Illustrations by Shane W. Evans
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Mike has awesome hair and a ton of energy. His loves that he is a perfect mix of his parents who are black and white. Of course, Mike has to answer a lot of questions about being mixed, but he doesn't mind so much because he loves his family.
An issue book that deals with a bi-racial that may have a rather specific audience, but is an important one. According to the last census, among American children the multiracial population has increased almost 50 percent, to nearly 4.2 million, making it the fastest growing youth group in the country. Yet there are so few children's books on the subject. Now, as the We Need Diverse Books movement has pointed out, diversity is still something that the children's book industry struggles with (and is making great strides in). Picture books have a tendency to have animals rather than children since one doesn't have to worry about what color a mouse or a bear or a rabbit is. As much as I like the animal books, there is definitely something to be said about children needing books that show people like them.
Normally, I am rather harsh when it comes to celebrity authors. What I felt like this book lacked in writing style, I think it made up for with the story itself and the illustrations. There is actually a really great rhythm to the story although some of the rhymes themselves felt a bit clunky at times. Shane W. Evans illustrates with his usual bright colors. And Mike's hair! Such fantastic red curls.
At times, I am thankful for books that have incidental diversity, like the father's day book (that I cannot recall the title of) that I read a few years back in which the parent's were multi-racial, but this is never addressed in the story. Yet, I also think books like this are also incredibly important. Age-appropriate and upbeat, I hope this book finds its audience and with a celebrity author, it just might.