Sunday, June 22, 2008

Meet Amy Hodgepodge!

Amy is a fourth-grade girl who is a mix of Korean and Japanese (from her mom), and African-American and Caucasian (from her dad). She looks like so many little girls I know, yet who are rarely ever represented on the cover of children’s books.

The series is written by comedienne Kim Wayans (remember “In Living Color”?!) and her husband Kevin Knotts. When I read the Amy Hodgepodge books, I was so excited to see that Amy’s group of friends look (literally!) just like the kids in our our Melting Pot Moms groups. :-) They are all different mixes -- Caucasian/Chinese, Perto Rican/African-American, Italian/Irish, etc. Finally – books where mixed kids are the norm! :-)

Kim Wayans recently did an e-interview with Melting Pot Moms:

1) What inspired you to write the Amy Hodgepodge series?

My husband and I have 38 nieces and nephews; many of whom are mixed-race children. It's so important for children to see accurate and positive reflections of themselves in the world around them. We wanted to create a hero for multiracial kids to be proud of, and identify with.

2) Will any of Amy's friends have their own series in the future?

Actually, we were tossing around some ideas on perhaps spinning Cole and Rusty off into their own series in the future. We'll see. It all depends on how successful AMY HODGEPODGE becomes.

3) Tell us a little about the response you've received from readers

The response from readers has been just amazing! We're overwhelmed by the outpouring of enthusiasm and excitement about this ground-breaking book series. My husband and I have been visiting elementary schools reading Amy Hodgepodge and it's so rewarding to see how much the kids love this book series. We usually do a Q& A afterwards and the kids always come up with such insightful comments and interesting questions. The books are great educational tools because they not only teach children how to embrace diversity in themselves and in others, but open up dialogue around race, culture and the beauty of being part of a Hodgepodge nation.

4) Can you tell us a little about the illustrator?

Our illustrator, Soo Jeong, is a very talented, young Korean woman who we met through my brothers, Marlon and Shawn. We worked with her very closely on creating the images for the book series. She's awesome!

5) Anything else you'd like to share with Melting Pot Moms?

We have big plans for AMY HODGEPODGE. Eventually we'd like to do a cartoon and perhaps even an animated film--it's high time multiracial kids go mainstream! But first, we have to make the book series a smashing success, so tell everyone you know about these books and encourage teachers and educators to order them for their schools!

Stay tuned for an Amy Hodgepodge/contest give-away....coming soon!

7 comments:

suzee said...

These look like great books! I want to contact them to see about selling them on our site... Good find.

Anonymous said...

So cute! So glad to find these books. :-)

Anonymous said...

I love the fact that Multicultural/Multiethnic is so common now. I am glad that kids will be able to identify with the characters. I know that it makes such a big difference in their self esteem. Thanks for sharing such find!!!

The Kim Family said...

What a cute mix. Mine are Korean and white, but the white speaks Japanese. Would love for my girls to see more multicultural kid books.

Linda said...

I immediately liked the storyline and all of Amy's mulitcultural friends. What great exposure to the differences and similarities we all share, no matter how heterogenous or homogenous our family tree. Would love to win a book for my daughter.

Gina said...

Sounds like a great book. Please enter me in the contest. I can be reached at gchen@syracuse.com if I win.

Natasha said...

Great book idea, and no kidding that multiracial and multicultural kids have to go mainstream! Can't wait to order my copies of the rest of them for my two girls book collection!
My favorite joke on the Activities page is the one about all the uncles being ants. That's one I hadn't heard before and my two and a half year old understood it too.