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This blog is my diary of works in progress. The only way a writer can improve upon her skill is to practice, practice and practice some more. Here, in this place of quiet peace, I pen to paper my thoughts and creativity. Welcome to my world.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Author Interview: Robyn Abdusamad

Today I have the honor of introducing you all to author Robyn Abdusamad and her new book You Are Beautiful. The coming of this book, along with many others being published that tackle the issue of racism and racial bias and promote diversity, is quite timely. Children need a safe place to discuss these issues and picture books are the perfect medium to help children understand and navigate this tough topic. Without further ado......Robyn Abdusamad.



Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your book?

Well, I am from North Carolina but my family recently relocated to Texas, the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  I am a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University with a Bachelor in Communications/ Public Relations and a Masters in Public Administration from National University.  I have over 10 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. I’ve also worked in the secondary school system in North Carolina. Right now, I am a stay at home mom.   In my spare time I enjoy volunteering in my community, traveling, shopping, and connecting with family and friends.

My new book, "You Are Beautiful" is about two sisters who have their first encounter with a racial bias and are saddened by what they hear.  It is a heartfelt and inspirational lesson that provides both children and parents with a solution to embracing diversity with knowledge and kindness.

What was your favorite children’s book growing up?

I recall several of my favorite children’s book growing up, but the ones that stand out were ‘Bambi Gets Lost’, ‘Mooch the Messy’ and ‘Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret’.

What author inspires you the most and why?

Wow, I have so many but if I have to select one it would be Iyanla Vanzant.  I am inspired by her well-grounded and passionate approach to life.  I also like her ability to connect and engage with her audience-- it is through her books or lectures.  Her straight to the point approach is a breath of fresh air.

What are your earliest memories of writing?

My earliest memory of writing is in middle school.  During the summer, my mother would always have my brother and I writing reports on various topics. Most of the time if we traveled we were required to write mini reports about our experiences.  Also, I didn’t grow up in the era of email, texting and instant messaging so I was always writing letters to my relatives and friends.  Back then we had pen pals too and my mother encouraged us to write.  She saved a book I wrote in middle school titled “Summer Love”.  As an adult, I read it and found it to be quite cheesy, but she liked it.

Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?

Both. My mother encouraged me to write because she realized that writing was a natural extension of reading comprehension. And because writing (hand writing and not typing) was a thing of my generation is was second nature to write both for pleasure and for communication purposes. During the summer, writing was a fun activity we did and when I turned 14 I started journaling; I still journal to this day. So, writing has always been a part of my life.

 
What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books?

When I am not writing or promoting my book, I am spending time with my husband and children or connecting with friends and family.


What do you hope that readers will take away from your book?

The message I would like for children to take away from YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL is that despite the outside differences, people are similar on the inside.  After reading my book, every child should understand that their skin color is unique and beautiful.  As for adults, I would like for them embrace having conversations with their children about race and other forms of bias they might encounter away from home.  I am sure the conversation will be uncomfortable for some, but I would like for my book to be a catalyst for that conversation.

How can your book be used in the classroom?

Educators may use my book in their classroom as an introduction to teaching diversity and multiculturalism to their students.  Also, I have activities on my website that they can print and use for their class at www.robynabdusamad.com.

You Are Beautiful will release November 28, 2014

Thank you for your time, Robyn and best of luck with your new book release.

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Member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators