Tag Archives: interracial love

The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage

Written by: Selina Alko

Illustrated by: Sean Qualls & Selina Alko

For ages: 4-9 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Activism, Legislation, Segregation, Family, Interracial Marriage, Modern Black Freedom Struggle, Own Voices, Non-Fiction, Historical Figures, Family, Love. 


We are so excited to have another round of #sweetsandsocialjustice in conjunction with #thefictionfeast (even though this is a non-fiction story) and made a classic oatmeal cookie to pair with this fantastic book, The Case for Loving. This delicious recipe can be found by following our link in bio, and don’t forget to tag us if you make them…we want to see!

This is a beautiful book that recounts the court case from Virginia that challenged anti-miscegenation laws, laws that banned interracial marriage.  Richard and Mildred loved each other very much, and had 3 children. Richard was a white man and Mildred was African American and Native American.  The pair didn’t want to be arrested and jailed, but decided to get married in Washington DC.  Shortly after, the police raided their house in the middle of the night and declared their marriage license invalid in the state of Virginia.  After getting out of jail, they left their families behind and moved to D.C. where they could raise a family.  Richard and Mildred decided to fight the laws, and took their case all the way to the Supreme Court!

This book is perfect for little ones to help understand that the laws haven’t always been fair.  Especially today, interracial marriages are something everyone is familiar with and most of us have friends and family that are in interracial relationships.  I am personally using this book in conjunction with some others to make comparisons with LGBTQ marriage equality.  This court case was a turning point in marriage equality, and I am so appreciative that there is a children’s book created by an interracial couple, to explain this historic event to readers.

Recipe: Oatmeal Cookies

1.5c rolled oats

1.5c all purpose flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 for myself)

1/2t baking soda

1/2t baking powder

1t cinnamon

2 sticks melted butter

1/2c dark brown sugar

1/2c maple sugar (can use white sugar instead)

1t salt (I omit when I only have salted butter in my fridge!)


1t vanilla extract

Whisk dry ingredients together.  Mix butter, sugars, egg, salt, and extract together.  Combine all until just mixed, put into the fridge for a half hour.  Preheat oven to 325, scoop cookies, bake 18-22 minutes.  Makes about 16 large cookies.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

IMG_1142_JPGIt is no wonder that award-winning writer-illustrator Selina Alko now spends her days melding words and mixed-media art to convey stories of hope and inspiration—as well as an alternative viewpoint. Growing up in Vancouver, British Columbia with a Turkish father who spoke seven languages and taught painting, and a mother who worked in the family’s century-old metal recycling business, she was surrounded by the melody of words and stories from different places, and varied visual possibilities.

The skills her parents imparted to her as a child, the creative environment that supported them, and the diverse world view she was privy to, have inspired and fueled her ever since and are evident in her children’s books; The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage (co-created with Sean Qualls); Why Am I Me? (by Paige Britt and co-illustrated with Qualls); and B is for Brooklyn, which she wrote and illustrated herself, and many more.

“Write what is closest to your heart. What do you care about? What excites you? What makes you feel sad?,” said Selina when asked what advice she would give to an aspiring writer.

Now as the mother of two children, Selina looks to carry on some of the traditions that encouraged her talents and world-view by holding “family art nights.” Her son loves to create detailed, realistic drawings of rap and hip hop artists; her daughter is more free form and uses bold colors and broad brush strokes to create her works. It fills Selina with pride and wonderment as her kids learn to express themselves and cultivate a love of art.

Sean-QuallsSean Qualls finds inspiration everywhere. Growing up in the 70’s in central New Jersey, his family didn’t have much money for art supplies but he made the best of what was available; discarded paper, blank end pages from old books and sometimes walls much to his mother’s chagrin. Some of his earliest inspirations were the crayons and coloring books his mom would buy for him and his older sister, drawing and handwriting competitions with classmates and an illustrated bible he received for Christmas in the 2nd grade.

