Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 14 to 18
- Grade: 9 to 12
- Reading age: 14 to 18
Black, white, and everything in between …
Through poems, interviews, and short essays, a group of young people tell what it’s like to be biracial, multiracial, or of mixed race. These poignant firsthand accounts reflect the unique and varied voices of the writers, whose backgrounds range from Caribbean, Vietnamese, and Latin American to First Nations, Spanish, and Irish, among others.
With devastating honesty, the youth tell what it’s been like to make their way in the world with their roots in many places and in many cultures. Themes include navigating mixed-race relationships, dealing with prejudice and the assumptions people make based on appearances, and working through identity confusion to arrive at a strong and positive sense of self.
Readers who share these experiences will find comfort, inspiration, and validation. Those less familiar with the issues will gain important insight and understanding.
About the author
St. Stephen’s Community House is a unique, community-based social service agency that has been serving the needs of Kensington Market and surrounding neighborhoods in downtown West Toronto since 1962.Operating with a staff of over 150 people and with the support of almost 400 volunteers, they provide services for more than 32,000 people a year. St. Stephen’s addresses the most pressing issues in its community—poverty, hunger, homelessness, unemployment, isolation, conflict and violence, AIDS, racism, youth alienation, and the integration of refugees and immigrants.
“By turns gritty or heartwarming, this would make a terrific addition to a study of culture or simply as a discussion starter for high school kids about how our culture defines us and limits or expands our potential.”
“For parents raising multiracial teens or school libraries, this is a terrific resource.”
The Suburban Barnyard, 01/21/13
“The experiences and observations are always poignant, often tragic. Yet, as a whole the book is uplifting and optimistic.”
Canadian Children’s Book News, 11/12
“The quality of the pieces varies, but not the heartfelt desire to reach out to others and help them on a journey that can be painful and confusing.”
Library Media Connection, 06/01/13
“This was a great read . . . and one which I think many young people (and adults for that matter) would find interesting and eye-opening.”
Beth’s Book-Nook Blog, 08/20/12
“Candid, painful, and most of all authentic reflections from a teenage POV.”
Publishers Weekly, 10/15/12
“Readers who share these experiences will find support, inspiration, and validation. Those less familiar with the issues will gain important insight and understanding.”
The Literati Press, 02/07/15
“Powerful, discerning, creative and inspiring.”
Resource Links, 12/12
“Its stories will resonate with mixed race teens, but those who aren’t of mixed race will become aware of issues they have neither considered nor experienced . . . there is much to be learned from this book.”
CM Reviews, 10/12
“People of mixed race will be able to identify with the stories that are shared, and will see themselves reflected in this collection.”
School Library Journal, 03/13
“The writing is urgent and gripping, humorous and angry, sad and defiant.”
“Rawly provocative . . . Edgy layout, artwork and photos enhance stories and poems, amplifying the powerful emotions behind them.”
Kirkus Reviews, 10/12
“The most important part of this book is the feelings the words illuminate.”
Foreword Reviews, 11/12
It’s Not All Black and White: Multiracial Youth Speak OutWith heartfelt passion, a group of young people — members of St. Stephen’s Community House in Toronto — speak of their mixed-race backgrounds. In words that are fresh and vibrant each writer describes obstacles encountered in their daily life that result from being of multiple cultures. Unique multiracial experiences including Vietnamese, Japanese, Latin American, Native American, Caribbean and Irish are powerfully presented through poetry, testimonials and artwork.
Contributions discuss mixed-race relationships, prejudice and stereotyping, as well as the recognition of unique strengths. Invaluable suggestions for parental/child dialogue are included and interviews with older adults provide perspective and an awareness that race relations are slowly improving. The layout with useful sidebars, significant artwork and a different script per entry creates readability and a harmonious whole.
The experiences and observations are always poignant, often tragic. Yet, as a whole the book is uplifting and optimistic, culminating in the recognition that a diverse inheritance does enrich many of the writers’ lives, simultaneously creating a well of self-worth despite incomplete societal understanding.
This book carries a compelling message for all, irrespective of cultural make-up. Certainly mixed-race youth struggling to find their niche in society will find validation in the experiences and thoughts of others who have walked this way before.
Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Fall 2012. Volume 35 No. 4.