It’s been a long time since I’ve written about a Kickstarter project! Now, I want to disclose this before you read any further—I do know the author personally. While I’m going to do my best to discuss this campaign fairly, there is going to be a natural bias. I still think it’s worth sharing all the same. Valerie is someone I’m proud to have in my life and she has such a beautiful way in how she speaks with children.
While the discussions of race and inclusivity have been hot button topics for some time, I love when the conversation is packaged in a way that children can understand. Because loving yourself and growing a thick skin as you are exposed to the world is an essential skill in every child’s life.
My current career focuses heavily on women and children. I truly believe that equality can only come around when we prep every person, regardless of gender or race, for the ugliness that will cross their path. Although that can be painful, it’s so important that we come from a place of positivity and encouragement.
“The Joys of Being a Little Black Boy” is a vividly illustrated, history-based children’s book that brings to life Roy, a joyful Black boy. Roy will take your sons, daughters, nephews, nieces, class on a biopic journey of joy with some of the world’s most notable Black men – who, lest we forget – were all at one time young Black boys.”
Will you deny that seeing someone like you in a role of success make a dream seem that much more attainable?
I learned from a local Chicago business that “in 2014, only 5% of children’s books featured children of color“. It’s astounding when you think about it. I’m so glad more initiatives are receiving the financial support to change that fact. There should never be a limit in this genre. I will never stop enjoying the expansiveness that is being created for children.
When this project was brought to my attention, I couldn’t help but think of my brother. He’s a phenomenal man who is now a firefighter. I remember when we were kids and hanging out at the library with our mother. She did her best to expose us to all the authors she could. Knowledge was treated as the greatest power in our hand. I’m sure many of you had similar experiences with the important adults in your life.
My brother had a mix of role models, both for paths he should and should not go down—but there was someone there all the same. I’m forever grateful for those special friends of his that always had his back. They worked together to achieve their dreams—regardless of when the destination changed.
And then I think of the children that can’t say that. The children who don’t have that person in their mind as a compass for how high they can work towards. Who are repeatedly told “no” before the thoughts ever escaped their lips. You can’t. Why try? You aren’t good enough.
Because why would you reach for the stars if no one in your life has ever made it off the ground?
It’s a soreness in the soul…
This campaign kicks off today and the goal is a humble $7500. The money raised will help with printing so that it can put in public schools and retailers (brick and mortar as well as digital). As you read through the pledge levels, note the historical black men highlighted. And depending on what level you choose, your receiving a copy of the book yourself as well as providing an applicable amount to schools.
The project has been worked on for two years and will be fulfilled by September of this year. So no long wait for your rewards to arrive. I know the burn of funded campaigns that go silent or never reach fulfillment. Of course, I also adore the fact that this is based in Chicago (even if I’m a West Coast native).