Interactive children’s book introduces HBCUs during story time


The purpose of the book is to introduce a new generation of children (and some adults) to the possibilities that historically black colleges and universities can offer.

Through Allison Joyner

A new children’s book, “A is for the ancestors: My Black College ABCs”, uses an interactive approach to teach historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) to young children. Written by psychologist and former college professor Dr Erica Stoval White, the book gives children ages four to eight an overview of the importance of HBCUs.

“As an educator, when you want something to stay with someone, you have to make it personal,” White said.

Author of “A is for Ancestor: My Black College ABCs” Dr Erica Stovall White
Credit: Dr Erica Stovall White

Inspired by a Christmas book given to her eldest daughter when she was little, White recounts SaportaReport that the rhyming pattern in the story was an opportunity for her to teach her baby something that was close to her heart.

A graduate of an HBCU herself, White said the subject matter and format was fine. “I had to read it over and over again,” she said, “I thought to myself, I love Spelman and I love HBCUs. So I would like to create a way to educate him on HBCUs right from his time. younger age. “

A is for the ancestors on whose shoulders we stand.

A third-generation graduate, HBCUs are an important part of White’s life. Spelman’s alumnus White said the Atlanta University Center (AUC) had an influence on his adult life.

“The AUC has been at the center of so many changes not just in Atlanta, but I think around the world in terms of pace and trends and things like that.”

White continued, “People say their kids don’t learn [HBCUs] until later in life, especially if you don’t live near them. They just don’t know them. So I thought this is a great way to present and have a conversation about it.

White uses vibrant images and creative nursery rhymes to introduce the 101 remaining HBCUs and teach kids what to expect when they attend an HBCU in the future.

Image of “A is for the ancestors: My Black College ABCs”
Credit: Dr Erica Stoval White

Children are involved through the questions presented after each rhyme and are encouraged through the book to examine themselves and their own emotions.

B is for books. They help to expand our knowledge.

White said she developed the book so that it could be read in several ways: by reading only the rhyme sequence, by reading only the questions, or by reading the rhymes and questions throughout.

“These questions,” White said, “are what make kids personal when they can say ‘oh yes! I did [such and such]’and it sticks to their skin. It also allows adults to communicate and share about their lives.

It was also paramount for White to create a reading guide for parents and teachers to help older children explore the history and value of an HBCU education.

Representation was also crucial for White. She wanted to make sure that the male-female images were executed evenly throughout the book. She also had the illustrator draw a yellow cord of honor on the boy’s cap and dress when approving the cover image.

The reason for this addition was “to have a picture of what success looks like when you graduate.” You can graduate with honors. So there was a lot of intention to have an impact.

White says now is a great time to teach children about HBCUs.

“What we do know is that HBCUs aren’t just for black people. I think a lot of people have now understood the value of education.

She continued: “In our post-George Floyd world, I think there has been a wake-up call in some who probably thought they were ‘awake’ before that and now ‘oh wait, I didn’t even know that ‘there was all that. “”

A stack of the book “A is for Ancestors: My Black College ABCs”. available in hardcover and paperback.
Credit: Dr Erica Stoval White

White wants to make sure every kid knows about HBCUs and has a way for adults who don’t have kids to pay for it as well.

The “A is for Ambassador” program allows readers to donate a copy of the book to a child, a library, a classroom or the entire school.

“You probably know of an elementary school that has little kids that could use a book,” White said, “or maybe a library that could use some books, so I have a program where people can donate books. to schools. “

“A is for Ancestors: My Black College ABCs” for sale on Amazon or whites website.

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