Empathy, kindness & Respecting Others #bemyneighbor day

Empathy is the ability to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from the other person’s point of view. It is imagining how someone else is thinking or feeling as well as understanding that other people have feelings and those feelings count. By mastering empathy children develop compassion and the ability to make friends.

We often ask children to think about “walking in someone else’s shoes” to help them learn to consider the feelings and experiences of others – like being polite to others, even when you are in a bad mood. Picture books are a great way to help children develop empathy. Through them, children can live the experiences of someone else. Anna Dewdney, author of the Llama Llama books, is well know for speaking about the role picture books can play in the development of empathy in children.

When we open a book, and share our voice and imagination with a child, that child learns to see the world through someone else’s eyes.” ~ Anna Dewdney, The Wall Street Journal: How Books Can Teach Your Child to Care

Listed below are several picture books that celebrate the differences of others and highlight the experience of empathy as well as the friendships and strength of community that result from it.



All Kinds of FamiliesAll Kinds of Families – Families of all shapes, sizes, and colors, including celery stalks and buttons, are presented in this colorful picture book celebrating the diversity, familiarity, and importance of togetherness.

Beryl a Pig's TaleBeryl: a Pig’s Tale – Tired of being mistreated and cooped up, Beryl the piglet escapes her farm and meets a group of wild pigs, whose settlement splits up over the decision of whether to let her stay, and with her new “family” she sets out to find a new home.

The Chickens Build a WallThe Chickens Build a Wall – When a friendly hedgehog visits the farm, the chickens build an enormous wall to keep out “prickly invaders.

The Colors of UsThe Colors of Us – Seven-year-old Lena and her mother observe the variations in the color of their friends’ skin, viewed in terms of foods and things found in nature.

Freedom SummerFreedom Summer – In 1964, Joe is pleased that a new law will allow his best friend John Henry, who is black, to share the town pool and other public places with him, but he is dismayed to find that prejudice still exists.

Hello My Name is OcticornHello My Name is Octicorn – The octicorn– half octopus and half unicorn– introduces himself and tells readers why, though strange and unique, octicorns make great friends.

June and AugustJune and August – Two animals who share a love of the night sky meet in the daylight and are surprised to discover how different they are.

Let's Talk About RaceLet’s Talk about Race – The author introduces the concept of race as only one component in an individual’s or nation’s “story.”

The Little Bit Scary PeopleThe Little Bit Scary People – Some people are a little bit strange or a little too loud, and just a little bit scary. But I bet, if you knew them, and knew their favorite things, you’d think that maybe, (probably) most people aren’t so scary after all.

Little Sweet PotatoLittle Sweet Potato – A sweet potato, lost and trying to get back home, rolls down the road looking for other vegetable and flower patches, trying to fit in. Told repeatedly he’s lumpy and bumpy and doesn’t belong, Little Sweet Potato finally finds acceptance at the “hodge-podge patch” (a garden).

Looking After LouisLooking After Louis – When a new boy with autism joins their classroom, the children try to understand his world and to include him in theirs.

My Grandma's a NinjaMy Grandma’s a Ninja – When Ethan’s grandma suggests they take a zip line to school, Ethan realizes that his grandma is a little different. In fact, she’s a ninja! Ethan is soon the hit of the school when his grandma drops from the ceiling at show-and-tell, and teaches the kids karate moves and how to do backflips in slow motion. But when his grandma deflates his team’s soccer ball, everyone is upset–including Ethan. Why can’t he just have a regular grandma? But when Ethan tries out his new karate moves during the championship game, he’s happy that his grandma isn’t ordinary.

The Name JarThe Name Jar – After Unhei moves from Korea to the United States, her new classmates help her decide what her name should be.

Once Green AppleOne Green Apple – While on a school field trip to an orchard to make cider, a young immigrant named Farah gains self-confidence when the green apple she picks perfectly complements the other students’ red apples.

The Other BearsThe Other Bears – Mother and Father Koala are suspicious of the ‘other’ bears. They don’t like the panda bears and they don’t trust the polar bears. But their grumpiness melts away as they watch their little Koalas play together with ‘other’ bears.

