if you looked at me, you would not know...that for most of my young years, people could not figure what group I belonged in. I only spoke Spanish and had messy curly, nappy hair because my beautiful Dominican mother who had straight black hair did not know how to comb it. I wore pants under my dresses, because she did not know how to dress me as an American. My little brother strangely had blond hair and white skin. I loved him with all my heart.
We were so poor we could only afford clothes from the second hand store, which never fit me right, nor matched enough to be acceptable in the eyes of my school mates. I was bullied and shunned, and spent many lunch periods and recesses inside with my teacher, who loved me and helped me make it through a very difficult time.
As an adult, i gave birth to four beautiful mixed race children. I was determined to give them the self-esteem they needed to cope with an often mean and unfair world. "If You Looked At Me" is the book I wished I had when my children were growing up. Thank goodness, it will be here to help my granddaughter see her beauty and the beauty that exists in her friends.
- Janny Castillo
"I'm the little girl in the blue dress."
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