Although the United States inaugurated its first, award-winning journalist and author Bettinita Harris says too many black girls like her are still growing up feeling neglected. This led her to create a series of children’s books inspiring young African American girls to explore their racial identity, develop a strong self-image – and be exactly who they want to be.
Harris’ multimedia company Colored Girl Wisdom, LLC has published three books in the “Sisters for Life, Best Friends Forever” series. All three books – “Aria’s Rockin ‘Poufs”, “Aria’s Crown” and “I Am Aria” – tell a story of empowerment and encouragement from the perspective of a grandmother having a conversation with her young grandmother. girl, Aria.
Harris says she hopes her books inspire young girls around the world to understand, sooner than she has, that what matters isn’t right, but to have the courage to create your own unique identity. .
“What I’m trying to do with the book is tell young black girls that they are enough. That they don’t have to integrate. They don’t have to be like everyone else. What they have is enough, ”Harris told CBSN in an interview Wednesday.
Aria’s “Rockin ‘Poufs, ” The latest book in the series illustrates Aria’s journey in recognizing that kissing her natural hair unlocks her self-confidence and that she doesn’t have to change her appearance to be accepted.
“Hair, especially for African American girls and women, is very important. We are the only race where our hair can make a political statement,” Harris said. “I want my granddaughters to kiss their hair, because once you start changing things to try and fit in, that’s an enemy thing. You change that and you change that and the next thing you know, you’re not yourself. they must understand that their authenticity is their superpower. “
Harris, who has worked in journalism for more than 20 years, said she has always been drawn to stories that upset the status quo and give a voice to those who don’t. The themes of each book in the “Sisters for Life, Best Friends Forever” series reflect Harris’s interest in stories that challenge societal preconceptions.
“I don’t want my granddaughters to live in a world where they sit down and people tell them, ‘You are this, you are that.’ I want them to live in a world where they say, “I am. I am strong. I am smart. I can do this.” “
Harris also noted that while she understands the popularity of terms like “Black Girl Magic” and “Black Excellence”, she always reminds her granddaughters that “excellence has no color.”
“They are talented. They are gifted. They work hard. They took every opportunity that was presented to them and the magic has nothing to do with it,” she said.