ABOVE PHOTO: 6-year-old Ka’Maya Shanelle Parker, author of the “I Love Myself” coloring and activities book (Photo: Courtesy Shana Danielle)
By Thera Martin
“When your six-year-old child is watching you and wants to emulate what they see Mommy doing, then you need to support them.” That’s what Shana Danielle believes. The proud mother of five children, her six-year-old daughter, Ka’Maya Shanelle Parker witnessed her mother go through the process of writing a book, getting the book developed and published and even observed her selling the book at special authors’ events at Wiggins Waterfront Park in Camden, New Jersey.
From that experience, Ka’Maya caught the author’s “bug.” In her young mind, she was determined that she,too, would write a book and become a published author.
Ka’Maya’s book — entitled “I Love Myself” — is one that children can enjoy reading, coloring in, and offers activities to stimulate their minds. Most importantly, the book teaches children about loving themselves and about the importance of loving others.
“I Love Myself” will officially be released on February 28. However, pre-orders are being accepted now through a website created to support the book. Log on at: www.ColorWithMaya.com.
Ka’Maya exudes intelligence and energy for one so young.
“It felt very good, putting the book together,” she said. “The way people can get their hands on the book is by going to my website and ordering the book. Volume one can be ordered now. Volume two will be ready later this year.”
“Since Ka’Maya was two, I always did affirmations with her every day,” Shana Danielle said. “ ‘I am amazing. I am brave. I am courageous. I can do anything I set my mind to.’ Because my daughter is still so young, of course, there are words she doesn’t know how to spell. What we did was I had her come up with pictures to replace certain words that young people in her age group would understand. Since she also loves to color, she wanted her book to be a coloring book as well. The other thing she expressed to me was that she wanted her book to show all kinds of children, and so that was included in her book.”
“I Love Myself” features lined, inspiring artwork on each page that encourages coloring and doodling with crayons, colored pencils or most markers. The confidence and purpose building content inspires in children qualities that can be absolutely life changing like: bravery, beauty, strength, creativity, independence, and compassion — all in a natural and easy way to understand.
Children of all backgrounds star in the book, so that the ones who are reading and coloring don’t just see themselves, but also youth from other communities as well. The younger these ideas can be understood, the quicker things like racism and prejudice can be left in the past, Shana Danielle believes.
“I try to teach all my children to think for themselves, to speak up for themselves, because that’s important as they become older,” she said.
Some of the potential benefits that “I Love Myself” also delivers to children includes helping to improve mental health, developing a growth mindset, raising self-esteem, stimulating creativity; and very importantly, developing compassion for themselves and others.
Ka’Maya is a first-grade student in the Pennsauken, New Jersey school district. Like millions of other children across America right now, she’s doing her classes online because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Her mother says Ka’Maya looks forward to being back in the classroom; because she misses her friends and her teachers.
Now that her dream of having her first book published has become a reality, Ka’Maya’s next dream is to be able to give away as many of the books as possible. Being a self-published author as Shana Danielle explains, gets expensive. She says though her daughter wishes she could just give away the books for free, that’s not possible at this time.
The next best move was to start a Go-Fund Me page, which Shana Danielle has created for her daughter.
“This way, from funds raised, I’ll be able to pay for the purchase of some of the books, and then donate them to some of the elementary schools, to age appropriate classes, who can enjoy the books,” she said.
For more information, visit: www.ColorWithMaya.com.
Readers can stay a part of the conversation on Instagram at: www.instagram.com/colorwithmaya, as well as check out Ka’Maya’s book unboxing on YouTube at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=94R10XmTSE. The book will also be available on Amazon, and on the Barnes and Nobles website.