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  • What is the book of Bandati about?

    In life, there are the “what if we did that…” challenges that remain in the realm of fantasy and those that become reality. On April 27, 2020, in the middle of the Indian lockdown, I told a friend, “Let’s write a children’s book about mixed families.”

    Now, you may think that writing a text of less than 1000 words isn’t a very big deal. Well, think again! (Especially when a friend suggests you write in rhyme, and especially when you’re going for a bilingual edition, since you are at it.) You may think that finding an illustrator can not be very difficult? Wrong! I haven’t found a person able to picture the right Bandati and wouldn’t cost me more than I would ever earn with this book. So guess what? Yes, I did the illustrations myself, even though I have never really held a pencil in my life... I’m not asking you if you think it’s easy to find a publisher. I tried a lot, hoping I could rely on the advice and reassurance of an expert! But I ended up going for self-publishing.

    But enough of me, me, me… Bandati is a book for children (3-7 years old) relating the adventures of Bandati whose parents come from different countries. It is largely inspired by my son and his French-Indian roots but I really wanted the book to work for as many mixed kids as possible so I have used animal characters. I hope it will help parents like me, help them explaining to their kids why there are so many languages ​around them, so many religions to observe, physical differences, and time difference to take into account to call the grandparents.


    Bandati_Cover EN V4.jpg

  • 2 million people get a mixed-marriage every year in the world

    multi-racial,multi-cultural,multi-origin,cross-bread,multi-heritage,families,chilren,cross-national marriagesIs a family necessary a father, a mother and their child(ren)? Of course not, even if some think it is, especially in the West, where this has been the traditional model for a very long time. The polygamist family is also a reality, and so is the “Indian extended family” with multiple generations and families living under one roof, with the grand-parents mostly raising the children, cousin kids calling each other brother-sisters. And how was the family structure 30 000 years ago? Should it matter? It actually might, since scientists are now saying that our current behavior is widely inherited from the time where our forefathers were hunter-gatherers. We continue eating like food is not going to be available at any point of time. And we continue being sexually tempted by other people, as we are not genetically programmed to stay with one partner our whole life – marriage and the family present structure and norms being undoubtedly cultural constructions. But I am becoming too philosophical.

    Even in the West, whether we like it or not, the concept of family has been growing to encompass more than the “traditional” concept, like families with a single parent, with same-gender parents, without children or adopted ones, with divorced parents who recompose their families.

    What about “mixed families”? The multi-racial families (with an American black mother and an American white dad for instance) are fairly well documented, and quite a contemporary topic (in the 2020s), especially in the US. 10.2% of American married-couple households were interracial or interethnic in 2012-2106 (vs 7.4% in 2000) (source). But in the United States, “mixed marriage” refers mainly to interracial or interfaith couples. Whereas some couples add one level of complexity beyond the race, when they come from different countries. More than ‘bi-racial, they are also ‘bi-national’ and ‘bi-cultural’. This how France defines “mixed couples”, who are “usually defined as combining national, cultural, racial or religious differences.” (source)

    It is statistically very difficult to count the number of “mixed couples”. Still, let’s have a look at marriage data in France. In 2005, 43,266 French-foreign unions were concluded, representing 15.3% of all the marriages celebrated in France that year (vs 12% in 2000). 55.6% of marriages were concluded by French men, and 44.4% by French women. 56.9% of the foreign spouses had arrived from the African continent, mostly from North-Africa (much more men than women) and 24.8% were European (source).

    So for the children of these 100,000 people who get mixed-married every year in France, and maybe 2 million people in the world*, I have written a book. To help parents discuss with their mixed kids the specificity of their families. Published soon!


    * Thanks to some ambitious extrapolations, let’s estimate the number of cross-national marriages world-wide every year:

    • 5 marriages per 1000 of population (the average in OCDE countries is 4.8 (source),
    • World population in 2019: 7.7 billions à 40 million marriages,
    • We remove 2/3rds of the marriages (for instance, in India, out of the yearly 10 million unions, the percentage of cross-national ones must be below 0.1%),
    • We take 7% of the rest, and we get 1 million mixed marriages.