Monday, September 14, 2009

I'm Your Peanut Butter Big Brother by Selina Alko

There simply aren't enough children's books that feature interracial characters, so I did a little happy dance when this one arrived in my mailbox. In I'm Your Peanut Butter Big Brother a little boy talks to his soon-to-be brother or sister and imagines what he or she will look like. He himself is a blend of "semisweet dark Daddy chocolate bar," and "strawberry cream Mama's milk." The result? A "peanut butter big-brother-to-be." Will the new baby be "coffee with lots and lots of cream," "ginger cookie brown," or "midnight licorice purple"? The boy goes through the colors of his playmates and family and then imagines what the baby's hair, eyes, and lips will look like.

Vivid illustrations match the equally vivid descriptions, resulting in a book that celebrates the rich diversity within a family. This would make a great choice not only for interracial families who are expecting a new baby, but I also think for any child who is going to be a big brother, sister, cousin, etc. I haven't met many expectant mothers, fathers, or other family members who aren't curious about what a new baby will look like and who he or she will resemble, so this book could serve as a great discussion starter with children about what the new baby-to-be will look like. It's also portrays a very positive image of diversity, which makes me super happy to see in a children's book.

What Other Bloggers Are Saying:

Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast: "It’s a book that truly celebrates family and the thrill and mystery of an impending birth, especially for a young child, as well as the extra-added and lovely in-utero riddle of multiracial children." (read more...)

Kids Lit: "It is one to be shared with new older siblings but also one that can lead to great discussions and even greater acceptance in our children." (read more...)

Mulatto Diaries: "The whimsical elaboration of possibilities makes this the rare “issues-book” you’d want to snuggle up and read with your kids. " (read more...)

ISBN: 978-0375856273 | Knopf Books for Young Readers | March 2009 | Source: Review copy from publisher | Age range: 4-8


  1. What a great concept.... now, I just need to get pregnant again. :p

  2. As a person of mixed race (Black father & White mother, much like the example used in this book) & with mixed race children of my own...we were all slightly appalled (& yet humored) at the broad insensitivity used for the skin tone descriptions in this book. I would NEVER have described my mother's skin as "milk" nor my father's skin as "chocolate." Not to mention that any adult would pick up on the obvious sexual innuendo present in those descriptions. I wouldn't describe my children as "mocha" or "peanut butter." Their skin tone doesn't and shouldn't matter (Or isn't that what America has been trying to make brown people believe since the '70's???). I get the idea of where this book was trying to go, but it used poor execution. I feel the author was using her family's "personal inside jokes" about her own family's skin tones (that she obviously doesn't feel comfortable with or she would have a better, more educated way of expressing or describing them to her children, as her bio says she's married to a black man & has bi-racial children) & then thought it would be a cute idea to turn those "jokes" into a book. However, to this bi-racial person, her kids, and the many people I've presented this book to in order to chortle at the blatant racist terms & characterazations, this caucasion author should've spent less emphasis regarding the possible skin tones & more emphasis on the possible relationship with a new sibling.