So, a few months ago my husband took an illustration gig. That project is now published and it is a really good book for little black girls who need to remember that they are beautiful just the way they are. When he took the commission it was for a friend’s mother and at the time it seemed relatively unimportant since it was really being done as a favor. Fast forward to now when our nieces are hitting that age and we’re hearing them criticize their looks left and right and all of a sudden we’re looking for other books like this one and realizing that we can’t really find them. Oh, we’ve found a couple but for the most part despite all the talk about self-esteem in kids there’s not a lot addressing what it’s like for a child of color in a society that uses a beauty standard based in whiteness.
And although I admit I hope that a lot of you go buy this book, I’m also hoping that you’ll be inspired to create more books like this one. Because listening to little girls critique themselves on every level is awful. And they need to see images of WOC in the media that are positive and nurturing and beautiful. And it’s not enough to start that message when they are 7 or 8 (we thought it was) because society starts teaching them something else entirely right from birth. It’s not enough to have the token fairies of color (ala Disney) or the one black Princess (again Disney) we need to make the media reflect the world that we all live in.