Film, television and broadway actor Taye Diggs attended the Texas Book Festival held this past weekend to promote the publication of his new book, “Mixed Me.” In the House Chamber of the Texas Capitol, he and the book’s illustrator Shane Evans read the book and later held an open question and answer session with the audience.
By Gabrielle Hernandez
As a first time visitor to Austin, he says what he appreciated most was seeing the effect his book has had. “It is always special because you can actually see face to face the people that the book is written for and how it has affected them,” Diggs says.
Evans and Diggs share a bond closer than simply working on these books together. The two are actually cousins and best friends. In college, the pair would experiment with poetry. It was then Diggs says he wrote a poem called “Chocolate Me” about his experiences as a young black boy living in a predominately white suburb. Evans later thought the poem would be a great children’s book.
Diggs says after their first book “Chocolate Me!” was published in 2011, he “caught the bug” and along came “Mixed Me!” The pair’s second book is about a boy named Mike and his experiences as a mixed-race child.
Diggs says he is working with several ideas for future projects right now. He hopes to cover a variety of issues that children may face. Two are already written, but the status of their publication is still undetermined. Diggs says one deals with bullying and “standing up for oneself and standing up for others.” The other, he says, is about the love he has for his son, titled “I Love You More Than.”
Diggs’ relationship with his 6-year-old son plays an important role in his writing. He says he wanted to write specifically for his son “so that in any point in his life he did come across any questions, inquiries, or difficulties that he would have words specifically from me helping him out.”
The second book has an important connection to his son because he is mixed-race. Diggs says he wants to let his son know that, “It’s okay to be exactly who he is and that he needs to be proud and love himself.”
Even though his particular style of writing is meant for children, Diggs says that he could relate to it as a parent. Young children might not understand the importance of the issues covered in the book, but he said he hopes that the book will impact adults and children alike.