Friday, January 4, 2019


Title: Honeysmoke

Author: Monique Fields
Illustrator: Yesenia Moises
Publisher: Imprint (Macmillan) , January 8, 2019
Intended Ages: 3-6
Themes: Family, Racial Identity, Language

Opening Line(s):
Simone wants a color.
She asks Mama, "Am I black or white?"

A young biracial girl doesn't see herself as black or white and explores possible descriptions for herself.

What I like about this book: Without being preachy, this story about a biracial girl’s skin color encourages children to pause and reflect about the words they use and opens the door for lessons on family, heredity, and creative wordplay. The spare language is suitable for all ages. Most things in the world aren't black or white, and this book embraces children's individuality and empowers them to visualize who they are and how they want other people to see them. Arnold Adoff used a similar approach in the 1973 picture book black is brown is tan, told from the adult parents' point of view. Honeysmoke starts and stays with the child. Vibrant illustrations accompany the simple text.

Resources and Activities:

Play with fingerpaints! Mix the colors and make up names for the new combinations.

Brainstorm descriptors. Older readers can do this on their own. For younger readers, perhaps provide a stack of index cards with adjectives, colorful and otherwise, and let children pick and discard from the stack.

Older readers can also discuss the weight of words as descriptions. Are broad categories necessary? Why or why  not?

For educators--Washington State has an 86-page pdf to download on biracial awareness, biases, and counseling biracial children.

I hope you enjoy today's selection!
Another review of this great book is posted by Vivian Kirkfield.

This review is part of PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books. Organized and curated by author Susanna Leonard Hill, she keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. #PPBF