Building a Better Canon: Stories of the Mixed Experience

I grew up an awkward, bookish mixed kid. I didn’t feel like I fit in with most of the kids around me partly due to my desire to hang out in the library instead of the soccer field, and partly because of my weird family. My parents didn’t match like most of my friends, and I had an extended family of aunts and uncles and cousins that often visited on weekends. I lived between two worlds as a kid: my mostly white school and the mostly black Baptist church I grew up in. My worlds had different foods and different ways of saying things. I learned quickly how to move between them; I learned to switch parts of who I was depending on where I was. From elementary through middle school, I read books about kids having adventures, (for a whole year I convinced myself I was Harriet the Spy). I read about about teens navigating the new-weirdness of adolescence (Judy Blume will always be my homegirl). But through all that reading, I longed for a book that I could see myself in.

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