NEW YORK, Dec. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Make room Santa - An African-American author, Ama Karikari-Yawson Esq., has created a new character for Kwanzaa called Kwanzaa Nana. She introduced the character in her latest book Kwanzaa Nana is Coming to Town: Visit 1.
Ms. Karikari-Yawson was inspired to create the story and the character because of her experience as a mother. Last year, her then four-year-old son had started a new school in a predominantly white neighborhood. He started saying some disturbing things about skin color soon after beginning the new school. For example, he told her that he could not swim because he had dark skin. Ms. Karikari-Yawson was shocked. Both she and her husband are of Ghanaian heritage and her husband's family is from the coast of Ghana where many men are fisherman. That said, both parents knew that dark skin does not prohibit stellar swimming and were horrified that their child could even have such a thought. Around that same time, her four-year-old also made a point of stating that Santa Clause was white.
"I could not disagree with the idea that Santa is white. My four-year-old son had asked me why we had dark skin and I told him that we are from a warm tropical place and that people with paler skin are from cold places. Santa Claus is from a cold place so Santa could be white. But, I wanted my sons to have a benevolent folkloric figure with skin like their own. I did some research and learned that the idea of Santa was popularized by the poem 'A Visit From Saint Nicholas,' which you may remember starts with the line 'Twas the night before Christmas.' I wanted Kwanzaa to have a similar character, but there was no such poem or book for Kwanzaa that I knew of. I then thought of this Toni Morrison quote -'If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.' I had to write it," says Ms. Karikari-Yawson.
The first book in the Kwanzaa Nana series, Kwanzaa Nana is Coming to Town: Visit 1, is currently available on Amazon and Smashwords in ebook form. The lovely story incorporates all of the principles of Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa Nana shows up in children's lives in order to give them the inspiration and the supplies needed to resolve issues in their own communities and lives.
Ms. Karikari-Yawson is currently running an illustration contest for students to create the concept art for the story. That art will be used to illustrate the book and the students will receive credit on the printed version which will be available in 2016. The term "Nana" in the Akan languages of West Africa can mean grandmother, grandfather, king or queen, so even the gender of Kwanzaa Nana is unknown and will be decided communally through the contest. The students with the winning concept art will receive free art supplies.
She hopes that the character and the stories will provide positive imagery of people of African descent while aiding in the proliferation of Kwanzaa celebrations worldwide. She also hopes that it will provide inspiration to people of all cultures all over the world.
'"Kwanzaa Nana represents that loving, caring, and supportive grandparent that all children should have. Kwanzaa Nana is the grandparent that loves you unconditionally, sees you as perfect at all times, understands that you are capable of greatness, and supports you on your journey towards fulfilling the highest manifestation of yourself. In a world in which we are constantly told that we are not good enough based on our skin, hair, height, weight, learning difference, mobility difference, ethnicity, economic situation, and much more, Kwanzaa Nana tells us that we are amazing," says Ms. Karikari-Yawson.
Kwanzaa Nana Is Coming to Town: Visit 1, is not Ms. Karikari-Yawson's first children's book. In May of 2014 she published Sunne's Gift, a creation fable that uses afro-textured hair to teach a lesson about the beauty and power of difference. The Harvard-trained attorney felt so strongly about the book and her calling to spread empowering messages that she quit her job making a six-figure salary as a corporate lawyer for a major financial institution. She writes about the courage it took to quit in this blogpost. https://milestales2013.wordpress.com/2015/08/26/5-steps-to-quitting-your-day-job-in-60-days/
She founded Milestales Publishing and Education Consulting and she currently travels the country performing Sunne's Gift and other stories and poems in her assemblies, workshops, and training sessions surrounding issues of bullying, diversity, culture, sexual assault, and much more. She speaks, lectures, and trains at elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges, corporations, organizations, and institutes. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 347-886-2026 for booking.
Here is an excerpt of Kwanzaa Nana Is Coming to Town: Visit 1
Kwanzaa Nana Is Coming To Town: Visit 1
'Twas the week before Kwanzaa, and all through the town, School kids were joyful, sun-up to sun-down.
They learned art, science, music, and math.
It was clear that they were on a prosperous path.
Then all of a sudden, while kids were home in their beds. A monster came to town causing sadness and dread.
The monster destroyed the town's school.
All the children wondered how he could be so cruel.
Without school, how would they learn and grow? How would they acquire information to know?
One student, Imani Faith, is what they called her, was especially saddened by the tragedy and horror.
In her grief, she visited her sacred place,
where she was able to reflect and dream in a private space.
While sitting and thinking there, Kwanzaa Nana appeared!
Kwanzaa Nana is older, like a grandma or grandpa, and has a face and body that are filled with laughter.
Kwanzaa Nana's skin is the deepest and darkest of browns, because Kwanzaa Nana is from an equatorial African town.
Kwanzaa Nana wears an outfit of red, black and green.
The clothing was the most beautiful thing Imani had ever seen.
Kwanzaa Nana's beautiful big eyes sparkle like stars, While Kwanzaa Nana's spirit of love is always ours.
Kwanzaa Nana told Imani that there was nothing to fear. "Everything you need for an amazing future is already here.
You are the most beautiful and brilliant child of the Most High. No monster can destroy your ability to fly.
Just ask for what you need, and the universe will supply it. You are and will be great. No one can deny it!"
What did Imani Faith do after Kwanzaa Nana's visit? Read the rest by purchasing here, http://www.amazon.com/Kwanzaa-Nana-Coming-Town-Visit-ebook/dp/B0160333F4/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8,
Participate in the illustration contest here, https://www.facebook.com/kwanzaanana/app/244041225639079/
You can also visit http://www.milestales.com/.
SOURCE Ama Karikari-Yawson