Chapter 4: Families—The Importance of Relatives § 75
Families and Self-Awareness
Less Than Half, More Than Whole,
by Kathleen and Michael Lacapa
Many of the children that we teach today come
from families of more than one race or culture.
Census figures suggest that this will increasingly
be the case. Sometimes children who are biracial
or multiracial feel left out or rejected by other
children. They may think that they don’t fit into
either culture. Less Than Half, More Than Whole, by
authors Kathleen Lacapa (Irish, English, and
Mohawk) and Michael Lacapa (Apache, Hopi,
and Tewa) deals with this issue in a sensitive way through the loving
intervention of a child’s grandfather. The story begins with three friends
looking at their reflections in a lake. The boys notice that one is blond with
light-colored skin, another has brown skin and black hair, and the third,
Tony, is somewhere in between. “You’re not like me,” his friend Will tells him.
“I’m all Indian. I think you’re only half, or less than half.” This comment
causes Tony to question who he really is. He is helped by his grandfather, who
shows him photographs of all the members of their extended family and
points out how different and special each one is. The illustrations in Less
Than Half, More Than Wholeare filled with beautiful colors and Native imagery.
Southwestern Native culture is accurately depicted throughout the book.
The authors, who represent mixed Native and Anglo heritage themselves,
work with children in and around the White Mountain Apache Reservation.
Literature—Books about Families
Less Than Half, More Than Wholeexplores the emotions of a child who is of
mixed Native American and Caucasian descent. Other books show a variety
of types of families. A notable example isFoster Baby, written and illustrated
by Rhian Brynjolson, which sensitively describes a Native American baby in a
loving Native foster home. Teachers may wish to introduce books from the
selection listed below to help children understand similarities and differences