AS A LITTLE BOY
Growing up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, I was self-aware of race and its role in society. As a little boy, it was one of those places where young Black children were often made aware of their race and the disadvantages it brings. I didn't care much for reading traditional storybooks, but I loved creating my own stories with me as the lead character. However, I found it difficult to relate to the lead characters because none of them were children of color.
My favorite book was "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." I clearly remember reading the book and trying to apply it to my life. As I read every page, I would make mental edits to make it more relatable. It wasn't the book itself I was drawn to, but what it represented. Alexander was a young boy like myself, but I had nothing in common with him and his life aside from having my share of bad days. He had various options of cereal to complain about. I only had one–the "no frills" store brand. He complained about the lunch his mother packed. I only had the free school lunch to eat. He complained about the white sneakers he had to settle for, whereas I celebrated every pair my mother ever purchased for me. Even the knockoff ones. Just wear baggy enough jeans to cover the tongue and it was all good.
I may not have realized it fully then, but I was definitely looking to see myself in the stories I read.
TO A DAD
It wasn't until I became a Dad myself that I realized I had the passion for creating a different experience for my son than what I had. I discovered that I had a chance to make a positive impact on a child's life by writing my stories with Black lead characters. I wanted my son's imagination to wander when he looked at storybooks. I wanted him to imagine himself flying an airplane with clouds as friends or swimming with dolphins off a tropical island. I knew if my son could believe he had no limits for his dreams, he would have a better life.
TO YOU, THE READER
My goal is for you to experience the joy of reading my storybooks to your little loved ones. If I have struck a chord within your heart, please share my books and website with other parents and Caretakers of Black children.
Together, we will create a new generation of children filled with endless aspirations, imagination, and belief in themselves.