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Black, White, Just Right! Library Binding – January 1, 1993

4.5 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Ages 2-5. A mixed-race child celebrates the rich inclusiveness of her life in a joyful picture book. Mama's face is chestnut brown, Papa's face turns pink in the sun, the child's a little dark, a little light, "Just right!" Each double-page spread shows how members of the family are individuals with likes and dislikes, hobbies and habits that move beyond stereotype. Mom orders vegetarian; Dad orders ribs and bagels; the child likes it all. Mom does ballet; Dad dances to rap. Mom likes African masks; Dad goes for modern art; the child loves the Egyptian part of the museum. Each page has a rhyming refrain that ends, "just right." In keeping with the upbeat text, Trivas' energetic gouache illustrations are full of movement and affection. Hazel Rochman

From Kirkus Reviews

The narrator enumerates qualities inherited from her parents--a face that's ``a little dark, a little light,'' somewhere between Mama's ``chestnut brown'' and Papa's fair skin; hair that's ``halfway in-between'' blond and black. When it comes to likes and activities, she shares with both (Mama's ballet, Papa's dancing to rap), sets her own agenda (each has a favorite museum exhibit), or goes beyond both parents (wishing for not just one dog or cat but ``dozens of pets''). A useful but predictable offering, with an idea that's developed with care and intelligence. Trivas's freely rendered art portraying this happy family of three is upbeat and attractive. A photo of the author with her ``just-right'' grandchildren (also evidently from an interracial family) is included. (Picture book. 3-8) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Library Binding: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company (January 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807507857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807507858
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 8.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Library Binding
I am a Haitian-American woman married to an Italian-Americanman. While we don't have children of our own yet, his daughter fromhis previous marriage to an Italian woman enjoys the book tremendously. It helps her to appreciate differences in others as something wonderful. END
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Format: Library Binding
My 4yr old daughter loves to have this read to her. She used to identify with herself as I'm "BOTH" (black & white), now she says "she's just right too". It's so light and age appropriate, while touching on the differences and similiarities of others. I love that the diffrences that are pointed out in this book between the mommy and daddy are not stereotyped by a the like's or dislike's of the black/white race. Beatiful illustrations and catchy rhymes. A definete must get.
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Format: Library Binding
Simple text with rhyme and readable cadence makes this an enjoyable read for a preschool classroom. The little girl enjoys many things with her black mother and white father, AND has many tastes and interests of her own. A bi-racial girl in my class was immediately drawn to this story, as were other children who simply enjoyed the story.
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Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
What a wonderful story! I wish I had this book when I was a child. The protagonist is a beautiful little girl whose mother is black and her father is white. She describes their differences in color, but they are united in love. She describes how her color is "just right." What a gentle and lovely way to explain the physical racial differences, similarities and self identity and pride.

My favorite uncle who was a very astute man used to say, "God mixes and adds more colors so there are more colors to love. Birds, butterflies, flowers and peacocks have all these beautiful colors and God picked our colors for us as well. He wanted more beauty for the world, so He was always thinking up more beautiful colors to add to it."

I also recommend "David's Drawing," "Colors Come From God Just Like Me," "The Two Mrs. Gibsons," a book about a beautiful little girl whose mother is Japanese and her father is black and "How My Parents Learned to Eat," another delightful book about a bi-racial child and the two cultures she happily shares. This book deserves a place of honor! It is for everybody!
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Format: Library Binding
This book remains one of the most consistently re-read books in my 6 year old daughter's substantial book collection. Thanfully devoid of the prevailing liberal viewpoint that you "are what society sees you as" the book calmly reinforces the concept that it is quite okay for mixed race children to celebrate their ENTIRE racial and cultural background.
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Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
My 4 year old (bi-racial) son really enjoys this book. It is nice to have a story with a diverse family. I am glad that it mentions race only briefly and shows that it is just another difference in their (& our) lives...just as their size, tastes and talents are different. The prose is a little mature for him and I have to explain what most of it means after each page...but he still loves it.
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Format: Library Binding
This a book meant to boost the self esteem of bi/multi racial children. I think it's very unfortunate that it does not address any of emotional/social issues. Research has shown that these children are significantly more likely to have mental health difficulties. As a biracial woman, I feel very strongly that inter-racial couples need to have ongoing issues with their children about the inevitable moments when acquaintances and strangers say, "What are you?" I found each of these experiences to be humiliating. I grew up in a liberal, racially diverse city and still struggled with my race.

The book could have maintained an upbeat tone but still giving children assertiveness skills to respond to these intrusive comments in a way that makes them feel comfortable. This book and several others send the message: Your skin is beautiful! It's cool being biracial! This does not correspond to reality. Strangers and people your child knows will comment on your child's skin tone; that is not “cool”. Also, I really don't get the emphasis on the color of one's skin being linked to self esteem. I don't think white children are taught--Peach skin is beautiful! and I don't get this approach with kids of color.

Recommendations:

Grades K-3
Who I Am, Not What I Am! Tara Michener, one reference to God

1-5
In Our Mothers’ House, Patricia Polacco

1-7
Born Beautiful Biracial, Tanya Hutchins

2-5
Amy Hodgepodge series, Kim Wayans

3-7
Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It, Sundee Frazier

4-7
Cherrye Vasquez- No Tildes on Tuesday; Clique, Clique, STOP

7-12
What Are You?
Read more ›
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By Mama kharis on September 24, 2012
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
This book is cute. I love that it encourages children to have their own interests and embrace their own likes as well as the likes of others. There are a few pages which point out the physical differences between this little girl and her parents, however most of the differences are preferences in likes and dislikes. (mom likes salads, dad likes ribs, little girl likes both. or Mom likes cats, dad likes dogs, little girl wants several animals.) At the end of each page, the girl proclaims that its just right.

me? ok, i'm just happy to have a book that features interracial relationships instead of whitemom with whitedad, blackmom with blackdad. My 3 year old has begun to note a difference and I wanted a fun way to talk about our unique family make-up. This has been it. We talk about what WE like at each page as well. (mom likes veggies, dad would go with those ribs or chicken, our girls like artichoke and chicken. Mama likes most animals, but daddy prefers dogs, our little girls like them all.)

another thing I really like is that the mothers hair is worn naturally. My 3 year old knows that some people have straight hair and some curly, but lately she has observed that MOST people (black or white) have straight hair (perm, wig, ect.) and less people have curly. I believe very strongly in encouraging an acceptance of personal beauty, this book allows for that.
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