A Doc McStuffins doll seemed like the perfect gift. She’s African-American and female. She provides for us an abundance of teaching moments.
And so you might understand why Munson Steed was beside himself, sure his goddaughter Skye Johnson would be beside herself, too, the moment she saw it, the set of books and other gadgets Steed had purchased.
“I thought I had done something,” Steed said.
Well, he had. He’d managed once again to stay ahead of the curve. From the moment he first laid eyes on her, Steed knew Skye was something special, that she deserved more than last-minute gifts-in-a-panic. In advance of any big day, he thoughtfully made every purchase so he wouldn’t have to worry about whether she’d be dazzled and to be sure Skye wouldn’t have to ever wonder whether he remembered.
Surely by now you know where I’m going with this. Doc McStuffins didn’t work because, thanks to her mother and Steed’s business manager Melinda, Skye already had one.
Steed was crestfallen, but as publisher of Rolling Out magazine, he knew even the best-laid plans sometimes fail. He just rolled with it, sometimes starting in the middle, sometimes starting from scratch.
After a visit with Skye one day in his office, he was in a planning session with Kareem Kenyada brainstorming 2016 projects with the illustrator and, well, it hit him.
“I tell Kareem we’re going to write a book about her,” Steed recalled recently.
Here’s why that’s so important. Children get ideas about who they are and their worth from toys like Doc McStuffins, Barbie, books and television shows, where positive images of blackness and black females, in particular, are sorely lacking.
Steed decided he’d write a book, with a brown-skinned character that mirrored Skye’s own, that would create in her a healthy self-image and cause her to dream big. And not just Skye but all girls of every hue.
Here’s why that’s so important. Books help shape the world our kids imagine is possible.
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SOURCE: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Gracie Bonds Staples