Am I Black or Am I White?


Christian - Children
26 Pages
Reviewed on 03/21/2019
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Author Biography

Norman Whaler is from Grosse Pointe, MI, USA. He is a member of SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators), CIPA, IAN, and IBPA. His website is normanwhaler.com

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Am I Black or Am I White? is a children’s social issues picture book written by Norman Whaler and illustrated by Jasmine Mills. Tara always felt a bit hesitant about going to school because of her mixed parentage. Was she black or was she white? While most black kids and white kids were fine with her being who and what she was, there were always some children who wanted to give her a hard time in school. It seemed wrong for her to feel compelled to chose her mom’s race over her dad’s or vice versa. She loved both her parents and loved how they all made such an awesome and loving family. Tara just knew she was tired of being teased and hated seeing so much hostility over race in school, in the playground and on the street. Her mom and dad had the answer, of course, and it was pretty simple. If she was kind to everybody and lived by the Golden Rule, she would be part of the solution. Following God’s message was the answer.

Am I Black or Am I White? sends a moving and eloquent message to kids about an issue that often doesn’t really matter much to young people -- someone’s race or color or ethnic background. Unfortunately, the prejudices of some parents or adults can affect some children, and mixed race kids often bear the brunt of those misguided feelings. I love the positive vibes this book sends to kids of all races, mixed or not, as well as to their parents and caregivers. This book offers adults a perfect opportunity to let kids discuss their feelings about race and ethnicity in an accepting and caring environment. The Golden Rule answers so much here, and does so very eloquently. Jasmine Mills’ artwork is outstanding. I especially like her use of child models of all sizes and ethnic backgrounds. Her panel showing Tara’s joy at being liberated from those fears as she runs happily with her arms outspread speaks volumes. Am I Black or Am I White? is most highly recommended.

Dawn Weaver

Am I Black or Am I White? by Norman Whaler is a pertinent story for children in this age of racial divide and hatred. It begins with Tara, a little girl tormented by the question of what she is—black or white. You see, Tara’s mom is black and her dad is white. She loves them both dearly and enjoys the security of their love for each other and for her. She is teased and alienated by some of the children at school and she is frightened by the violence and hatred that fills the television. With some comforting advice from her mother, the wise words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the even greater wisdom of God’s Word, Tara is guided through her storms of doubt.

Are you frightened by the racial division and hatred that is in the world today? If you are, just imagine how much harder it is for our children living and growing up in these conditions. Am I Black or Am I White? by Norman Whaler is the perfect book to help children through these troubling times! I think this book is very timely and well written. The beautiful illustrations by Jasmine Mills perfectly complement the story and show the reality of Tara’s emotions, fears, trials, and hopes. I truly appreciated the inclusion of verses from the Gospels. I wish this story could be read and reread to each child growing up today; maybe then they would have the wisdom to achieve what we adults seem unable to—peace, love, and understanding between all people, regardless of color.

Edith Wairimu

Am I Black or Am I White? by Norman Whaler is a timely children’s book that explores racial division and inspires young children to love each other regardless of skin color. Tara’s experience at school is traumatic. Some children continuously tease her and many times she dreads school and cannot wait to get home. Unlike many other children in her school, Tara’s mother is black and her father is white. Tara does not want to choose between her parents. She feels like she is caught up between two worlds. The teasing exposes Tara to a brutal world that is intolerant of people born in a mixed marriage. She is also distressed by what she sees on TV, white and black people fighting and using race as a means to further hatred and anger.

Norman Whaler’s Am I Black or Am I White? is an amazing and relevant story especially for children growing up in today’s world. Racial segregation is a prominent topic that needs to be discussed between children and their parents. Tara’s experiences will start the discussion and, through them, a young reader will be able to understand the struggle in trying to fit in for mixed race children. They will also learn the importance of loving and accepting people despite their race. The creative illustrations by Jasmine Mills help in developing the plot. They also evoke emotional reactions with regard to Tara’s experiences and her viewpoint. Am I Black or Am I White? by Norman Whaler is an amazing story with a powerful lesson.