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Colin Kaepernick’s New Kids’ Book Teaches It’s Normal to Be Different

“The part that I love about being different is you don't feel like you're a replica. I get to be unique. I get to be my full self and… I get to just be free in that sense.”
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profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Published
April 5, 2022
colin kaepernick interacting with fans during spring football game in michigan
Image: Jaime Crawford/Getty Images
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Colin Kaepernick—previously a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers—garnered national attention in recent years for his protests on police brutality and racial inequality in America. In 2019 he also founded Kaepernick Publishing and signed a multi-book deal with Scholastic. Now he’s coming out with his first children’s book—and he hopes it teaches kids to embrace who they are.

The book is based around a pivotal moment in Kaepernick’s own lift at 5 years old. In Kindergarten, his teacher asked him to draw his family. Kaepernick—who is Black and was adopted into a white family—chose yellow for his family members and brown for himself. Kaepernick describes this moment as a pivotal moment in shaping his self-identity and is the basis of his new book I Color Myself Different.

Image: Courtesy Kaepernick Publishing

“What I realized in drawing my family was that in my entire class, I was the only one who didn’t look like the rest of my family," Kaepernick told NPR. “It’s the first documented instance that I have in my life of definitively identifying as brown…and laying the foundation for my identity as Black.”

In I Color Myself Different, a young boy named Colin thinks it’s cool that he doesn’t look like everyone else. But when he’s asked to complete the assignment, he’s peppered with questions from his classmates. They ask him things like “Why are you the only brown one in your family?” and “Why did you color yourself different?”

With the book, he hopes to teach young children that it’s cool—and, more importantly, normal—to be different. “Growing up in a white town and white population or white spaces, you’re constantly the fly in the buttermilk,” he told the outlet. “And it was actually one of the things we went back and forth on…how do we address the fact that I’m adopted and different in my family, but also making sure that we’re not positioning Black as different, or brown as different.”

I Color Myself Different is an expression of Kaepernick’s own life and he hopes it includes a message young kids can take away with them. “I love the fact that we have an anthem in there or a hook. Because it feels like something that young kids can walk away with and can use,” he said. “The part that I love about being different is you don’t feel like you’re a replica. I get to be unique. I get to be my full self and… I get to just be free in that sense.”

The book is now available to order at Amazon.com.

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