The Other SideThe Other Side – Two girls, one white and one black, gradually get to know each other as they sit on the fence that divides their town. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2004-2005, K-3 Nominee.

The Peace BookThe Peace Book – Describes peace as making new friends, sharing a meal, feeling good about yourself, and more.

Some Monsters are DifferentSome Monsters are Different – A warmhearted celebration of individuality describes the many differences found among monsters, from beasts who are picky or will eat anything to creatures who chatter or remain quiet, explaining that all monsters are wonderful just the way they are.

The SneetchesThe Sneetches – The Star-Belly Sneetches think they are the best, and look down upon Sneetches without stars. The Plain-Belly Sneetches remain depressed and oppressed, prohibited from associating with their star-bellied counterparts, until Sylvester McMonkey McBean comes along & begins to give stars to the Plain-Belly Sneetches. The original Star-Belly Sneetches are angry at no longer being different and special, so they get Sylvester to remove all their stars. This continues back and forth until no one can remember which Sneetches were originally what, and an epiphany strikes them all at once: that it really doesn’t matter whether a Sneetch has a star belly or not – they are all really the same, and can coexist and be friends with one another.

Shades of People – Explores the many different shades of human skin, and points out that skin is just a covering that does not reveal what someone is like inside.

SplashdanceSplashdance – Ursula, a bear, and Ricardo, a human, are preparing for the water ballet competition. But a new regulation at the community pool–no bears–leaves Ursula cut from the contest. Luckily, she encounters a group of undaunted animal swimmers at a local pond, and Ursula and her new team figure out a way to participate in the competition and make sure everyone is welcome at the pool once and for all.

Strictly No ElephantsStrictly No Elephants – A boy is excluded from joining his friends’ pet club because of his unusual pet.

Tilt Your Head Rosie RedTilt Your Head, Rosie Red – Classmate Fadimata is teased because of her hijab until Rosie a high-energy child who wears a red cape, listens carefully and always tries to see things “from every angle,” finds a way to celebrate Fadimata’s unique head covering, inspiring others to follow suit.

We Came to AmericaWe Came to America – Celebrates United States immigration and the country’s diverse immigrant heritage.

Who We AreWho We Are – Join Nellie, Gus, baby Jake, and their parents at Funland as they go on rides, watch performers, and play games along with many other children and grown-ups. As they enjoy their excursion, they notice that people are the same as one another in lots of ways, and different in lots of ways too. Helps children realize why it’s important to treat others the way they want to be treated whether a person is a lot like you or different from you, a good friend or someone you have just met or seen for the first time.

Whoever You AreWhoever You Are – Despite the differences between people around the world, there are similarities that join us together, such as pain, joy, and love.

You and Me TogetherYou and Me Together: Moms, Dads, and Kids Around the World – From a festival in India to a bus in Germany, from a park in China to a campfire in Australia, loving moms, dads, and kids share their lives.

Yo YesYo! Yes? – Two lonely characters, one black and one white, meet on the street and become friends.




A Mighty Girl Playlist – Free with Your Library Card!

Mighty Girl Music 3

The website A Mighty Girl is an outstanding collection of books, toys, music and movies “for smart, confident, and courageous girls.”

A Mighty Girl’s music section features more than 100 girl-empowering songs in a wide range of genres for all ages of Mighty Girls. You can also filter the collection by recommended age, genre, and theme. Each song description has a ‘Note to Parents’ to help you get the right song to your mighty girl at the right time.

Below is the playlist of Mighty Girl Music. It is a great place to start for making a playlist for your own Mighty Girl.

Remember you can download 5 FREE songs a week with your library card from The library’s Freegal music catalog. In the list, the songs that are available from Freegal are in bold. Download 5 today and add the rest to your wishlist to make it easy to grab 5 more songs each week.

By May you will have a list of power songs for girls – a great soundtrack for the summer!

