My mission as an author is to mine the past for family stories, fading traditions, and forgotten struggles.
In most literature, the lives of the people that I knew did not exist. My mother, for instance, was nowhere in the literature, and she was all over my heart, so why shouldn’t she be in literature.
To me, reading is like breathing; both are essential to life.
It’s strange that we have a population of school children that is majority nonwhite but their books are majority white. We need heroes of color in all different genres. It’s also valuable for white readers to be able to meet people in books that are different than themselves. That can be a way of expanding their minds and experiences.
I think most authors would agree that making that connection with readers is paramount.
I read a lot, but books didn't really touch me, probably because there weren't a lot of books for or about young black children. That's not to say that blacks have to read 'black' books, but you do need to read something that really touches you to develop that love for books.
Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection, we can see our own lives and experiences as part of the larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of self-affirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books.
It's personal. When I draw a little child, he looks like I did.
It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.
When a child opens a book and sees a face that looks like them, they know that they matter.