Since becoming a first time mother in January, I knew that I had a miraculous opportunity to love and raise a gift from God. I also knew the extra special care and attention I would need to place on building my son’s self-esteem. Hardly a week goes by where a negative image in the media isn’t being played out, images that could create the narrative for my son’s outlook on life if I let it. But I am determined to make up for the areas where mainstream media lacks when it comes to building our boys up. My son is only four months old, but from the time he was two weeks old I’ve been reading to him. He’s loved it since day one. He coos as I turn the pages, and now has even learned to turn the pages himself. Yes, I’m a proud mom!
More than that, I’m a conscious mom. If I let media shape his impression of himself, I’d be in for a world of hurt. Gone are the days where The Cosby Show and other wholesome sitcoms starring black families ruled the airways. Music is not any better. I’ve always known that books were important, but since becoming a mother, I’ve realized books are a gateway for me to engage in entertainment directly with my son. When I read to him, I transform and really get engaged in the stories I share with him and it’s a great bonding experience.
I have a lot still to learn about motherhood, but one thing I know for sure is that the love and attention I put into building his library can directly pour into his self-esteem. From alphabet books to novels, I’ve begun collecting literature with positive, black protagonists. It is no easy feat, because as with elsewhere, black images are lacking–but with time and dedication, I know that by the time my son is an independent reader, he will have a library collection that gives him a worldview where people like him are at the center-consciously, positively, and lovingly.
BMWK Family, what are you reading to your little ones?
Najat Shamsid-Deen is a wife and first-time mother of one. She is passionate about black children’s literature and together with her mother has begun creating positive content centered around black characters. Their first project, The Prince and Timberance, now available on Amazon, is an epic tale and chapter book for young readers that features a handsome prince, a charming maiden, and a world of magic and adventure. View her website where she blogs about her passion at enchantedroots.wordpress.com.