Next week I won’t be able to keep focus on the Comment Challenge so much because I’ll be participating in the Winter Blog Blast Tour, as organized by Chasing Ray. Next week, I’ll have an interview with Lisa Papademetriou, along with a review of her new book, Drop. On Friday, I’ll have an informal-style interview on writing and books and life with Sara Lewis Holmes and Caroline Hickey. On Wednesday, I’ll post an interview with Mitali Perkins focusing on her First Daughter books, particularly of interest now that the White House is indeed home to brown girls.
Was my choice of words in that last sentence jarring? It was intentional. First, because Mitali’s blog and writing challenge us to think about how we see and describe race. And I love her for it. Second, because it relates to the poem I’ve been thinking about since before the election that I will share today. It was written by James Berry in response to a letter from a girl named Josie who was picked on for her color and asked the poet, “How do you like being brown?”
Okay, Brown Girl, OkayYou can read and listen to the rest of the poem at NPR, from when they reviewed the book Poetry Speaks to Children. Let me suggest that the book would make a wonderful holiday gift, especially if paired with a letter promising to read it together.
Josie, Josie, I am okay
being brown. I remember
every day dusk and dawn get born
from the loving of night and light
who work together, like married.
And they would like to say to you:
Be at school on and on, brown Josie
like thousands and thousands and thousands
of children, who are brown and white
and black and pale-lemon color.
All the time, brown girl Josie is okay.
I’ve been thinking about this poem for the last two weeks, really since I wrote my Blog the Vote post, with its focus on embracing this next cultural shift in America. I know that our race problems aren’t solved, but with our new president-elect and his campaign’s goal of inclusion, I want us all to feel... okay.
Poetry Friday is hosted today by Yat-Yee Chong.