I had the pleasure of interviewing Robyn Abdusamad author of You Are Beautiful set to release November 28th! This is an amazing book discussing topics that we should not be afraid to discuss with children. Learn more about Robyn and her book You Are Beautiful in this awesome interview below!
My new book, You Are Beautiful is about two sisters who have their first encounter with a racial comment and are saddened by what they hear. It is a heartfelt and inspirational lesson that provides a solution to embracing diversity with knowledge and kindness.
What prompted you to address racism and other bias in a children's book?Well, the reality is that we live in a society where race is often a silent backdrop for a person’s bias, which ultimately becomes a determining factor for many things. However, children are brought into the world without biases or prejudices. Yet along the path to adulthood many children adopt values and beliefs from the friends and adults in their life. When we teach tolerance, diversity, and multiculturalism, it helps children broaden their awareness and acceptance which is what prompted me to address racism in a children’s book. Learning and respecting diversity helps create a more harmonious world for everyone.
Why did you become a children's author?I have always had a love for writing. My children and experience working in the school system inspired me to become a children’s author because I saw the need for more books to address the importance of diversity and multiculturalism.
What message do you want children to take away after reading You Are Beautiful?The message I would like for children to take away from YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL is that despite the outside differences, people are often similar on the inside. After reading my book, every child should understand that their skin color is unique and beautiful.
What message do you want adults to take away after reading your book?The message I would like for adults to take away from the book is the importance to have that conversation with their children about race and any other form of bias they might encounter away from home. I am sure the conversation will be uncomfortable for some, but I would like for my book to be an introduction to that conversation.
What types of conversation do you think your book will ignite?I hope this book will serve as a platform for our youth as well as adults to learn and understand that labels can influence our judgment about people; it is essential to recognize the importance of getting to know people before making any type of judgment about them.
How important is it to incorporate multicultural texts in the classroom?It is very important to incorporate multicultural texts and activities in the classroom because we live in a society that is made up of different religions, ethnicities and cultures. So, if there is an emphasis of multicultural activities across the curriculum this would help improve positive socialization behaviors among children and perhaps adults too.
Your book is asking its readers to think about identity. How important is it for African American children (or any other ethnic group) to see themselves in picture books?Books are mirrors in which children see themselves emulated. When children are represented in literature and other media, they start to see themselves as valuable and worthy of notice. Conversely when children do not see truthful representations of themselves, they may internalize the message that they are not worthy of notice. Therefore, it is very important for children of minority groups to see themselves in picture books and it is also important for children regardless of race to read books about people in all parts of the world. This will assist in fostering their understanding and respect for their own and others' cultural groups; it will help them to see themselves as members of the global community and it will supports the lifelong process of learning about multiple perspectives and experiences.
Do you have any advice for educators on how to use your book in the classroom?Absolutely, educators can use my book in their classroom as an introduction to teaching diversity and multiculturalism to their students. Also, I have activities on my website that they can print and use for their class at www.robynabdusamad.com.
Do you have any advice for parents on how to use your book in the home?Sure. Parents can also use the book as a learning tool to help them discuss importance of racism, diversity and multiculturalism. As I mentioned before, it may be uncomfortable for some parents but it will be infinitely rewarding to speak openly and honestly with them on the matter. They, too, can use the activities on my website.
How can people reach you for author visits or questions?People may reach me for author visits or questions by emailing Omera Productions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Anything else you want to say?Yes, I would like to add that “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL” is a book that provides a meaningful lesson about ethnic diversity and the importance of compassion and unity. My book is scheduled to be released on November 28th on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle format, but people may pre-order a copy of the book now through my publisher at www.mindworksbooks.com. Those who pre-order will receive an autograph copy of the book.