By Cassandra Lane
Last month, we watched companies and influencers flood their websites and social media feeds with posts celebrating Black history and achievement — an annual flurry each February.
As a publication and team who loves our community, we delighted in sharing events, books and articles honoring Black History Month as well, but as we move on to uplift more national themes, we will continue to highlight diverse voices in all sectors of our community.
This short roundup of children’s literature spotlights a collection of beautiful books written by Jamia Wilson and illustrated by Andrea Pippins. With titles such as “Young, Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes From Past and Present” and “Big Ideas for Young Thinkers: 20 Questions About Life and the Universe,” these books stimulate the mind and imagination.
“Step Into Your Power: 23 Lessons on How to Live Your Best Life” will have kids and parents alike reciting its mantras — “speak truth to adults,” “own what you want.”
The baby/toddler version of “Young, Gifted and Black” is a board book called “Baby Young Gifted and Black,” and even comes with a mirror for babies to behold their greatness and potential. “There are so many things I am and can be!” Indeed.
Diversity in the inclusive community
The children-focused media company T.A.S.K. (The Amazingly Sensational Kids) was started by two parents whose mission is to support children with autism and spread awareness about the bullying of special needs children, especially for Black kids, through online/in-person events, books and advocacy.
Writers Tracy-Ann Samuels, who is also a social worker with an expertise in high-risk children, and Jamily Samuels, a professional writer who also works at Rikers Island Correctional Facility in the young adult facility, are parents to a thriving boy on the autism spectrum, Trey, who has mixed-expressive language disorder and was bullied in school.
The Amazing Adventures Amani books are inspired by Trey’s childhood. Black children are 5.1 times more likely to be misdiagnosed with behavior disorders before they are correctly diagnosed with autism than white children. Jamiyl and Tracy-Ann made it their mission to speak out about this issue that impacted their son personally.
One of those efforts was writing and publishing The Sensationally Super Sandy, which helps siblings understand how to react to a brother or sister who is on the spectrum, a storyline inspired by Trey’s sister Sandy.
You can see the authors’ award-winning books (published by Mascot Books) here, which also includes some of Jamiyl’s adult books on being a Black father and parenting.