The 13-member children’s choir group Rhymers are Readers meets at the Woodlawn-Faith Methodist Church in Alexandria, VA, and promotes book reading with ethnic-conscious stories and material. The group comprises black/African-American children, led by 7-year-old Havana, who has raised over $6000 thus far for her cause of educating black children of poor families in the community through book reading.
The books selected for reading by the group and donated to community are those portraying positive, strong black characters and narratives that improve self-esteem of ethnic African-American children.
To help Havana with her cause, the Loving Healing Press is donating 25 copies of its new book I’m Mixed! by author Maggy Williams and illustrator Elizabeth Agresta to Rhymers are Readers. The book tells the story of a young biracial girl accepting her mixed heritage, and conveying a lesson in acceptance, inclusion, and self-awareness.
“The book is about a biracial girl who celebrates both her African American and Caucasian heritage. Its message embraces all races and is meant to be unifying and inclusive,” says author Maggy Williams.
Although the Loving Healing Press has had minority protagonists prominently in children’s books, such as Reena’s Bollywood Dream by the late Jewel Kats, and Rani in Search of a Rainbow by Shaila Abdullah, this is the first children’s book by this press that takes the question of race and identity head on.
Publisher Victor Volkman at the press tells it was through helping author Sherry Quan Lee recently produce How Dare We! Write: A Multicultural Creatve Writing Discourse that opened his eyes to this discussion.
“It is my greatest hope that this book can open the door to a frank and open conversation with young people of all ethnicities,” says Volkman.