My first son hates to read. Not all books. Just the ones that have to do with school. Give him a Dogman book or anything with space and he will quietly read and read. But homework, or anything from Journey is a pain. Today’s assignment was a chapter in his Journey book. All he had to do was read. He complained and complained and tried not to do it. Even asked for us to do it together. I stood my ground and told him to read. Even went as far as to share about how his sister read in church on Easter Sunday all by herself. In fact he should be like his sister. That was all I needed to say and 10 minutes later, the chapter he dreaded to read was done.

Big sis remains a big influence in his life. Watching her read all by herself in Church on Easter Sunday was a gift that keeps giving. I am inspired by them and their gift to each other.

Listen, you are belong to a people so beautiful.

Langston Hughes, the poet wrote about how the night is beautiful, like the faces of your people, the stars are beautiful, like the eyes of your people. Beautiful also is the sun, beautiful also, the souls of your people. You belong to a people so beautiful.

Listen, you belong to a people who had a home, a place, a land.

Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renee Watson wrote about their story, their origin, one that did not begin with whips and chain, or that dreadful voyage that took them from their home, their place , their land

Listen, your future is greater than your past.

Ben Okri once wrote about how we need to see the world differently, to see ourselves clearly. Only free people can make a free world. So infect the world with your light. Help fulfill the golden prophecies, press forward the human genius, for your future is greater than your past.

Listen, you are like dreams that hang in the air, touching everything.

The poet Lucille Clifton noted like smoke, these dreams get all in your clothes, as you wear them more than you do, trying to wave them away, but their smell is all over you, getting in your eyes, making you cry, even even the fire is gone, these dreams that hang in the air, touching everything.

Listen you are beyond the small stuff too small to see.

The artist Chris Robinson once wrote that even if somethings swim with the tide and somethings don’t, even if something are out of reach, or you feel lost and alone, you matter, beyond the small stuff too small to see.

Listen you are like the year you learned to fly.

The writer Jacqueline Robinson once wrote about how a brother and a sister used their beautiful and brilliant minds. They lifted their arms, closed their eyes, took a deep breath, and believed in a thing the year they learned to fly.

Listen you are a light for the world to see.

Kwame Alexander wrote words for the undefeated, those unforgettable, those unafraid who carried the red, white and weary blues and shined their light for the world to see.

Listen you are more than this skin you are in.

This skin you are in, is just a covering bell hooks once shared. It cannot tell your story. They can find all about you, coming close and letting go, of what they think you are. For you are more than the skin you are in.

Listen you are more than the only black kid in the class.

You are the manifestations of several lifetime of toil, said Clint Smith, the poet. You are deemed the expert on all things Morrison, King, Malcom, and Rosa. You are everyone’s best friend until you are not, a star before they render you asteroid, before they watch you turn to dust, you the only black kid in the class.

Listen you are carrying nothing but the world.

Even Amanda Gorman the poet noted that you are enough. There is joy in discarding almost everything. Though what you have left behind will not free you, but what you have left is all you need, is enough when you are armed only with your hands, open, walking into tomorrow, carrying nothing but the world.

Listen you are called to bear witness.

Cornel West once shared about how he was prepared to bear witness to the height of his capacity, to the best of radical traditions that produced him, to help people think and feel differently over and over again, as long as we work to bear witness.

Listen you are more than you name.

You are like Toni Cade Bambara, with a name you earned and worked hard for. A name that tells the story of you, whether forever constructing yourself, forever inventing yourself, you are more than your name.

Listen, you are like jasmines, perfect of perfume.

Claude McKay, the poet wrote that your scent is in the room. Swiftly, it overwhelms, and conquers. Jasmines, night jasmines, like you, are perfect of perfume.

Listen, you must transform your silence into language and action.

Audre Lorde, the poet and feminist shared how we can learn to work and speak when we are afraid in the same way we have learned to work and speak when we are tired. The weight will choke us unless we transform silence into language and action.

Listen you must accept them with love.

There is no basis whatever for their impertinent assumption that they must accept you. The terrible thing is that you must accept them, noted James Baldwin, the writer. You must accept them and accept them with love.

Listen, you are like an invisible ink

To Toni Morrison, an invisible ink is what lies under, between, outside the lines, hidden, until the right reader discovers it. The reader, open to your invisible ink.

We have been holding our breathe for Amanda Gorman’s book since January. We finally got a copy of it this part Friday. The title: Change Sings. It begins with a little girl holding guitar, strumming a tune, as if to begin belting how change sings, how not to fear too for its coming. Next, we see her walking through a prism of colors and words that inspire change. There is even an image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr as the little girl dreams with the cries of true dreamers. And so the story begins. The little girl slowly assembles other young people just like her hoping for a change that sings, long for it’s it’s mysteries, it’s history, collective strength and light that each day brings. We awaken to love when change sings, to courage when change sings, to tolerance of differences that roar and springs when change sings. But the beauty of this story is that change has always been there, inside of you and me, growing like a seed, something the world needs, something we too can sing along too, for change, it’s gifts, it’s mysteries, are all ours when we give it a fighting chance. Clearly we love this book. Keep a change that sings for you and me.

‘I want to be everywhere where Mama is.’ These words from the book Me and Mama are the representation my children and I have always longed for. To see ourselves, our mundane activities, illustrated in a book is every bit as powerful as the words are poetic. That black children can have special days that unfolds from morning routines with brushing teeth, to bedtime routines that are full of love, are rarely seen, rarely shared, and rarely portrayed in stories. Cozbi Cabrera celebrates the bond between a black mother and her daughter beautifully with this book. And as a mother whose daughter and sons want to be everywhere I am, I am keeping the message with this book here for all times.