Nationwide — Crystel Patterson, a full-time technology consultant and busy mom of two energetic boys from Sacramento, California, says that she didn’t expect that she would become the author of a children’s book series let alone see the real impact that her books could have on children. For her, writing was never a hobby or passion, but that all changed in the summer of 2020 when her then 8-year-old son asked her why police kept killing Black people.
“That question just stayed with me over the next few days because it was such a provocative and heartbreaking question coming from a child,” she says.
This question coupled with observations Crystel made while reading bedtime stories to her two boys, helped her realize the need for more positive stories and depictions of Black people in children’s books.
Crystel said the goal for her books is to spread Black inspiration to all children through stories inspired by real people. Her first book, One Flip, Two Flip, Three Flip, Four, is inspired by three-time Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas. Her second book, I Am Different, is inspired by Kheris Rogers, a teenage fashion designer who launched her own clothing line called “Flexin’ in My Complexion” after being bullied for the color of her skin.
Her latest book, Superheroes Here and There, is inspired by the late Chadwick Boseman, who was best known as an actor who portrayed Marvel’s beloved superhero, Black Panther, and some of the greatest African American icons in movies.
“When children read my books, I want them to know that someone real is behind these stories. I want them to say, ‘Hey if they did that, I could do that too,'” she says.
The self-published author added that it’s important her kids and other children who look like them grow up seeing the successes of Black people. Crystel also feels strongly that although Black children were the reason why she wrote these stories, they are not just for Black children.
“I actually want kids who aren’t Black to see these stories of Black people and be inspired by them because I think that could make a huge difference in the way other races view Black people,” she says. “The messages in my stories are universal. Any child should be able to relate to them… it’s just that I make sure to stay focused on Black characters.”
While becoming an author was never part of her plan, Crystel said she feels like she’s found her true purpose. She plans to add many more stories to the “Inspired to be…” series because she deeply believes that her books will have a real impact on the lives of children everywhere. She recalled a testimonial of a six-year-old girl who asked her mother proudly after reading I Am Different, ‘how did she [the author] know this about me?’ Also, of an elementary school clinician who uses the same book as a tool with her students who are struggling with being respectful of each other. What was unexpected for Crystel though was when a 1st grade ELL (English Language Learner) teacher shared how she uses One Flip, Two Flip, Three Flip, Four to help her students learn to read. The teacher shared that the use of high-frequency words is the reason most of her beginning speakers were able to quickly read this book successfully and fluently.
“It’s so validating to receive such positive feedback about how children are receiving my books and how they are being used by adults to help children,” she said.
Her books are available via her official website at CrystelPatterson and also anywhere books are sold online.
Also, be sure to follow the book series on Instagram and Facebook
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