Garcelle Beauvais, the beautiful Haitian-born actress who we’ve come to know on big and small screens alike, is coming out with her first children’s book next week called I Am Mixed, which draws on her own experience as a mother of mixed-race children. The kids’ book is the first in line of a larger series called I Am. The next little page-turners on deck will be I Am Living In Two Homes about children of divorced parents and I Am Adopted.
“I Am Mixed is an invaluable teaching tool that all children from all races can learn from,” says Halle Berry, who wrote the foreword.
We caught up with the actress to talk about her thoughts on diversity and how she’s grown as a mother.
Elizabeth Street: What was your ultimate goal in writing I Am Mixed?
Garcelle Beauvais: It was an opportunity to help my children understand what makes them special, to know their heritage and learn self-acceptance. I really hope it will start conversations for other families as well.
ES: When you arrived in the U.S. as a child, did you feel different than the other kids?
GB: When I came here, we moved to Massachusetts and I didn’t speak English. When I went to school, I was the only black child, and the kids would touch my skin and feel my hair because they hadn’t seen someone like me. I never thought of myself as different until then. I learned to be more accepting of others because of my experience.
ES: What values do you try to instill in your own children when it comes to diversity?
GB: I want my children to have compassion for all human beings regardless of race, age, or any other differences. Having respect is a big part of what I want to instill in them. And most importantly, I want them to be proud of what makes them who they are!
ES: Your eldest child is quite a bit older than your little ones. What have you learned as a mother during this gap and how are you a different parent now?
GB: Where do I begin?! I’ve learned a lot since having Oliver, and now Jax and Jaid. I would say I’m more patient this time around, and I try not to spoil them with material things. We talk about money now. I never really did that with Oliver.
ES: You’re a busy mom. What are your favorite activities to do with your kids in your spare time?
GB: My favorite activities with the boys are going to the beach, bowling, swimming in our pool, or snuggling in the morning when they hop in bed with me.