Honeysmoke brings up an interesting question: If you mother and father are two different colors, what is your color? Simone wants her own color. She is not black or white or peanut butter or any other color. Her friends and parents try to help her, but Simone is determined to give a name to what color she is. The how she comes up with her color is pretty special; just like she is. It shows that she is a little bit her mom, dad and herself.
Monique Fields works in many areas (on air, print and online) promoting race and identity issues. She even has a site for parents raising multi-racial children. Her essays and other works have appeared in Ebony and on NPR. Her text here is thoughtful and true to a child’s voice. Based on her own experiences with her past and questions her daughter asked her, Fields has created a good story about who you are.
Yesenia Moises’s illustrations show many colors. Her portrayal of how people look is realistic and sweet. Simone herself is just a darling little girl trying to find her place in the world, but she fits in perfectly among her friends and family on these pages.
This will bring up issues of race. Perhaps you or your child knows of biracial children, or a child from another culture. This is a non-preachy way to talk about how we are different, but the same. Such as one of Simone’s white friends says she is like them, but one of her black friends says she is like them. How can both be correct? Yet, they are.
Honeysmoke is going to be one of those books you love or hate. I really do not see a lot of middle ground with it. However, it will get you thinking.