In my continued journey to help dismantle racism, I have made a commitment to increase the number of books in my library that feature people of color. So, I was very excited to learn about a new coloring book designed to educate children of all races about important historical figures in Black culture.
The book, titled, “When We Were Queens and Kings”, was written by Rev. Dr. Denise Kingdom Grier of Maple Avenue Ministries. She is also the founder of 1cor13project.com which is a collaborative resource to center the health, healing, and wholeness of Black people, as well as educate and equip non-Black allies. Reverend Grier wrote to me about this book, saying, “This coloring book features four African Queens and four African Kings, like The Queen of Sheba and King Shaka Zulu. They refute the notion that Black History began in the belly of a slave ship but in fact harkens back to civilizations before chattel slavery in this country.”
In February, our country celebrates Black History Month, so wouldn’t this coloring book make a great gift for a child (or grandchild) in your life? As soon as I saw the gorgeous, vibrant artwork, illustrated by Victoria Chapman and read Rev. Grier’s summary of the book, I made arrangements to buy multiple copies to give to the youth program at my church, Hope Church.
Hope Church’s Pastor Gordon Wiersma spoke with appreciation about this new children’s book as an important story for all children to hear and engage with. He told me, “Recovering and relearning Black history through a book such as this is important in different ways for Black children, children of color, and white children, but meaningful for all just the same. A skewed telling of history can be internalized by all of us, perpetuating harmful cycles of ignorance and misunderstanding, diminishment and injustice. Pastor Denise wisely speaks of ‘rehearsing’ our past in new ways in order to serve justice today, and these coloring books engage our children in this creative rehearsing of history. What a gift of story and beauty these books offer!”
Perhaps you, too, could pick up a copy of this book and gift it to a loved one? Children love receiving gifts and wouldn’t this be a wonderful way to care not only for the gift receiver, but also for those in our Black community?
You can purchase a book by doing the following:
May your gift educate, inform and inspire young minds.
© Victoria Chapman; artwork courtesy of the artist