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Join the Community?

Sometime last week, I started the process of trying to grow my Author Support Team (aka Author Street Team) by asking friends, family, and followers on social media to sign up for my mailing list.

This is a big step toward releasing a number of titles in the inclusive children’s picture book series I’ve been working on. I’d like to think I’ve given it the care and consideration it deserves, as a crucial part of spreading the word about this project. I did my research, set it up, and reached out to my people. And waited. I reached out some more. And waited. And waited some more. Then I stopped to assess.

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From Shawnta To Shawn And Back Again

I let my eighth grade English teacher call me Shannon for weeks. In fact, I can’t recall me being the one who finally corrected her. I don’t remember who it was, but I suppose I owe them a debt. I could’ve been Shannon the whole year, or at least about an hour each school day.

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More About Me, New Release Details, & Free Gift Deadline (Updates)

If you’ve spent any time poking around this site, you’ve already come across a few things about me. I thought, though, since we’re really just getting things going on here, a bit more backstory may be in order for those who aren’t aware of how I got to this point. On top of that I’ve got a few timely updates to get out, so I’ve included those at the end as well.

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What Could Be Missing From Your Diversity Toolkit For Kids

Since this country’s most recent renewed conversations about race, I’ve seen a surge of resources designed to help caregivers and educators of young children. Some are for helping white people with their understanding of the issues at hand; some are geared toward people of color. I’ve been excited to see many book lists for kids. Books about diversity, inclusion, history. Books with black and brown images and characters. Books about movements and leaders. These books are as wonderful as they are necessary. I hope they are added to homes and classrooms alike. And soon. I hope that one day, my own books will be among them.

These lists, these tools… They are great pieces of the puzzle that is talking to kids about race.

That said, there’s a big, broad topic that’s been missing in these discussions for me: Geography. I know it might seem strange, but geography literally opens a child’s mind to the world.

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You, Your Kids, and Racism

Knowing when is the right time to talk to your kids about racism can be just as hard as knowing what to say to them about it. For some of us, the conversations begin earlier, often out of necessity. If you are a person of color or you hold someone dear who is, racism is less of a concept and more just reality. Therefore, teaching your kids about it is as foundational as teaching letters and numbers. Simply put: It affects everything. It colors everything. It can be a part of every success, every challenge, every failure. It can lie behind the very motivation to get up and try again, and its constant pressure can just as easily be the weight that holds us down, keeps us back, pulls us behind.

Now, I am not expecting everyone to feel that way, and I certainly don’t expect everyone to understand. My point is that, for some of us, we’ve known about what our differences are since we could see, and we’ve understood what our differences can mean since we could speak. That’s already a long time to live with something that some of us will likely continue to process our entire lives.

So, I completely understand why some people are freaking out. I’m hoping I can help.

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