*32 Flavors Ani DiFranco
A Mother’s Love Mark Masri
*A Sorta Fairytale Tori Amos
*Ain’t got No/I Got Life Nina Simone
Almost There The Princess and the Frog Soundtrack
Amelia Almost 13 Carrie Newcomer
*Anything You Can Do from Annie Get Your Gun
*Atalanta from Free to Be You and Me
B*tch bad Lupe Fiasco
*Beautiful Christina Aguilera
Born This Way Lady Gaga
*Brave Sara Bareilles
*Breakaway Kelly Clarkson
Build a Levee Natalie Merchant
*Butterfly Kisses Bob Carlisle
*Child of Mine Carol King
Come Over to My Dollhouse Lunch Money
*Cornflake Girl Tori Amos
Courage Beauty form Pain 1.1
*Crucify Tori Amos
*Daddy Byonce Knowles
Defying Gravity Idina Menzel
Do My Thing Estelle
Everything Alanis Morissette
*Father and Daughter Paul Simon
*Feeling Good Nina Simone
*Fighter Christina Aguilera
Firework Katy Perry
Fixing Her Hair Ani DiFranco
Fly to Your Heart Selena Gomez
Free to Be You and Me The New Seekers
Future Man, Future Lady Ziggy Marley
Get Up Superchick
Girl Tori Amos
*Girl Disappearing Tori Amos
Girl in a Country Song Maddie and Tae
*Girl On Fire Alicia Keyes
*Girl Shanty Sons of the Never Wrong
Girls With Guitars Wynonna Judd
Gold Rush Brides Natalie Merchant
Good Mother Jann Arden
Gotta Be Me Secret Anget 23 Skidoo
Gotta Be You Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
*Hammer and Nail Indigo Girls
Hands Jewell
Headstrong 10,000 Maniacs
Heroes Ann Reed
Hey Hey Superchick
Hit Me With Your Best Shot Pat Benatar
How You’ve Grown 10,000 Maniacs
I Am NOt My Hair India Arie
*I Am Woman Helen Reddy
I Hope You Dance Lee Ann Womack
*I’m Coming Out Diana Ross
*I’m Every Woman Whitney Houston
*I’m Going to Live the Life Mahalia Jackson
I’m Gonna Be An Engineer Peggy Seeger
*I’m Not Perfect Laurie Berkner
I’m Ready Kim Possible Soundtrack
*In My Daughter’s Eyes Martina McBride
In Or Out Ani DiFranco
*Independent Women Destiny’s Child
Intuition Jewell
It’s Amazing Jem
Joyful Girl Ani DiFranco
Julie Through the Glass Carly Simon
Jump Miss Melodee
Just a Girl No Doubt
Just the Way You Are Bruno Mars
Learn Me Right Brave Soundtrack
*Least omplicated Indigo Girls
Let It Go Frozen Soundtrack
Let It Grow Ester Dean
Let Your Heart Sing Katherine McPhee
*Love Song Sara Bareilles
Mean Taylor Swift
*Mean Girls Rachel Crow
*More Beautiful You Jonny Diaz
My Little Girl Tim McGraw
No Man’s Woman Sinead O’Connor
Not a Pretty Girl Ani DiFranco
One and Lonely Superchick
Overrated Ashely Tisdale
Part of Me Katy Perry
Pearl Katy Perry
*People Like Us Kelly Clarkson
*Perfect Pink
*Perfect Girl Sarah McLachlan
*Proud Heather Small
*Respect Aretha Franklin
*Right as Rain Adele
Roar Katy Perry
Rock What You Got Superchick
Science Fair (Album)
She’s Not Just a Pretty Face Shania Twain
*Silent All These Years Tori Amos
*Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves Eurythmics
Skipping Eddie Vedder
Stand in the Rain Superchick
Strong Women Meg Braun
*Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) Kelly Clarkson
*Stupid Girls Pink
*Superwoman Alicia Keyes
*Survivor Destiny’s Child
Tell It Like It Is Tracy Chapman
Tell Yourself Natalie Merchant
*Thank God for Kids Kenny Chesney
*Thank U Alanis Morrisette
That I Would Be Good Alanis Morrisette
The Climb Miley Cyrus
The Emperor’s New Clothes Sinead O’Connor
*The Greatest Love of All Whitney Houston
*The Long Way Around Dixie Chicks
The Middle Jimmy Eat World
The Princess Who Saved Herself Jonathan Coulton
*The Voice Within Christina Aguilera
*The Wood song Indigo Girls
*This One’s For the Girls Martina McBride
Tomboy in a Princess Dress Suzi Shelton
Tomboy Princess Meg Braun
Touch the Sky Julie Fowlis Brave Soundtrack
*True Colors Cyndi Lauper
Try Colbie Caillet
Typical Girl Cheri Magill
*Unwritten Natasha Bedingfield
Video India Arie
What I Am Edie Brickell
*When I Was a Boy Dar Williams
Who I Am Jessica Andrews
Who Says Selena Gomez
Who’s That Girl Robyn
Whole Wide World Mindy Gledhill
*Wide Open Spaces Dixie Chicks
Wild One Faith Hill
Willing to Fight Ani DiFranco
*Wonder Natalie Merchant
*You Gotta Be Desree
*You’re Aging Well Dar Williams

