3 years & up
Nyasha Williams & Sóf’ya Glushkó
You may or may not remember last May when I shared a book called What’s the Commotion in the Ocean? about a Black mermaid talking about climate justice. The pair behind that book is also the creator duo of I Affirm Me, which I’m sharing today! The book is filled with mantras for Black children that is both empowering and educational. I Affirm Me is reminiscent of The ABCs of Black History but with less concrete historical information (sidenote: I think they would make a beautiful pairing).
Beautifully colorful illustrations embody care and abundant joy; with one page dedicated to a letter and the opposite illustrating it. I Affirm Me is a book that I can see being used in a whole bunch of situations; students picking out a letter to use as a mantra for their school day, siblings at the breakfast table reciting mantras that begin with the first letters of their names or choosing one that correlates with a forthcoming event that day. “I empower others with positive energy…I am mindful at all times…I am treasured, nourished, and loved” are just a handful of the empowering gems found within this book. I Affirm Me puts Black joy and empowerment at the forefront, and I can see this becoming a classic and staying on shelves for years to come.
This book was kindly sent by Running Press Kids, but all opinions are my own!
Nyasha Williams works to decolonize literature, minds, and spiritual practices one day at a time.
Nyasha Williams grew up living intermittently between the United States and South Africa. As a kindergarten teacher, she was inspired to write her first book when one of her Black students told her that mermaids could not be Black. Williams kickstarted her first picture book, What’s the Commotion in the Ocean, starring a Black mermaid who spreads a message of marine conservation. The beautiful illustrations and diverse representation caught the attention of many, and her Kickstarter was publicized on Pantsuit Nation before becoming fully funded.
Williams began I Affirm Me in 2020, inspired by a mantra she and her students recited together at the beginning of each day: I am confident and capable / I learn at my own pace / I am loved / I believe in me / I believe in us. I Affirm Me was born of her desire to spread a similar positive message to Black children as well as celebrate the beauty of the Black community. “As BIPOCs, we are operating and navigating a world that wasn’t made for us and is actively working against us,” says Williams. “My efforts as a creator, author, and activist are to combat the systems of White supremacy, colonization, and the patriarchy, working towards decolonizing, liberating, and indigenizing our minds and world.”
Nyasha Williams now pursues social justice, decolonizing work, and creating for her community full-time. Her current projects range from educator-created anti-racist conversation decks, to an all-Black tarot deck, to a coaching course for anyone wishing to decolonize, liberate, and Indigenize. You can find her on Instagram at @writingtochangethenarrative. She lives in Colorado with her husband.
Sófya Glushkó was born in Russia to an art-loving family. Raised in such a creative atmosphere, she was inspired to become an illustrator. Self-taught, she fell in love with creating children’s book illustrations and has never looked back.