April 17, 2019 9:51 pm
Updated: April 17, 2019 11:17 pm

Ajax student writes inspiring children’s book about diversity

A Grade 12 student is garnering a lot of attention with her new children's book. It tells a story about a young girl who doesn't like her skin colour and the lesson she learns about diversity. Frazer Snowdon reports.

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An Ajax student is turning heads and pages with a new children’s book.

The book, “There’s Magic In My Melanin,” touches on diversity, and how we should love the skin we’re in. Not only is she the author, she’s also going to several schools to pass on the message. This week, she visited a Grade 3 class at Vimy Ridge Public School.

“It’s a really great feeling to know that my message is being brought to a larger audience,” says Kiera Salmon.

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The Pickering High School student wrote the book for her black studies class and has now toured a number of schools to pass on the message.

“It’s learning to love who you are, and to love how you look,” Salmon says. “Just you as a whole, just to love yourself.”

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The book follows the story of Nayla, a young black girl who doesn’t like her dark skin, lips and hair. She questions why she can’t be like everyone else in the movies. Salmon says the character’s views are similar to how she felt as well.

“I actually took a lot of personal experiences and incorporated it into the story, because growing up, I didn’t really see anybody that looked like me in TV and movies.”

The fictional character Nayla learns from her grandmother that her skin is unique, made that way by the magic of melanin. “Your melanin is what lights up the room, it helps you stand out in a crowd,” the book reads. Her audience, although younger, seemed to grasp the importance of the message.

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“I learned everybody was beautiful, however they look like,” said one student.

“Everyone’s skin colour is beautiful,” said another.

Salmon says the best part about being able to tell the story to the younger generation is hearing their stories, and how they have been affected.

“It was really cool seeing them open up about their own experiences and being engaged with the story,” she said.

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The 17-year-old wrote the book in just two weeks with her sister, an animation student who helped with the drawings. Her mother Gail, beaming with pride at the reading, says she can’t believe how far it’s come.

“It’s definitely been a blessing,” she said. “It’s been something that has really warmed my heart to see all of this.”

Salmon hopes to bring this book to the masses by getting published, too, saying it could even be a career path for her.

 

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