Of course, it’s obvious that children don’t see the world the way adults do. While a parent might think the idea of the Tooth Fairy is whimsical and fun, a child might feel suspicious or downright terrified by the idea of a strange person entering their bedroom and collecting their teeth from under their pillow.
The way a child sees Santa Claus in books, movies, and at shopping centers or holiday parties can also impact them in ways adults might not fully understand or appreciate.
Just as it is important for children to see and read books about characters who look like them, it is also important for children to see all manner of other people in their daily lives who look like them, from teachers to doctors to the mall Santa Claus.
While the Santas we often see in shopping malls look like they spent their lives in Scandinavia, the truth it that the real St. Nick had a darker complexion. Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, was born in the fourth century in Patara, which is now part of Turkey.
In fact, Black Santas have had an important place in US history, including when Bill “Bojangles” Robinson became the first Black Santa in 1936 in Harlem, NY.
Despite this history, it isn’t easy to find Black Santas in children’s picture books. You might be lucky to find 25 books in a search on Amazon, while a similar search of white Santas would show hundreds and hundreds of books.
It is for this reason that author Deedee Cummings wrote and published In the Nick of Time Too. She wanted to add to the small, but growing, collection of books that feature a Black Santa who children of any race and background can love and look up to because Santa is all about giving and love. And those are two values that go beyond the color of one’s skin.