Read Across America Day


RAA Cat n Hat Logo_Feb 2014
Today is the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day!  Now in its 18th year, this year-round program focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources. Take the Read Across America Pledge – we’ll help you read ALL YEAR!

You can watch and read online stories all year:


Green Eggs and HamDr. Seuss on the LooseHow the Grinch Stole Christmas

Book characters make great birthday party themes because they are FAVORITES. The Cat in the Hat is always a hit! Find everything you need to plan a fun Cat in the Hat Birthday Party on the cheap. All you need is a computer, printer, some time…and your library card! We have the books, movies & music to make your party a memorable hit. IndyPL Ready to Read: DIY Birthday Party – Dr. Suess/Cat in the Hat

Helping Children Cope with Tragic Events

“We’re going over in a safe area,” she told the 5-year-olds. Then, she opened a book and started to read.”  ~Kindergarten Teacher, Sandy Hook Elementary School

This is what we have to offer you today in the aftermath of the inexplicable. Come. Open a book. Start to read. Hold them close and revisit old friends together; Curious George, The Cat in the Hat, Arthur, The Little Engine That Could.

Or stay at home and do the same. Find the books in the bookcase with the dog-eared pages and the tell-tale bite marks on the spine; the ones you can probably recite without looking at the pages. Choose the one with the coffee ring on the cover for having been on the bedside table every night.

Favorite stories are steadfast old friends to count on in times of trouble.

It is clear from the resources we have gathered below that one of the best things we can all do is simply reassure children that many people – their family, their teachers, their neighbors, the people at day care or church or the library love and care about them and are looking out for their safety.

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered. 
”Yes, Piglet?” 
”Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.” ~ A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Professional Advice about Helping Children Cope with Violence and Tragic Events:

Dad and Children Reading PhotoWhile favorite stories are comforting and familiar, you may find that it would be helpful to read a book together that helps your child understand feeling afraid or anxious; or answers questions he or she might have about death. Below are several children’s books that address separation anxiety, fear and grief. These are just a small sampling to show you the kinds of books that are available. Also listed are some parenting books about helping a child cope with anxiety. Click on any book jacket to go directly to the online catalog to make a request with your IndyPL Library Card, or visit any of our branch locations. IndyPL librarians would be happy to help you find books like these. NOTE: The first two titles, Owl Babies and The Kissing Hand, you can watch right now online – no waiting. Both are about learning to cope with separation anxiety.

Video Storytime:

OwlBabiesWatch Right Now: Owl Babies – Three baby owls panic when they awaken one night and find their mother gone, worrying about what has happened to her and becoming frightened by all the scary things that surround them in the dark. Print, eBook, en español

KissingHandWatch Right Now: The Kissing Hand – When Chester the raccoon is reluctant to go to kindergarten for the first time, his mother teaches him a secret way to carry her love with him. Print, eBook, en español

Chapter Books for Older Readers

Picture Books:

Invisible StringThe Invisible String – When Liza and Jeremy run to their mother during a scary storm, she comforts them by telling them about the Invisible String, which connects people who love each other no matter where they are and means that they are never alone. Print

Boats for PapaBoats for Papa – Buckley and his mother cope with the loss of their father/husband by sending small wooden boats, built by Buckley, off into the ocean. Print

Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of MemoriesChester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories – After his mother explains why his classmate is not returning to school, she teaches Chester Raccoon how to make a memory. Print, eBook

