And yet still... #JUST-US
As a School Counselor, I often work with students with disabilities. The disabilities can often warrant accommodations within the school environment for the student(s). Reading about the untimely death of Elijah McClain, just made me weep in a way that came from my soul... fast-forward to being F2F (this is our abbreviation for Face-to-Face) with students in the school system. I have been conflicted with trying to find a way to continuously educate those in learning how to be valuable assets and not liabilities. Differences does not mean you mean to be diminished, destroyed or destructible... but maybe we can find a way to embrace one another's uniqueness.
Illustrator: @miruniskaya (www.miruniskaya.com)
On a car ride on the way home...
KC1: Can we listen to that song with Keys to the Kingdom as the words?
Me: Sure, that's Beyonce.
KC2: what about that song saying black skin girl
Me: You mean Brown Skin Girl?
KC2: Well yes. I didn't know the name but I like the song mommy because you are a #brownskingirl
Me: Yes, momma is!
Three books during COVID-19.
Listed below are three books about African American children who have evoked a change in taboo conversations. Remember those "we don't talk about that" moments... well KABOOM! Look who stepped in the room, in my mighty ODB voice! I have found that if you have those open-ended conversations with your child, you avoid them being such open vessels to the world. Now, the keyword is "open-ended" and active communication. This cannot be a one way conversations. Carrying this torch to unveil prematurely my future "BEST SELLING AUTHOR" title in the near future. (Alexa, play the Rocky theme song)
It has only been seven months since we published and launched "Ryder the Biter" with Isabella Media. Since its release we have celebrated more than 200+ copies sold as PREORDERS (somebody sound the alarm). Since the release of RYDER, I have had several people reach out to ask about the start of the process to becoming an author. One of he most common questions I'm regularly asked is, "How do you start?" or "What do I do first as wanting to become an author?" The follow up statement is normally the response of being nervous, never enough time, or having this dream to publish a book for years. Best advice I can share is to START. People are hyper-focused on what people will say, think or whether family will support their project. I'm going to make this easy for you. Ask yourself, "Will their opinions make or break my book" and "What if this is a gift to the world?" Again, START. It is totally your choice to self-publish and/or solicit the assistance of a publisher. One of my little secret weapons are the following two items:
Pencil and Pen
I know... you're asking... a bubble chart?! Yep! #bubblechart
Shouting "To Be Young Gifted and Black"... Alexa play Donny Hathaway
Drum roll please... meet our future characters: Noah (November 2020), Angelica, and DeNile.
Of course November 2020, we will unveil "And You, Noah." Are you, like me looking for ways to engage your African American sons in positive conversations concerning their contribution to the world? Or exploring the possibility of college? Family life? Or even allowing your child to dream with your support? We collectively need to water, nurture, water and sometimes even reposition our children to continue to inspire them as they dare to aspire. It is my hope that my books will allow us to discover there is greatness in the world and good news carries more weight.
Spoiler Alert: Ryder the Biter will have a follow up, therefore making Ryder a books series written to help with those elementary school students with social and emotional deficiencies. Teaching your child to bite or for you, as the adult to bite the child in response to them biting is definitely not the way to go moving forward.
"Teeth are not for biting,"- excerpt from Ryder the Biter
COVID-19 in 2020 has been revolutionary while being televised... waiting and watching verdicts, or lack of verdicts, indictments, increasing awareness of hashtags followed by names, injustices, reform, and loss of loved ones from CoronaVirus... it has been exhausting.