ForeWord Reviews

great books independent voices

Mixed Heritage

Your Source for Books for Children and Teens About Persons and Families of Mixed Racial, Ethnic, and/or Religious Heritage

Foreword Review

This comprehensive bibliography of children’s literature will be a useful sourcebook for families of mixed race, ethnicity, and religious heritage. It will also be a valuable resource for teachers, researchers, family counselors, and social workers who work with families of mixed heritage.

Blakemore defines mixed heritage as families with children of parents from two different cultures, and adult parents or guardians whose heritage differs from the children they care for. Works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction that discuss the issues families of mixed heritage encounter are grouped into seven categories: 1) General, which gives an overview and focuses on the history of interracial marriage, international adoption, and governmental policies; 2) Persons of Mixed Racial and/or Ethnic Heritage; 3) Persons of Mixed Religious Heritage; 4) Couples of Mixed Heritage; 5) Families, Including a Child of the Same Nationality, but a Different Heritage (for example, when children have new caretakers due to domestic adoption, or a parent’s death or remarriage); 6) Families, Including a Child of a Different Nationality (for example, children adopted from another country); and 7) Biographies.

A broad range of subjects are covered, such as teenage interracial and cross-cultural dating, families seeking asylum, child slaves, drug addiction, abandonment, and histories of Native Americans. Recommended titles include The Adoption Experience, The Double Life of Pocahontas, and Orphan Runaways, as well as others from well-known authors—for instance, Ann Brashares’s The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series; Judy Blume’s 1970 classic, Are you There God? It’s Me, Margaret; and John Updike’s A Child’s Calendar. Nonfiction works that present interviews with authors, journalists, and poets are in the directory, along with books that convey the personal stories of children and adults from mixed heritage families.

Each entry briefly summarizes the book and lists the publisher, year of publication, number of pages, target reader age group, and whether it is fiction or nonfiction. The more than eight hundrend-page resource of books published over the past six decades contains a much-needed subject index, title index, and author/editor index to present readers with convenient options to locate a particular book or subject area. However, the indices do not provide publication dates, which would be useful information when seeking books written during a particular time period.

Blakemore’s reference book will appeal primarily to people who have direct experience with mixed heritage family issues. It also offers an educational tool for those who may not have firsthand knowledge of these issues, but are eager to learn more about them.

Maria Siano