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A Mother and Son Help Black and Brown Kids See Themselves in Books While Promoting Kindness

Marsha Guerrier, 47, is a book lover who wrote “Just as I Am Kindness” with her 6-year-old son Joshua Guerrier amid the pandemic, according to The Amsterdam News. Guerrier is a New Yorker who previously published a book about her own life and experiences called “Life Balance for Women on the Rise.”

The business leader started a nonprofit, Yva Jourdan Foundation, to give back to her local community. The Just As I Am Reading Program underscores inclusion and embracing youth with various special needs.

“We started with the nonprofit giving out books about kindness, so I would read and hand out books to classrooms in the Nassau area. Then it dawned on me that most of the books that we were handing out were predominantly Caucasian families and kids and I really wanted to have stories that represent not only myself but the kids in the underrepresented communities through my program,” Marsha told The Amsterdam News.

Guerrier shared that Joshua expressed interest in co-authoring “Just as I Am Kindness.” And now, she hopes that their book will encourage friendliness in children who do not look like each other.

 

The 32-page book strives to help remind others to integrate kindness on a daily basis.

“The book is about prompting people to have a conversation about kindness and anti-bullying,” Guerrier explained in a press release, “while making sure kids at the elementary-school-age are well equipped to support one another.”

The author mentioned that many youths are not taught ways to display kindness or accept people who are different. Her point about kids learning the value of kindness dovetails with a study presented by PLOS ONE. Their study found that doing good deeds regularly—which is a form of exhibiting prosocial activities— contributes to happiness and being well-liked, even in classrooms.

“Similar to being happy, being well-liked by classmates has ramifications not only for the individual but also for the community at large. For example, well-liked preadolescents exhibit more inclusive behaviors and less externalizing behaviors (i.e., less bullying) as teens,” the study found.

And when it comes to Black and brown kids seeing themselves in literature, identifying with the characters does matter. Scholastic noted that is important for children to see themselves represented in literature because it links to identity, cultural insight, and connection with self. The demand for diverse titles is rising. Scholastic also said that 47% of parents desire literature that features books with people of color, according to their findings from their “6th Edition Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report.”

 

Facebook image- Marsha Guerrier

 

Learn more about “Just as I Am Kindness” by clicking here.

 




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