Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Black Children’s Book Week Author Feature- Kimberly Beasley

 Black Children’s Book Week
Author Feature

Kimberly Beasley

A person with a pearl necklace

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Tell us about yourself.

    I am a devoted wife, mother, and community engager. I was an entrepreneur early in life owning my own beauty salon for 27 years and served on the Arkansas State Board of Cosmetology as a Board member and Examiner. I recently completed a long-held goal of obtaining my bachelor’s degree in American Studies with a minor in Truth and Reconciliation, and another goal of becoming a published author. My favorite quote is Proverbs 3:6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, lean not to thine own understanding but in all thine ways acknowledge him, and he will direct thy paths.”  Wanting others to know that it is never too late to follow your dreams.

Tell us about your featured book. 

    Searching for Me was based on my own life, along with my two sisters as we grew up in a small rural town with a hue different from our mothers. This was due to my mother being African American with a brown skin hue and my father being of mixed decent with a very fair hue that caused our fair completion, complexions at one time most seen in the South. This created great confusion, and sometimes hardships with my sisters and our peers within our community, having to explain and prove our race to others. It was almost like me, and my siblings spent much of our time proving our “blackness” instead of just being children and being liked for who we were and making friends just because.  As children this was an unfair subject to explain especially when you are too young to understand it yourself. My sisters and I felt like we were almost made to pick a race, we couldn’t be both, which in fact we were biracial, or multicultural. We were deprived of accepting our whole culture, whatever that was, because it was not explained. But we were told and raised that we were just black, and when anyone asked us, that is what the answer was, no matter what the mirror reflection showed us. This was so confusing and damaging in so many ways as children growing up. Writing this book was self-healing in the sense that even though I never got an answer to a lot of questions to my lineage and ancestry even into my adulthood, I learned the real lessons through my imaginary travels to my ancestors that the real beauty was God-given and lies within. But what I do know is all children need to know and understand that it is not what you look like on the outside, but your character and love that flows on the inside is all that matters. Children can get hung up on their outer appearance and societal expectations that can lead to self-esteem and other issues that can be detrimental. I want them to learn to love themselves, period. Searching for Me is about finding your true self, and loving what you see.  I am not currently working on another book but am seriously contemplating a series of book that deals with self-esteem and image for children. 

When did you first realize you wanted to be an author? What inspired you?

    I didn’t, writing this book just happened for me. I had a story in me for so long and was afraid to tell it because of its content, race. In 2024, we are still afraid to discuss this subject, and we should not be. No one had anything to do with how they got here nor the lineage they are connected to. We still live in a world that has a line drawn down the middle that some dare to cross. Either you are black or white, and is almost taboo say biracial, for if you do you are almost automatically put into a category, or box all by yourself by society. In my opinion, there is not a place of comfort, or acceptance, for children or adults of mixed lineage to fit in. The “other” box is almost never checked, and why? Are we afraid to say we are made of many cultures?  This has bothered me for a long time and caused angst within me and my sisters, so I finally penned the words in a way that both children and adults can relate. Writing my story allowed me to tell my story my way, unapologetically. Everyone has a story to tell and there is no right or wrong way to tell it. The beauty of writing is you can be as creative as you want. Every story is not for everyone, either you like it, or you don’t and there are no hard feelings. But if the story it resonates with the reader mission accomplished. There is something to be learned, valued, and appreciated in every book written, one just must have an open mind while reading it. The inspiration to each is within each writer, at least it was for me.

What made you want to become a children’s book author? 

    As I stated above, I never intended to become an author of a children’s book, it just happened. But I can say that I am glad that God directed me this way because I think that children are less judgmental than adults. Children are who I am trying to capture with their self-esteem before it is damaged. Words, looks, verbal assaults, often result in the wrong connotations without intelligent conversation can hurt. Children are innocent, full of questions, and are willing to listen, learn, and hopefully teach others. At least, that is my hope. 

What made you want to write a book of this nature? 

    It was needed. There are so many children of mixed lineage who look “different” because of biracial relationships, they often grow up somewhat confused by not knowing where to fit in or what side to accept because they do not know their full heritage or get bullied just because of the way they look. Unfortunately, statically children of mixed lineage can be picked on, bullied, and sometimes even worse. It is important for me to try to break this stigma and help children love themselves when they look in the mirror, and know that God made them just the way they are, beautiful!

Which age group do you prefer to write for and why?

    I think that it is a book that children from eight years and above can appreciate, but it is up to parental guidance due to the subject matter. Amazon has rated accordingly, eight and above, although depending on the maturity of the child a bit younger.

Do you have another book you are actively working on? Can you tell us about it. 

    Not at this present time.

What did you think you wanted to be when you were still at school, or have you always wanted to be an author?

    My professional career was in the beauty industry where I owned and operated by own beauty salon for over 20 plus years and was also appointed to the State Board of Cosmetology as an Examiner and Board Member. I most recently went back to school and earned my bachelor’s degree in American Studies and a minor in Truth and Reconciliation. Being an author was never on my agenda, but I am certainly glad God saw fit to bless me with such an opportunity. 

Shoutout your illustrator. 

    My wonderful illustrator was from an artist on Fiiver. She really captured the very essence of the characters I was trying to portray in my story.

What young celebrity would you want to play the main character or be the voice of the main character of your book? 

    Although she is older now, I think the perfect person to play the main character in the book and voice would have been Jurnee Smollett. Her skin hue and hair texture closely resembled mine as a child. 

What would you like to say to the readers? 

    Never count yourself out as too late to start anything. God gave me this book as an inspiration to write in my fifties, it is for sale on Amazon and hopefully in other bookstores soon. I never would have imagined such an accomplishment at this stage in my life. But with God, all things are possible. He saw my years of hurt and pain being picked on and bullied and turned them into words to help other children and adults, not only those who look like me, but those who have other insecurities as well. It is who you are on the inside that counts, the beauty within.

Follow Author Kimberly Beasley social media outlets': 

Facebook- Kimberly Beasley

Instagram- MsRevdoc

Twitter- @Kimberl09332198

Discover Kimberly Beasley's featured book here... Click here to win a copy!!!!

This book is a journey of self-discovery and lifelong yearning to understand who I am. With a complex and mostly unknown lineage (though slowly being discovered) I have often wondered, “Who am I?” I have struggled all my life just trying to fit into a box that was not designed, or made to fit me, just based on how I looked. How does one work with that or strive to reshape themselves to fit into a “container” that no one else understands? I am not alone in this, as my two sisters have also struggled with the same identity crises as well because of mixed lineage, for all three of us share the same hue and facial features. While each of us have dealt with the discomfort and angst of looking as we do, we find comfort with each other and the similarities that we hold as sisters and family. Unfortunately, for some these challenges can lead to low self-esteem, insecurity complexes, and longing just to “fit in”. This book provided me a viewpoint to ask and work through some long-held questions to discover my “true” self. One that looks back at the fictional wisdom of my ancestors, who each had a significant part in my genetic makeup. After these conversations, I realized that I am uniquely and wonderfully made! It doesn’t matter that people are confused about “what I am”, or “who my people are, or where they came from." What matters is that I accept me as the true gift I am, one created out of love and made to give love back into the world…one person at a time. I found the true gift on my journey--- that was ME!

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