“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ―Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"
My 12 year old daughter read it in a matter of minutes in excitement. We discussed it and overall she felt it was a good and powerful story. She also expressed her happiness of living in a world where we don't all look alike and we should not want to look alike. When reading this book, you must see the importance of each character imaginatively presented by the author, Ama KariKari Yawson. Then, look deeply at their appearance and unique gift. They're individual gifts served a collective purpose for their universe. It is important that our children recognize, embrace and celebrate their differences as well as respect the differences of each person they meet in life. As parents, we should teach them this important lesson in life. One of the many lessons I learned from reading Sunne's Gift, when we dim the light on our own difference, we are not walking in our purpose that serves the greater good for all humanity. You may purchase your very own copy of Sunne's Gift by clicking here. And, please be sure to read the inspirational corner (questions and answers from the author herself below.)
I grew up in Queens, NY and I have taken a very traditional and academic path in life. I went to Harvard and studied Social Studies and then went to The Wharton School and the University of Pennsylvania for my MBA and JD. Along the way, I have worked as an investment banker, wall street stock-picker and now a securities lawyer. I also got married and had two beautiful boys. None of my history would give any hint that I would wind up pursuing creative writing. I’m shocked myself. It was a true calling.
One day, I went to a barber shop with my dad to get my son Jojo’s hair cut. Jojo was 3 at the time and the two other hair cuts that he had consisted of a barber shaving his hair practically bald. That is the easiest hair cut for a fidgety child. I wanted this time to be different and I told the barber not to shave off all of Jojo’s hair and to just make it shorter. He then proceeded to, in my view, shave Jojo’s head practically bald. “Whoa, whoa, I told you that I did not want it bald, this is way too low!” I exclaimed. “How can I tell you this? You’ve got a real n****r here. He is a native boy. He is from the tribe. This ain’t pretty hair. This is the best cut for him,” said the barber with his clippers still in the front of Jojo’s hair. I forced a giggle and then entered a state of shock. I could not believe that the black barber demeaned my son and his hair. The next day, I was watching the fashion police with Joan Rivers and they were discussing Solange Knowles’ outfit to the Gatsby premiere. Joan Rivers made a comment that an afro is not an appropriate hairstyle for a red carpet event. My head began to spin. I was just tired of all of the natural afro-textured hair hate from black people and white people alike. I was reading a marketing book at the time which said that the best way to get a message across is through a story. I really wanted to write a story that would honor afro-textured hair. But I did not think of myself as a creative writer. Soon afterwards, I was watching Super Soul Sunday on OWN and a speaker said that art is no different from prayer. I started praying on a story and God gave me the story of Sunne’s Gift. Hence, the story was born. The fable is really for everyone and it is not just about afro-textured hair, it is about anything that makes you unique as individual or as an ethnicity. But because short stories with pictures are marketed to children, it is in the children’s book market.
That is such an excellent and inspiring response... Even with your busy schedule as a mother and attorney, you took the time to tell this story in such a way for everyone (all ages and ethnicities) to understand and take several messages from it. So, tell us what you want each child reading this book to take from it as we're living in a day where kids are teased about everything whether it's at school or on social media.
I would like each child to gain the following message. God gave everyone a gift. When we bully or ridicule someone we may destroy that person’s gift and we will all suffer from that loss. For that reason, we should love and accept ourselves and love and accept everyone else.
Loving and accepting ourselves and each other, is the precise opposite of harming others through bullying. Sadly, social media has made bullying easier and more pervasive. Children are not only bullied in school. They get on Twitter and on Facebook and experience more bullying. My heart goes out to that beautiful young lady Jada who was not only sexually assaulted, but who was also emotionally assaulted as people passed along her naked pics and taunted her. This type of behavior is just so unacceptable and for that reason I pray that more children read Sunne’s Gift. If children know their own worth then they will not feel the need to “prove themselves” by assaulting and bullying others. They will love and respect others as they love and respect themselves.
That is very true and I'm so glad that you brought up Jada's story and I see the power rising in her from her story as she too, as Sunne, reclaimed her gift. Empowering. Now tell us, why should parents make sure their child(ren) read Sunne's Gift?
As parents, it is our duty to instill our children with self-esteem and pride. It is also imperative that we teach our children to treat others lovingly and respectfully. But sometimes, we miss out on opportunities to instill pride and remind children of these crucial lessons. Sunne’s Gift provides such an opportunity through the actual story and through the questions and answers at the end of the book. There are not many books on the market that provide this in a way that is relatable to children and adults of all ages. The book is marketed as a children’s book because it is illustrated, but I personally remind myself of the story as I go through my daily journey of trying to live my truth and bolster my own feelings of worthiness.
Amazing, Ama. A story beautifully told and I thank you for sharing this with us and to the world. To you who are reading, let us know what you think and be sure to click the pinks for all the links!