This is a guest post from Tami Charles, the author of the upcoming picture book All Because You Matter, illustrated by Bryan Collier.
All Because You Matter is a lyrical, heart-lifting love letter to Black and Brown children everywhere: reminding them how much they matter, that they have always mattered, and they always will. Tami penned a love letter to her son, below.
Let’s kick off this post with a classic picture of the kid and I, shall we?
(photo credit: Robert Piazza)
Pretend I’m not there and zoom in. A little more. A tiny bit more.
Take a look at this child. The sparkle in those big, brown eyes. You see that sly little smile?
That thing has turned me into a human puddle more times than I can count!
Now zoom out. Keep going. A little more. There….
Look at my smile. See the joy? So luminous you could almost hear it in a whisper:
This is mama’s baby boy.
Behind that smile, behind that joy, lurks something invisible. . .almost pensive. . .
How do I freeze time?
A universal question for all parents, I’d say. Unfortunately, time waits for no one.
Allow me to introduce you to the child who dareth grow before my eyes, even though I’ve forbidden him to do so.
Christopher Sebastian Charles.
Annoyer of my soul. (at times)
Destroyer of Pringles,
freshly painted walls,
Maker of slime,
and Tik Tok videos.
Christopher Sebastian Charles matters so much to me.
I imagine you, too, know what this feels like. To love someone so much, you could literally feel
it in every cell of your body. To know all the ways someone matters to you. Be it your child, your student, a friend, or family member.
This feeling, this recognition of a child’s worth, is what connects you and me. Isn’t it beautiful to know?
As our children grow, may I ask a favor of you? Let’s vow to share moments and stories that show the beauty and the journey of others who are like us, but more importantly, those who are different. This is how we’ll create mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors for our children.
In doing so, perhaps we can both smile at the thought of our children meeting one day.
At school. On the basketball court. At the pool. Who knows? Maybe they will even become friends.
Because I need to know that as Christopher navigates the world,
he’ll be safe in the hands of allies who will love and respect him.
I promise I will raise my son in such a way that he knows his worth. . .and yours, too.
May I ask the same of you?
More about All Because You Matter:
Part love letter, part anthem, All Because You Matter reassures readers that their matter and their worth is never diminished, no matter the circumstance: through the joy and wonder of their first steps and first laughter, through the hardship of adolescent struggles and the pain and heartbreak of current events, they always have, and always will, matter. Accompanied by illustrations by renowned artist Bryan Collier, a four-time Caldecott Honor recipient and a nine-time Coretta Scott King Award winner or honoree, All Because You Matter is for the picture book audience what The Hate U Give was for YA and Ghost Boys was for middle grade: a conversation starter, a community touchstone, and a deep affirmation of worth for the young readers who need it most.
Click here to learn more.