Honeysmoke: A Biracial Girl Embraces The Colors That Make Her Unique
Honeysmoke written by Monique Fields and illustrated by Yesenia Moises is the story of a young biracial girl's journey of self discovery. We were provided a copy of Honeysmoke in exchange for an honest review.
Number of Pages: 32
Recommended Ages: 3-6 and up
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
A young biracial girl looks around her world for her color. She finally chooses her own, and creates a new word for herself—honeysmoke.
Simone wants a color.
She asks Mama, “Am I black or white?”
“Boo,” Mama says, just like mamas do, “a color is just a word.”
She asks Daddy, “Am I black or white?”
“Well,” Daddy says, just like daddies do, “you’re a little bit of both.”
For multiracial children, and all children everywhere, this picture book offers a universal message that empowers young people to create their own self-identity.
Simone knows her color—she is honeysmoke.
Firstly, we love that Simone is a biracial girl. We rarely see a biracial lead in a children's book. It's wonderful that biracial (and multiracial) children have another book in which to see themselves celebrated.
We loved following along on Simone's journey of self discovery. Like most children, Simone is very observant. She spends her day looking at the colors that create her school playground, the colors in her drawings, and the colors in the faces of her classmates. None are her color. She searches the colors of her mother and father's skin and finds that those are not her colors either. Just as her day is ending, Simone discovers that her color comes from both of her parents ...and yet it is still a color that's all her own. Simone creates her own color... honeysmoke... and she is so proud! What a great message of self identity and self love for children to learn at an early age.
Children are not colorblind. Skin color is one of the many identifiers that children notice as young as infancy. That's why its important to have positive conversations about these things as early as possible. Honeysmoke could be used to start those age appropriate conversations. This recently published article is another resource that may help with discussions - Talking Race With Young Children.
We love the prompt at the end of the book that encourages readers to write-in their own color. This prompt causes children to think about who they are. It's imperative that we give children the words they need to express who they are both on the inside and outside. We definitely wouldn't want them to base their identities on the myriad of questionable descriptors of the world. While considering their own identities, children may also become more aware of the differences around them. This is a great opportunity to teach children to appreciate those differences and embrace them for the good that they are. Ultimately we want children to learn that there is more to a person than their skin color - what matters most is a person's heart.
Honeysmoke is a sweet story that encourages self love and self acceptance, which is a great message to embrace at any age. We think this is a book that all children will enjoy.
Monique Fields is an award-winning journalist. Her essays about race and identity have appeared on air, in print, and online, including NPR’s All Things Considered, and Ebony magazine. She is the founder and editor of Honeysmoke.com, a site for parents raising multiracial children, and she is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Monique lives in Alabama with her husband and their two daughters.
Yesenia Moises is a freelance illustrator/designer with a specialty in product design. She is also an Afro Latina and random skill enthusiast. When she’s not making toys for kids, her pastimes include indulging in really silly dating sims and playing with her wildly photogenic dog Divo.
Have you had discussions about race with the children in your life? What worked? What didn't? Send us a Tweet to let us know.