I was inspired to write my new book, I am Wonderfully Made by an excerpt from Psalms 139:14, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. The main character Nia shares everything that she loves about herself from her head to her feet, inside and out.
The story focuses on helping children learn to love themselves unconditionally and to embrace the unique individuals that they are. Building confidence and self-esteem starts at a young age, and I want this book to be used as a tool to support that. Every child has her and his own gifts, talents, and strengths. The positive images and affirmations on each page were designed to help foster confidence, and my desire is that each child who reads it will see that everything about them is beautiful and wonderful.”
When I was in junior high school, my seventh grade English teacher gave us homework to write poetry and recite it to the class. I was excited about this assignment because of my love for creative writing, and affinity for poetry. What should have been a fun experience turned into an encounter that I have never forgotten. The teacher accused me of plagiarism and refused to believe that what I had written was my original work. She kept me after class and demanded that I write poems on different topics of her choosing. She asked me to write a poem about the Sun, and I did just that in less than five minutes. She read it in disbelief and then demanded that I write a poem about the Moon, and another about the Ocean. I wrote both again very quickly, but she just couldn’t wrap her mind around my ability to write beautiful rhyming prose. This teacher took what could have been an opportunity to encourage my talent and chose to try and diminish my abilities. If it were not for my loving parents and the nurturing environment that I was raised in, that encounter could have rocked my foundation, but my foundation was solid. I remember thinking that when I grew up, I would strive to build children up, not undercut them in the time of their lives where they needed positive influences the most.
That moment shaped how I interact with children and the stories that I write for and about them. Instilling great self-esteem in children starts early in their lives, and as adults we have the power to nurture greatness in them by establishing an unshakeable foundation. Our words are powerful, and they can speak discouragement or encouragement. I choose the latter.