He moved to Brooklyn to attend art school at Pratt Institute. After only a year and a half he dropped out but continued to educate himself while working full-time at the Brooklyn Museum.

Sean’s books and illustrations often explore history and non-fiction subjects. His fine art focuses on race & identity and the intersection of history & mythology, ultimately examining how we create our own identities or allow them to be scripted to for us.  Together his paintings and illustrations reveal  simultaneously unique and universal moments that reveal the human spirit.

Sean has also illustrated Emmanuel’s Dream (Schneider Award recipient) written by Laurie Ann Thompson, Giant Steps to Change the World written by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee and Before John Was a Jazz Giant (Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor) written by Carole Boston Weatherford. He lives in lives in Brooklyn where you can also find him DJing on occasion.

The Degenerates [released 3/17]

Written by: J. Albert Mann

Cover Art by: Design: Rebecca Syracuse; Illustration: Sarah Maxwell-Folio Art

For ages: YA (14 years and up)

Language: English

Topics Covered: Historical Fiction, LGBTQ, Growing Up, Mental Health, Disability, Own Voices, Interracial Love, Family, Friendship, Institutionalized Lives, Courage, Bravery, Love. 


This book is incredible.  I truly hope this book review does it justice, I couldn’t put it down.  We were given the opportunity to read the book before it’s released on 3/17 and I am so appreciative!  Four young girls (Rose, Alice Maxine, and London) are all institutionalized at the Massachusetts School for the Feeble-Minded, also known as the Fernald School.  Set in 1928, readers get a look inside the dismal and regimented existence that these girls as well as the rest of the inmates are subjected to.  The book is told in the four voices of the girls mentioned above, and the reader learns the schedule of the “school” and why they were abandoned there.  Using the language of the day, you can anticipate outdated terms for Down syndrome as well as learn about the eugenics movement that drove the incessant testing and measuring of intelligence leading to categories that we no longer use (but that many still use as ableist insults today).

I don’t want to give away too much, but The Degenerates is a slow burn, and made my little gay heart go pitter patter all the way until the last pages.  It’s a fantastic historically accurate book, and I’ve already told several people how much they need to read it!

In an extensive note in the back, we learn more about the author and how she developed the book from actual records found from the Fernald School, which was finally closed in 2014.  We coincidentally live very near the Fernald, so this book was of particular interest to us!  Everything in the book that a doctor or nurse says to a character was pulled from hospital records, as well as the characters names and their conditions.  The author herself is disabled, giving a personal voice to the probability that she herself would have been committed to an institution such as this one should she have been born last century.  Honestly, we probably would have been committed too, due to the criminalization of queer people in addition to the other disabled and marginalized citizens.  This adds another layer to reading the book and the heinous “care” that these individuals committed for life were given.

The Degenerates will be released on March 17th! This book was sent to us by Simon & Schuster, but all opinions are our own. This is a YA book everyone should devote a few hours to reading!

About the Author & the Cover Artist:

Jennifer+Mann_Author+Photo_2016+(1)J. Albert Mann is the author of six novels for children, with S&S Atheneum Books for Young Readers set to publish her next work of historical fiction about the Eugenics Movement and the rise of institutionalism in the United States. She is also the author of short stories and poems for children featured in Highlights for Children, where she won the Highlights Fiction Award, as well as the Highlights Editors’ Choice Award. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and is the Director of the WNDB Internship Grant Committee.

selfieSarah Maxwell is an American illustrator based in London. She was born and raised in Austin, Texas, only to then travel to Paris for studies. Having lived there for over 5 years, she has made the move to travel across the pond to the UK to start a new chapter of her life.

Her work ranges from fashion illustration to animated GIFs and comics. The best way to describe her work is summed up in 4 key words: nostalgia, tenderness, femininity, and 80’s electronic music.

0-3Rebecca Syracuse is a graphic designer and illustrator, highly experienced in children’s publishing and product design.