The Trouble with Dilly… and the rest of us

I think very little about my kids being brown, except when the cashier at the grocery store checks through my husband, my sister-in-law, and my children, and then asks if she can help me, separately. Or when my kids say their friends couldn’t believe they would actually eat cold fried rice and dried fish for lunch. Or when my daughter’s new friend looks at me and says, “THAT’s your mom? Are you ‘dopted?”

Really, I’ve only been mistaken for the babysitter a handful of times and I have to admit, my children look nothing like me. I have all recessive genes.

But when my daughter reads The Trouble with Dilly, by Rachna Gilmore, and says it’s the best, best, best book she’s ever, ever read, and then I read the first few pages and learn about the samosa shop, I have to wonder… is it fair that 99% of the books my daughter reads feature milky-white protagonists? At most, there’s a token brown-skinned sidekick.

I’m as at-fault for this as anyone. I don’t have any Burmese girl main characters to my name. It’s a sad state of affairs. After scanning through the Paper Tigers website yesterday, I’ve resolved to start stocking the house with more multiculturalism.

As for The Trouble with Dilly, it’s well worth a read no matter what shade your kids are. It’s a lovely book, in any colour.

2 thoughts on “The Trouble with Dilly… and the rest of us

  1. Say what you will about the fairies…and we’ve said plenty, at least some were multi-cultural. Still no personalities, but multi-coloured.

    There’s a series of books about Ruby Lu, an 8-year old asian-american girl in Seattle, that Fiona found quite relatable – did your daughter ever see those?

  2. Oooh… I have to look for those ones. (Ruby Lu, not the fairies!!)

    She did really like Millicent Min, Girl Genius, by Lisa Yee.

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