The advice Mariah Carey would give her 12-year-old self is as follows: Don't Trim Your Brows

In her new children's book, The Christmas Princess, Mariah Cary outlines some of the difficult

but ultimately rewarding life lessons she encountered when she was 12 years old.

The singer, 52, talks exclusively to PEOPLE about growing up in a small village on Long Island in New York with her White mother and Black father.

"That's when I knew I was absolutely 'different,'" she says.

Though being a chameleon would have been awesome,

she says, "I didn't have the equipment for it, which means we didn't have money."

For individuals in the white communities where we resided, it was evident that I was mixed with something,

Carey says, adding that her family frequently moved.

For more information.