This book was inspired by our great-niece Jordyn. After the 2016 presidential election, she was distraught upon hearing who had won. She had heard the cruel and hateful words that had been spewed at women, those with disabilities, people of different faiths, and people of color. She had heard the talk aimed at “taking our country back.” Though she was only seven, some of that language of hate stayed with her. When she found out who the new president would be, she was frightened and confused, worried that the world as she knew it was in imminent danger.
We were so troubled. We knew there were thousands—no, millions—of young people like Jordyn, and perhaps, like you, too, who were fearful about the future. What could we tell you? we wondered. What words of comfort could we offer? How could we reach out to you the way others had reached out to us when we were your age and faced difficult challenges that seemed too big for us to handle?
So the idea for this treasury was born. Yes, we are living in challenging times, but we created this book so you will know that you are part of a community that loves you and can give you tools to help navigate the present and the future.
We grew up in the segregated South, when life for us was much different than it is today. Racial discrimination, prejudice, and hatred against African Americans were pervasive. We were prohibited from attending school with White children, so we went to all-Black schools. We couldn’t go to the public library that Whites used. We were forced to sit in a “special section” in movie theaters. We couldn’t even try on clothes or shoes from the stores downtown. Our parents had to purchase them, bring them home, and then see if they were a good fit. If they weren’t, the items couldn’t be returned. If there was no fountain designated “Colored” or “Negro” in the store, we had to wait until we got home to get a drink of water, or find another establishment that had a fountain for “us.” Our parents were not allowed to vote.
This segregated but unequal system we were forced to endure was extremely trying and often frightening. Yet, in our all-Black communities, we were embraced by accepting arms, motivated by encouraging words, and sheltered by watchful eyes that probed for signs of lurking dangers seeking to engulf us. We were loved! We knew it! We could feel it!
Today’s challenges are different from those of the 1950s and 1960s. But we have valuable advice to share with you, nuggets of sustenance for you just as there were for us when we were your age. We invited children’s book creators with diverse voices to share their perspectives, words and images of encouragement, and hope and love for you. These talented and thoughtful authors and illustrators have already been creating wonderful books with you in mind.
Within this collection, there’s a letter from a parent to her children on kindness; there’s advice on how to become confident and mindful; there are words of wisdom about finding and keeping friends; there are reminders of how to use the Golden Rule, how to cope with bullying, and how to face internal uncertainty; and there’s an essay on how young people can change the world.
Challenges, some seemingly daunting, will come and go. There will be dark days, and days with bright, warm sunshine. There will be periods of hope, and periods of despair. But when the dark days come, you must remember how the sun shone brightly on your face. When despair looms, you must grasp on to hope and lift it high for all to see. That way, you can face the challenges, no matter what they are, with the determination and confidence necessary not only to endure, but to grow in spite of them.
This book is for you! To inspire you, motivate you, offer you love and hope, and encourage you to help make a difference.
Copyright © 2018 by Edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.