More Than Peach: A Reflective Book Review

As a Black and biracial person, I was thrilled when Mya Jayn, my mixed-race daughter, was gifted a copy of More Than Peach by Bellen Woodard to add to her library. I’m excited to share what I learned as I read this book to MJ.

More Than Peach is a story written by a child about her experiences in elementary school. Coloring is a big part of elementary education, and while working with her white classmates on a project, Bellen, a Black girl, is asked, “Does anyone have the skin-color crayon?”

Though I am Black, my mind immediately equates “the skin color crayon” with the peach crayon. That was just how it was when I was coming up in the 90s and early 2000s.

In fact, for many years, the peach crayon was named “flesh.” Why? Well… Eurocentrism and white supremacy, of course. Kinda like how, for the longest time, Band-Aids were either clear or nude (caucasian).

When her classmate asked for the skin-color crayon, Bellen noticed how her friend’s description didn’t seem to bother her teacher or her peers.

But it bothered Bellen.

Disturbed by this unspoken rule, Bellen goes home and laments to her mom about what went down at school.

“Well, our skin color is brown. So next time, why not just hand over the brown crayon instead?”, her mother suggests. This idea makes sense to Bellen, but she’s an innovative young person who comes up with a better solution that starts a movement!

“No, Mom. Instead, I’ll ask what color they want […] because [skin] can be any number of beautiful colors.” She doesn’t just want to change how her friends look at skin color; she wants to change the status quo that she, I, and many of you grew up with. This young girl wants to change the language we use when referring to diversity.

When she gets to class and folx ask for the skin-color crayon, she returns their questions with an inquiry for clarification. It’s brilliant, and I was smiling from ear to ear as I read this to my daughter.

Bellen’s white teacher picks up what she’s putting down and encourages the rest of the class to be more specific when selecting colors to portray people. Bellen and her classmates then spread this message to other students in the school, and the principal suggests sharing this movement with other schools. This leads to flyers, community involvement, and ultimately, Bellen traveling the world to share her message about More Than Peach.

Other things I love about this book

  • There’s a representation of a healthy, Black family.
  • Myriad natural Black hairstyles are represented in the illustrations by Fanny Liam, including Afros, high tops, and locs.
    • In the scene where Bellen talks to her mom after school, you can see Mom carefully combing Bellen’s coily Afro. MJ’s hair morphs between tight curls and a big Afro, depending on the day, and combing it takes WORK. So, seeing this hair type in her book is a beautiful sight, as my Afro was treated as a nuisance when I was growing up. Here’s to breaking down Black hair stigma!
  • The back of the book includes a wealth of information about Bellen’s activism and provides tips on how readers can take the lessons from the book to make a difference in their classrooms and communities.
  • Bellen came out with her own line of More Than Peach products that include a broad spectrum of skin-colored crayons and colored pencils. I plan to buy some for MJ once she’s older and becomes more gentle with her art supplies, haha!


I loved reading More Than Peach to Mya Jayn and highly recommend it to parents, teachers, and anyone with a young person in their life.

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