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Mixed: A Colorful Story by Arree Chung

by | Mar 22, 2022 | Racism | 0 comments

Talking to your kids about racism. 

Note: This is a bit of a different book for this blog, which is normally going to be featuring Americans in history who don’t get much attention (or a different take) in the classroom setting. However, this simple book is a great read for introducing and explaining what racism is to small children, in a way they can understand, so I thought it was a good one to include for the young ones. 

I live in a community that has recently been divided by how parents think we should or should not speak to children about racism. A PTA meeting made the local news last year after some parents lost the concept of self control and started screaming at each other about why their children should not learn Critical Race Theory (an advanced theory discussing systemic racism that is taught in college-level courses, not in elementary schools) because learning about how racism in history might make children “feel bad” about themselves and seek to separate themselves from children with different skin colors. 

To me that just sounds like those parents need to get some therapy to work through their own inner conflict resolution skills. In our house, we talk about social justice issues – in age-appropriate terms, of course. 

So how do you start the conversation with little kids about racism? 

You use Arree Chung’s book, Mixed: A Colorful Story. 

Mixed is a fun, easy read that uses the personification of colors for its story. The book opens with the good qualities of all three color groups (Red, Yellow, and Blue) and everything was going decently well with everyone staying within their color groups but living harmoniously amidst each other, until one day a Red decided they were the “best” color and everyone separated to only live around their same colors. 

The problem is fixed, however, after a brave Blue and Yellow pair up (despite discrimination and other colors giving them a hard time) and get married and have a baby, Green. Green is adorable and changes the minds of the rest of the colors and they all start mixing, creating new colors along the way, and the world becomes more beautiful. 


 I love how simply this book explains racism to children. By choosing to personify something generic like primary colors, children are able to understand the concepts without taking the story “personally.” It is so much easier to apply a concept to a situation once the concept is understood: all colors are beautiful and have special things about them. One color is not better or worse than another color. Mix two colors up and you create a new color that is unique and special. 

I also appreciated the hints about the character of the Blue and Yellow pair and how their love mattered more than what other colors thought. 


 A year or so ago, once my sons started noticing that their friends looked different than they do, we started talking about this concept of how different people have different skin tones. We are still consistently working on saying “so and so has brown skin” instead of “so and so is brown” and each time we have that discussion, we talk about how every person deserves dignity and respect. 

So many books that we read about non-white Americans mention their struggles with racism and how they were treated growing up, so my boys know that racism still exists in our culture today, and how that is harmful. This sweet book is a great story with a goal: that one day “The old neighborhoods of Redville, Blue Town, and Yellow Heights didn’t make sense anymore. Everyone wanted to live together, so they rebuilt the city.”  


Age Level

 My boys are seven and four and they really enjoyed this book. It’s definitely appropriate for preschool-aged kids through early elementary. 


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