While we are sharing books ABOUT people of color, I also think it’s important to share books BY people of color and celebrate their creative contributions to the world.
I’ve chosen to spotlight a few empowered black female authors with books I enjoy and think you will find helpful as you raise children and aim to lead positive lives. First up, here are two children’s books that I’ve recently read to my kids.
#Strong Kids by Jennifer Keitt and Naomi Keitt
This practical, colorful, and fun book will help children ages 3-6 learn the social and emotional skills involved in understanding their thoughts and feelings. #StrongKids will help children take back their power in order to “turn things around” when their thoughts bring them down.
Get it at www.strongkids.me
Jennifer is sharing tips on how families can handle racism:
1. Acknowledge what you are feeling first as a parent. Know what you are feeling and why you feel the way you do. Be clear on the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing and what those thoughts and feelings mean to you.
2. Then have age-appropriate conversations with your children about what they are feeling and thinking. If they are very young, they can still pick up on the feelings of others. Children as young as 2 experience complex and deep emotions such as empathy or frustration. They just can’t express it. By asking kids what are they thinking and feeling, parents help them build a thought and emotion framework that will give them the tools they need for a lifetime.
3. Create a family plan on how you will handle issues of race and ethnicity in your home. Engage the help of your children so they can play a part in changing the trajectory of how race is handled and discussed in this country.
4. Do daily emotion check-ins with your children, especially now with the news changing moment by moment. And if you decide to take them to protests be sure to ask them how they are feeling and processing what they are experiencing often.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Jennifer Keitt is a 30+ year media veteran and is widely known as one of the most passionate, engaging, and powerful voices on the airwaves. Since 1991, Jennifer has reached millions of listeners daily through various on-air experiences on the radio. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism and a Master of Arts in Practical Theology. Jennifer is a certified Human Behavior Consultant, an Executive Life Coach, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education with a concentration in Education Psychology. Based in Atlanta, she currently lives happily as an empty nester with her husband Tony.
Naomi Keitt has spent the last 7 years anchoring and reporting the news across the country. She knew from an early age that she wanted to be a reporter, spending time in high school editing the school newspaper and graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in Digital and Broadcast Journalism. Naomi has spent the last 5 years anchoring and reporting in Tulsa, OK. In her free time, she loves reading, hanging out with friends, shopping, volunteering with children, and getting to know new people.
#StrongKids is available at www.strongkids.me and through other online retailers.
Showdown At High Moon: Queen Takes a Stand by Terah Boyd
Terah Boyd began losing her mind when out of the blue, her two-year-old daughter began having serious anxiety at bedtime. Forcing her to comply quickly turned to misery. After a year of struggle, Boyd slowed down, took a look at herself, and found the answers. Now, she’s sharing her lessons with parents and children—particularly those in the Autism community—through her new book, Showdown At High Moon: Queen Takes a Stand.
“Society has created such a high standard and most parents feel pressured to adhere,” says Boyd. “We are always rushing to keep up and stay on point, so we appear to be the perfect family. Oftentimes when we feel stressed, we go on autopilot as a coping mechanism. But when parents zone out, we can miss glaring or subtle signs that something is amiss with our kids. They may need extra attention or they may be missing milestones and need professional help.”
By slowing down and really paying attention to her daughter, setting her own standard and ignoring critics, and entering a guilt-free zone, Boyd was able to connect with her daughter (who was diagnosed with Autism and being neuro-diverse) and set them both on a path for happier, healthier lives.
“One night in the middle of a melt-down I just started singing to her,” says Boyd. “I made up a lullaby right there on the spot. She responded really well to it. We started singing it together every night. She would even sing it sometimes during the day. I could see it was calming to her. It was something to hold on to. I don’t think she felt she had that before. We need to encourage our children to be confident and talk to their parents about their fears.”
That lullaby is part of Showdown At High Moon, and also recorded as a song so parents and children can use it as a comforting tool alongside this endearing story.