Nationwide — At a time when the state of the world is extremely uncertain and fragile, Patrice McLaurin is providing a silver lining by dismantling racist biases against Black children, with a current emphasis on Black boys. Owner of Khemrah Publishing, a boutique publishing house located in Buford, Georgia, McLaurin uses this platform to serve as an author and image activist. Her literary works are cultivating the brilliance of Black children, one book at a time.
According to McLaurin, some of the most important work that needs to be done in the Black Community is the shifting of racist and biased propaganda against Black people. “Unfortunately,” states McLaurin, “any disparaging caricature that can be placed upon a person has been used as an identifying persona against Black folk.”
Part of McLaurin’s cause as an image activist is to dispel these effigies by reinforcing positive imagery. After the violent deaths of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice, McLaurin’s passion was amplified and it birthed literary works that would give Black children and their counterparts, an opportunity to see the value in their existence. “Oftentimes, a book is a child’s first introduction to an outside world,” states McLaurin, “so it is important that their books humanize all of those who exist in it.”
McLaurin’s first children’s book, Have You Thanked an Inventor Today?, chronicles the school day of little boy as he uses the inventions of Black people throughout his day. It provides the practical perspective that we all utilize the genius of a black mind, daily, and affords ALL of its readers an opportunity to learn about the rich contribution of Black People to this nation. It includes brief biographies about each inventor as well as activities that promote reading comprehension and retention.
Have You Thanked a Kidventor Today? is the second installment in McLaurin’s image activism, as it highlights inventions created by a group of inventors who are rarely discussed, children. This book includes a glossary and fun science experiments that promote innovation and higher-level thinking.
McLaurin’s latest title, I Am Because I Choose, is a wonderful social-emotional learning tool that encourages children to take ownership of their choices and behavior. One of the most dynamic elements of the book is its cover, which boasts a little black boy who stands tall as an audacious superhero!
To note, McLaurin’s books also provide an alternative to a disturbing trend in children’s book diversity that quite possibly contributes to the literacy gap that exists between black boys and their peers. According to the most recent statistics released by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, only 11.9% of children’s books have black children as their protagonists. Moreover, of the books that are written about black children, historically, very few of them have featured black boys. Rather than complain about this problem, McLaurin decided to provide a solution. “If you want to help bridge the literacy gap that exists for black boys, allow them to see themselves positively reflected on the pages of a book,” she says.
While the work that McLaurin produces for children is admirable, her existence as a Black woman and author of children’s books, is quite the defiance to the status quo based on diversity statistics. In keeping with that defiance, she continues to champion her overarching goal, “To raise the vibration of our children and this nation, one book at a time.”
McLaurin’s books are available at PatriceMcLaurin.com or anywhere that books are sold.