Sheila Modir, Jeff Kashou, & Monica Mikai
Zahra experiences her emotions as colors, and is about to start school. Something that Zahra understands is that while emotions are fleeting and sometimes unseen by those around her, her glowing brown skin is perceivable immediately. When she begins school, Zahra notices that she’s the only one with brown skin. Undeterred, she begins her day and is having a good time until a classmate makes a racist remark and others laugh. Disappointed and hurt, she brings it up during dinner that night to her family, who all have varying shades of glowing, rich, brown skin. Will they be able to help Zahra feel better?
So not only is this book’s message beautiful, but it also focuses on the achievements of Black and Brown historical figures. Zahra’s parents remind her of all the folks who also glow (inside and out) and have changed the world. The Proudest Color embodies having self-esteem about whatever quantity of melanin is found in your skin, but it’s also about bouncing back and realizing that people are going to be jerks. Sometimes it’s because they’re making a not funny joke, don’t know any better, or might be pointedly trying to hurt feelings.
Developing the emotional intelligence to recognize that it’s a statement about the person antagonizing rather than the worth of the person being spoken to is extremely difficult, and this book helps begin those conversations early. In the back of the book are tips about cultivating cultural socialization, both in general and when faced with discrimination. Unfortunately, we live in a profoundly racist society and that requires having these conversations on a regular basis. The Proudest Color is a phenomenal tool not only for the Zahra’s of the world, but FOR WHITE KIDS TOO. Emphasis on ensuring we’re having these conversations with the cultural and global majority as one facet of building a better world.
This book was kindly sent by Familius, but all opinions are my own! You can catch me on IG Live tomorrow with BOTH Sheila and Jeff at 5PST/8EST chatting and giving a bunch of books away! And as if life couldn’t be any better, this story is also a contender for the #Bookstagang_BestOf2021 list as well. You need this one on your shelves, it’s a future classic!
Sheila Modir & Jeff Kashou
Sheila Modir is a pediatric psychologist, and Jeffrey Kashou is a marriage and family therapist. As Middle Eastern Americans (Iranian and Palestinian) and as clinicians, they advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion and work toward promoting resilience in children.