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I had an interesting experience this past weekend ...

My mother-in-law, my wife and our daughter were in the car on our back from the store. Somehow we got on the subject of Adam and Eve. And, much to my dismay and distress, my super bright 8yr old daughter announces that Adam and Eve were White, and she knows this because she saw a picture of them in a book. Mad

While we have shelves of books on Black History and by Black writers, and our daughter has a whole wall of books, including some (most) with Black Hero/Heroines. It dawned on me that we have very few books with pictures of Black folks (other than on the covers).

Where can I find children's books that portray popular/traditional/mythical characters in a culturally correct light? I mean I have no problem with a children's book showing Christopher Columbus with pale skin because that's historically correct; but I have a problem with books showing Cleopatra with White skin, because that is not correct.

Also, how do I explain to my daughter that the default setting for White illustrators/writers is white characters?

I posting this here because I don't want this to dissolve into a discussion on "the psycho-social impact of imaging and racial identity vis-a-vis the post-civil rights era prepubescent youth in hyper-isolated, racially heterogeneous environments."

{No argue, please}
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quote:
Originally posted by Kweli4Real:
I posting this here because I don't want this to dissolve into a discussion on "the psycho-social impact of imaging and racial identity vis-a-vis the post-civil rights era prepubescent youth in hyper-isolated, racially heterogeneous environments."

{No argue, please}


and i am rotflmao....(not at your situation but at the quoted comment)

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Hi Kweli!

Your daughter sounds very bright and observant, so I would try reading Genesis with her. Not only is the story of Adam and Eve told, the wereabouts of the garden is described and I think it will be clear to her that not only are Adam & Eve people of color, but other Biblical characters probably were as well. My son picked up on that immediately and I think he was around her age at the time.

I can't name any specific books that depict historical or mythical characters as black, but I know they are out there. I have a book of fairy tales that has all the characters drawn as black and over the years my son has had many books featuring black people that I have passed on to nephews (I have 15 nephews and 1 neice!! Eek). I always bought them at AfricanAmerican street festivals.

I can name one book that might be useful if or when you decide to discuss racism with her. "Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria? and Other Conversations" by Beverly Tatum is excellent.
suggestion from my mom (who works with kids in church and school-i just happened to be on the phone with her when i saw your post):

Let My People Go : Bible Stories Told by a Freeman of Color

From School Library Journal
Grade 3 Up-A masterful combination of Bible stories and African-American history.

The collection opens as father and daughter encounter a constable for wealthy slaveholder Mr. Riley and Charlotte asks her father, "Do Mr. Sam Riley own the moon?" He responds with the story of creation and tells her, "Nobody can make a slave of the moon, the sun, the stars, or any part of what God created, no matter how rich they may be. God made something wonderful out of nothing. What human being can do that?" Through the characters of Charlotte and Price Jeffries, based on historical abolitionists, the McKissacks answer the toughest questions of this troubling period of American history with stories of faith. When Charlotte witnesses an African child's death on the auction block, she asks her father, "Why is it God lets one person buy and own another person?" He answers with the story of Eden and "how God let the first people make their own choices." The story of the courtship of Charlotte's parents ("a love worth waiting for") leads the way to that of Jacob and Rachel. Each Old Testament story builds upon the one before it, weaving the development of Charlotte's personal history and the Biblical stories into a seamless whole.

amazon.com

here are a couple other's i found on amazon:

Holy Bible Illustrated Especially for Children of Color (PreSchool-Grade 3)

noah (PreSchool-Grade 3)this one is out of print on amazon, but might be orderable.
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[This message was edited by Nykkii on September 16, 2003 at 05:16 PM.]
Why can't a child be told the truth; that Adam and Eve were born before human being recorded anything in writing or in pictures and that any pictures that depict them are pictures of what people imagine what they may have looked like - and that no one knows exactly what either of them actually looked like except God.
I have ran across information once of bibles with pictures of people of color in them; I once saw a special on t.v. where they were talking about and showing actual bibles where all of the people in them where Black; these were actual Bibles, older than the ones referenced in recent centuries and they were touring certain parts of the country to put them on display. So, they are out there, searching the web may be a good place to start.

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