I’m the Colour of Honey is a story by Maïmouna Jallow, a storyteller and media consultant based in Nairobi, Kenya. She is the co-founder of Positively African, an arts and media company, and the curator of Re-Imagined Series—a project aimed at adapting folktales and novels for contemporary audiences. In 2016, she launched The Nairobi Storytelling Festival. The illustrations, by Caroline Faysse, are tasteful and aesthetically pleasing to both children and adults alike. The book design and editing were done by Charné Casey and Alison Ziki, respectively. I’m the Colour of Honey is published by Book Dash.
Ages 2-5 | 18 Pages
What to expect? Self-love, Self-identity, Self-acceptance, Love, Family
I’m the Colour of Honey is a story about a little girl, Amanda, who recounts how she views herself and her parents as well as how society makes her feel as a biracial girl. Amanda also explains how these experiences made her struggle with her self-identity and how her parents’ love eventually made her realize and love her uniqueness.
This book outlines the major role society and family play in determining a child’s self-perception and self-identity. In Amanda’s case, people kept pointing out how different she looked, especially from her parents, despite her constantly correcting their wrong assumption of her parents’ identity.
“When we go out some people stare at us, or ask us lots of questions.” “Is that your Teacher?” asks the man in the park. No! It’s my Daddy! “Is that your Aunty?” asks the woman at the store. No! It’s my Mummy! “But your Daddy is like a night sky,” says the woman at the store. “And your Mummy is as white as the blank pages in a book,” says the man in the park.
This continued to the point where Amanda felt the need to imitate her parents’ looks in order to fit in and, in a way, be accepted by society.
“…The next day I wrap a towel on my head and swing it around just like Mummy does with her hair.” “…I run home and get some black paint. I smear it on my face.”
It took Amanda’s parents’ love to destroy the box society was trying to put her in and make her see and celebrate her differences.
“Why don’t I look like you, mummy and daddy?”
“Amanda, show me that smile, that’s just like your Daddy’s.” I don’t feel like smiling.
“Come on Amanda, look at your dimple. It’s so pretty, just like your Mummy’s!
This, in effect, shaped her confidence and self-love.
“Mummy and Daddy make me smile. And I make them smile too! Look!” I say, my teeth are white, just like yours.” “Yes, and your heart is red, just like ours.”
This book teaches children, particularly children from interracial or multicultural backgrounds, how they can learn to love and accept themselves in a society that might try to bog them down, despite their best efforts.
Review by Edwina N.K Quarcoo.