Fulfill the Dream and teach kids to look inside not outside (A review of I Am Tan by Michele Rose

How do you want your children to judge themselves and others? To quote Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Do you want them to judge “by the color of their skin” or “by the content of their character?” I want my kids to judge by what’s inside not what’s outside.
I need to model this for my children as I interact with people of all races and who are different than I am. It will also help to read them stories that present the issue so that we can discuss it. I Am Tan by Michele Rose is a book the discusses race, specifically being of a mixed race. I am white. I married a Filipina woman. We have 2 little girls. My girls are a mixed race. This book will give me a wonderful opportunity to discuss race with them. One of my concerns as a parent is how others will judge my girls since they are mixed. This book will help me to prepare them for what they may encounter and will give the opportunity to discuss how we should view others.
In I Am Tan Christian is a six-year-old boy of mixed race. His dad is black and his mother is white. He tries to figure out his own racial identity. He wonders if he is black, white or mixed. He wonders what label to use to identify himself to others when asked. As he explores, he learns about stereotypes and that there are other mixed children. I especially liked that he encountered a girl who was half Filipino. He learns that he should view others by who they are on the inside not what they appear to be on the outside.
This book offers many points of discussion on race, prejudice, judging others, and stereotypes. I would recommend this book to any parent who wants to teach their child to judge not “by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
There may not be a hotter topic in today’s society than race. With all the riots, shootings and other violence that is happening because of racial tension, we need books like I Am Tan. We need to teach the next generation the lessons present is this book. We are a divided nation not only by race but also by beliefs, by politics, by social economic status, and other differences. We need to teach our children to celebrate differences. We need to teach them to look at other people’s heart. We have the challenge to raise the next generation to fulfill Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream:

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that ALL men are created equal… I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Brief Author Bio:

This is my first children’s book. I saw a need for a book discussing race and stereotypes on a child’s level, so I fulfilled the need. I am a photographer and used pictures of my son, to create the drawings in the book. I am currently in school for creative writing and art.


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