“I don’t want to move to Canada” my 8 year old daughter, Sage, said through streaming tears after I informed her that Trump had “won” the election.
“Honey, listen we are not moving to Canada. I shouldn’t have told you that.” I took in a deep breath, sighed, and continued on. “I thought this would never happen. It’s kinda like when I told you there was a Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. It’s something I said that wasn’t true. I thought it was cute and would make you feel good. I’m sorry.”
“What about my friends in school? Their parents said they’re moving to Canada too. I don’t want them to go.”
“I think those parents were just like me. They just didn’t think this would happen.”
Then I did it again, I lied to my daughter.
“There is nothing to worry about.” Read more
I remember the first time we met three years ago. I trekked through the rain to the chic and cozy restaurant in Philly where we agreed to meet. At the time, we were both bringing awareness to the complicated issue of colorism—you with your book (1) Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race and me with my children’s book Same Difference.
It was inevitable that we discussed a collaboration, and I was excited about the possibility. As we sat across from each other, I realized that we represented opposite ends of the same spectrum. I’m what some call “high yellow” and you are dark brown. Read more
Over the last few months, my life has been a whirlwind of book readings, book sales, and teaching art classes, not to mention the trials and tribulations of married life and parenting. Though stressful at times, all is well — if you don’t count my futile attempts to potty train my 2-year-old daughter, who always tells she’s gone AFTER the deed is done.
But I’ve been in overdrive trying to promote Same Difference, and my efforts are starting to pay off.
Today my neighbor, who is Vietnamese, stopped me to tell me that he’s read Same Difference to his 3-year-old son more than a 100 times. I smiled and chuckled to myself. Both of my girls have favorite books and movies that I’ve been forced to read and watch over and over. I know firsthand what it’s like to have to feign joy each time I’m forced to read about princess Barbie as if it wasn’t the thousandth time. Funny though. I have no problem reading my own book every day, all day.
A few weeks ago, I read Same Difference at L.A.’s posh children’s restaurant Giggles N Hugs, where I met a father, who is white, who bought the book for his son. He was excited about adding Same Difference to his son’s collection because he understood the deeper message about acceptance and appreciating diversity.
I am so happy that Same Difference is thriving. And I’m honored to receive calls, e-mails, and letters from parents and organizations about all the children who love the book. Though I originally wrote it to address the sensitive and often divisive issues of beauty and identity among African Americans, Same Difference is touching people’s hearts regardless of race — or gender.
Thank you all for your support, love, and beautiful messages. And a special thanks to those parents brave enough to buy my little pink book for their sons.
Nearly five years ago, I planted a tiny seed and now, I’m watching as it grows. Same Difference began as a dream, then blossomed into words, sketches, paintings, and finally, a book. I feel like the mother of a newborn baby. After so much time spent nursing, coddling, and grooming,she’s sitting up on her own, and I’m so proud.
As my 2-year old daughter, Sage, likes to say, “I did it!” After years of a holding on to my deferred dream, I finally published my first children’s book, Same Difference.
As a dedicated artist, wife, and mother of two girls (ages 4 and 2) and a teenage boy (a gift from my marriage), I’ve had plenty of good excuses for why I couldn’t complete the book that I’ve wanted to write and illustrate for so long. But here I am—at last. It’s been a long and often-emotional journey, but well worth it. The response that I’ve received thus far from people who have been touched by the story and message of Same Difference has been truly overwhelming.