who they are.

I was not about to raise a child who is confused or ashamed about who she is.  And with media and the majority of people she encounters donning white skin, we knew we needed to be proactive in discussing this important topic with her. After ordering our first haul that first time, within three weeks we could see a change in how our daughter talked about and discussed her own identity. She’s proud of her curly hair now and recognises the value in being unique and not following the crowd.

Other topics we’ve broached through the use of our books include curly hair, puberty and the changes our bodies go through, anger, gender stereotypes and following the crowd. Every time a topic comes up, it sparks a conversation about their lives and how one girl in their class for example, told her that her red hat was a “boy’s colour”. We discussed why she might say that and how much of what we see and hear might make us think that. Books that challenge our way of thinking are invaluable.

Many of our books now feature brown skin characters- an effort we’ve been intentional about but have sadly realised is way behind. Only 1% of children’s books feature brown skin characters.

But when you do get them and you see your daughter’s eyes light up when she sees the Little Red Riding Hood with brown skin and curly hair, she can’t hide her excitement. “She looks like me!”, she’ll say.

You see, for us, books are instruments. They are windows into important conversations and topics that I know will come up. As our children get older, we’ll inevitably encounter discussions about bodies, sexuality, death, religion, racism, cyber bullying and jealousy, amongst other things.  Without books to turn to, these topics can become abstract. Throw in a protagonist who’s going through it and you have yourself an ‘in’. Then hopefully, the door will be open for further discussion when she actually does go through these things.

Indeed books have already introduced precious memories as our children have grown. We paged through the book “Going on a Bear Hunt” and relived days gone by when our nearly 6 year old was our only child and my hubby and I used to act out the story finishing off with an undercover cave where we’d hide from the bear.

Perhaps it was only through missing them that I realised my missing books’ value. I would encourage every parent, be careful what you’re giving away. I know we can’t keep all the rubbish we collect from our children’s childhoods and by no means am I a hoarder. The day will come when I’ll have to go through their books and give them away but hopefully I’ll know these aren’t just pieces of paper we read every night but memories we’ll want to cherish. I hope they do too.

Visit my Pinterest page for inspiring lists of books for brown skinned or mixed race kids:

Kechi's Hair Goes Every Which Way
Kechi’s Hair Goes Every Which Way

How to Teach girls to love their curly hair

Check Out These Incredible Black Greeting Cards Featuring Mixed Race Girls!

So when I’m onto something great,  I want to share it with my mixed race community. Within a few short days of launching this blog, I met Joanne, an artist who was creating something similar to what I wanted- something that inspires our biracial girls and boys to feel good about who they are and to be represented.

These black greeting cards are so inspired and creative that you’re not going to want to stop at one.  Joanne creates cards and wonderful wall art that you can put up all over your child’s bedroom.

Joanne’s story is inspiring. With two little girls of mixed heritage herself, Joanne quit the corporate ladder to pursue her artistic talent. Her paintings as well as her line of mixed race and black greeting cards are incredible- the reason I’d like to share her website so you too can be inspired!

Visit her shop today and see for yourself what being represented can look like…

https://www.etsy.com/shop/jostevensoncreative

 


Check out more from Mixed.Up.Mama…

GUIDE TO MULTICULTURAL TOYS AND BLACK DOLLS WITH NATURAL HAIR

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO DIVERSE CHILDREN'S BOOKS with multiracial characters

Complete Guide to Ethnic, Mixed Race and Afro Dolls

“Mummy, I hate my sticky-out bum”: Teaching Our Girls a Healthy Body Image

Teaching a Healthy Body Image to our Girls

“Mummy, I hate my sticky-out bum!” Those words were uttered by my oldest daughter followed by floods of tears on her way home from school. “Why can’t I have a ‘flat’ bum Mama?”, she asked through sobs.

I can’t tell you how much pain I felt in that moment. My daughter is four years old.

I mean, I knew it was coming. I have three daughters. Indeed, body image and consciousness sort of go with the territory. But I expected it later, much later- when we’ve put in the groundwork.  When she knows that yes, she may be curvy and more shapely than the stick thin models she sees in magazines and online, AND she is beautiful.

In that moment, I panicked. I didn’t know what to do. You see, to a 4 year old, most 4 year old girls, their most important role model is their mother.  It’s why my little one tries to play house and mama to her babies and tell off her sister, and plays kitchen and… the list goes on. Her mama who has ‘vanilla’ skin, a ‘flat’ bum (much to my dismay), and straight hair. In other words, I look nothing like her.

I thought about the millions of pounds men and women spend on bronzing their skin, on adding volume and curls to their hair and, more recently, to inserting bum implants to achieve the curvaceous figures sported by the likes of Beyonce, J-Lo and Shakira.

But I couldn’t really say all that. Talk about too much information.

I just had to hold her. And validate her. And tell her over and over how beautiful she is. All in the middle of the street as I promised to buy her a new P.E. kit that wouldn’t accentuate her derriere.

A friend of mine pointed out angrily, why do we even engage? Should it matter? Because when we do, we’re just reinforcing the point to our daughters that looks matter. Why are we talking about their beauty and how they look at such a young age. Her boys never look in the mirror and strike a pose or ask, ‘how do I look Mama?’ So why do mine?

I stopped engaging in the nature vs. nurture debate a long time ago, beaten as it were by nature. I was a tomboy and wanted my first born, whatever the gender to follow in my footsteps and love sports- most of all, football. As God would have it, I have the most girly girl daughter you could have. From a very young age, she was choosing pink, asking for princess dress up outfits, posing in her tiara and insisting on wearing high heels. Whether or not she was pre-destined to be like that I can’t answer but I can say that I did fight it tooth and nail.

My Suzy Q will never have a flat bum. I don’t think she’ll take after her Dad and have a stick thin figure either. But she needs to know that she is beautiful. She absolutely has to. I will never forgive the magazine and advertising industry for letting my daughter doubt her sense of self so early on in her little life. (I have to admit, I unashamedly resorted to showing her pictures of Beyonce and Shakira in poses from behind).

But I know now, I have my work cut out. I can never slack. Exposing her to as many amazing strong black female role models that look like her is important. Not just because she’s a girl but because she’s black and mixed and deserves much more than the world has shown her at 4.

At at time when parents are spending more time than ever with their children, if you were ever in doubt, here’s the reason why we need to be there for our daughters at every moment, no matter how old they are.

If you’re looking for resources or books that reinforce a healthy body image for your sons or daughters, check out these books: