I met Kevin Hofmann a few years ago when our school enlisted his support to open dialogue in our school community regarding diversity and inclusion. Kevin attended our district-wide opening day at the start of the year to equip our staff with the necessary tools to support our diverse population. As a district, we purchased his book, Growing up Black in White, for all staff members to read. Throughout the school year we held numerous book studies to deepen the conversation. Since that time we have invited Kevin back to talk with staff in a smaller group setting, and to sit on our diversity panel. Mr. Hofmann's perspective and knowledge has helped Perrysburg Schools to work through a conversation that is ever evolving.
What Hofmann does so well is tell his story. He simply tells his story, without activism or criticism or politics, and that's what I found so moving. He writes sincerely and humorously about the joys and challenges of his childhood, growing up, and his racially-mixed family. Other than demographic details, the chronicle of his personal evolution is thematically similar to that of Langston Hughes, William E.B. DuBois, and James Weldon Johnson. But Hofmann's story is uniquely accessible.
Growing Up Black in White is poignant, funny, and enlightening. Hofmann's decision to steep his story in the ordinary moments of life was inspired. His book pulses with an authenticity that will transport you back to your own childhood. If you spend any time at all there I trust you will see things you never saw before. Because as Hofmann shows, regardless of your skin color growing up is never simply black and white.
You draw people in. I know this because when you spoke to us in East Lansing, I invited adoptive parents who needed reaching and they responded to you. They and their children are reading your book together. Reaching these families potentially opens the door to further communication about race, culture and the adoptee experience, perhaps including the writings of other adoptees. I will continue to recommend your book as an important addition to the many great works by adult adoptees.
We sometimes learn more by the stepping into the lives of others than we would from direct advice. I believe many parents will take their first steps to being better parents by reading your book and recognizing what our children experience as minorities. I believe parents who may not have done so will finally take active measures to recognize their children’s race and culture and move into, and interact with, more diverse communities.
Black Children White Parents transracial group
I really appreciate you coming in and speaking with our class. Several students expressed to me that they found your visit very rewarding & enlightening, as did I. Also, I'm enjoying what I've read of your book thus far, and I'm going to request that the university's library get a copy.
Spring Arbor University
My name is Marcee and I'm a student at Lourdes University. I just wanted to say thank you for coming and speaking with our class last Wednesday. I also really enjoyed your book and am looking forward to your next one. I've passed it along to my daughter and told her what an enlightening read it is. It takes courage to make your personal life public but thank you for doing so. Understanding the world from another persons perspective is always an eye-opening experience and creates an opportunity to have a greater understanding of issues that affect the world around us. I've really appreciated all I've learned from this multi-cultural diversity class and reading your book was a wonderful supplement, as was the opportunity to meet you and have you answer our questions.
I finally had a chance to sit down and start reading your book last night. Stayed up very late, as I couldn't put it down. I have never read anything like it. I have read a LOT of books on transracial adoption, but nothing like this. You have a gift of communicating your feelings, and your transparency has helped my husband and I to make a very important decision regarding our future.
Thank you so much for allowing people like us to look into your heart and soul through your experiences. What you have shared will change our kids' lives. Your examples and wisdom are invaluable to us at this time in our lives. You unselfishly shared things that many people would rather keep inside. Thank you seems 'weak' but it is all we have.