I've loved books forever. I mean, I can remember spending hours tucked away in my room in my childhood home, digging into The Little Princess and The Secret Garden and Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret and Beverly Cleary's Ramona series, giggling and crying with the characters and wishing I could be a part of their worlds—or at least tuck little pieces of them in mine. Those books, they were my friends. I didn't have many in my collection—my parents couldn't afford my book habit and so the library was my go-to spot—but the books I did manage to own, I treasured.
These days, Nick and I have so many books we hardly have places to stash them. And as an author and a lover of the written word in general and black books in particular, I've made it my business to make sure that my children love—and have a vast collection of—books, too. But I don't just stop with my babies; everywhere I encounter kids and the adults who teach and raise them, I'm singing the praises and power of books. I don't care if you're a reluctant African American male reader or a website full of new parents, I feel it's my duty to share the joy that comes from a good book.
In keeping with my love affair with and recognition of the importance of books, I recently signed on to help launch NorthParan.com, a new online book store featuring books for, by and about people of color. The folk at NorthParan.com had me at black books, but what really made me want to lend my name to their project was the site's irresistible promise: for every book sold on NorthParan.com, NorthParan.com will donate a book to a child of color who has neither books nor quick access to them. NorthParan.com's motto is, "Buy One, Give One"—and I'm thrilled to help put books in the hands of our children.
Today, I call on the MyBrownBaby community to check out NorthParan.com—take a look around the site, read up on its mission, register for the newsletter, and most important, make a difference by buying some books.
Check out the video Nick and I put together to introduce the site—starring Mari, Lila and Teddy our spectacular dog. And after you do that, please make a point of telling all your friends on Twitter and FaceBook and becoming fans of the site.
And... buy some books!