The ‘dads black dads’ children’s picture book – Positive News

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Five years ago, Marvyn Harrison inadvertently started a global movement. His private Dope Black Dads WhatsApp group has evolved into an online and offline community where more than 250,000 fathers discuss their experiences of being black, parenthood and masculinity in the modern world.

Harrison (pictured above with her children Black, 4, and Ocean, 6) has now published her first children’s book, I love me! – a collection of positive affirmations for preschoolers designed to build confidence, improve self-image and promote resilience.

“I’ve always done daily affirmations with my kids, things like ‘I love,’ ‘I’m powerful, ‘I’m kind,'” Harrison told Positive News. “It started off as a bit of fun, but it’s been a real game-changer for them, giving them tools they can use if they’re scared. In a time when being black can potentially create challenges that others children wouldn’t have to consider, I saw real power in these simple techniques.

The Dope Black Dads movement may now encompass a multi-award-winning podcast, books, and a spin-off Dope Black Mums community, but it all started with a single text message on Father’s Day in 2018.

Harrison, a marketing executive from Hackney in London, whose own father had been absent from his life, sent a heartfelt message to his male friends. He admitted he struggled to connect with his kids, and the friends started sharing their own challenges. Often these were tied to cultural beliefs that Harrison says are unique to black fathers.

“I want to encourage men to become better fathers, husbands

Over time, and with the support of his new community, he said he finally became the father he wanted to be.

I love me! is the first in a two-book series Harrison has signed up for with Macmillan Children’s Books, illustrated by Diane Ewen, with a follow-up due in 2023. He also has a book for fathers in the works.

“I want to encourage men to be better fathers, husbands, and men by providing them with tools to help them navigate who they are and move forward in their lives,” Harrison explained.

Main Image: Serena Brown

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