City Dog Country FrogCity Dog, Country Frog – In spring, when City Dog runs free in the country for the first time, he spots Country Frog sitting on a rock, waiting for a friend. “You’ll do,” Frog says, and together they play Country Frog games. In summer, they meet again and play City Dog games. Through the seasons, whenever City Dog visits the country he runs straight for Country Frog’s rock. In winter, things change for City Dog and Country Frog. Come spring, friendship blooms again, a little different this time. Print

The Giving TreeThe Giving Tree – A young boy grows to manhood and old age experiencing the love and generosity of a tree which gives to him without thought of return. Print, eBook

Grandpa GreenGrandpa Green – A child explores the ordinary life of his extraordinary great-grandfather, as expressed in his topiary garden. Explores aging, memory, and the bonds of family history and love. Print

Healing DaysHealing Days – A guide for kids who have experienced trauma. Print

The Hugging TreeThe Hugging Tree – Told in rhyming text, a little tree clings tenaciously to a granite cliff, determined to live, tended by a little boy, and ultimately loved by the people in the community. Print

I Miss YouI Miss You – Explores the difficult issue of death for young children. Feelings and questions about this sensitive subject are looked at in a simple but realistic way. Written by a psychotherapist and counselor this book helps children to understand their loss and to come to terms with their feelings. Print, eBook

Jenny is ScaredJenny is Scared – When Jenny and her brother are frightened by events in the world, their parents help them talk about their fears and feel better. Print

The Kiss BoxThe Kiss Box
– As they prepare for a short separation, Mama Bear and Little Bear find a way to reassure each other while they are apart. Print

Love Hugs & HopeLove, Hugs & Hope – Helps children identify feelings that overwhelm them with anxiety and despair. Explains that sometimes bad things happen and good people are hurt. Children feel fear, sadness, and anger. The book teaches that there are ways of dealing with these emotions and helps children reaffirm fundamental truths about the world. Print

Love WavesLove Waves – While they are at work a mother and father send powerful “love waves” to their child at home, offering reassurance and comfort in their absence. Print

Mommy In My PocketMommy in My Pocket – A little girl gets anxious about separation from her mommy when she goes to school. Print

Nana Upstairs Nana DownstairsNana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs – Four-year-old Tommy enjoys his relationship with both his grandmother and great-grandmother, but eventually learns to face their inevitable death. Print

On That DayOn That Day: a Book of Hope for Children – This book tells children that although terrible things happen, there is still hope that the world can be a better place. Print

Remembering CrystalRemembering Crystal – Zelda is a young duck that lives in the garden. Her friend Crystal is a turtle who is growing old. The two do many things together. One day Crystal is not in the garden. But friendship never dies. Print

Remembering Mrs RossiRemembering Mrs. Rossi – Although she loves her father, their home in New York City, and third-grade teacher Miss Meadows, Annie misses her mother who died recently. Print,  eBook

The Rhino Who Swallowed a StormThe Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm – When little Mica is frightened by a storm, her father tells her the story of a rhino who was feeling lost and alone, until he learns that with the love of family and friends, there will always be help during tough times. eBook

Sad Isn't BadSad Isn’t Bad – A grief guidebook for kids dealing with loss. eBook

Snowflakes FallSnowflakes Fall – In this illustrated poem in honor of the victims of the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, falling snowflakes celebrate the uniqueness of life, its precious, simple moments, and the strength of memory. Print, eBook

Some Bunny To Talk ToSome Bunny To Talk To – When Little Bunny’s problem makes him feel sad and fearful, he goes to a therapist for help. Print, eBook

Tear SoupTear Soup – A modern-day fable, told in a richly illustrated children’s book format, about a woman who has suffered a terrible loss. Grandy has just suffered a big loss in her life, so she is cooking up a batch of “tear soup,” in which the ingredients are parts of the grieving process, including memories, misgivings, feelings, and tears. Print

A Terrible Thing That HappenedA Terrible Thing Happened – After Sherman sees something terrible happen, he becomes anxious and then angry, but when a counselor helps him talk about these emotions he feels better. Print

Tough BorisTough Boris – Although he is a very tough pirate, Boris von der Borch cries when his parrot dies. Print

What to do When You're Scared & WorriedWhat To Do When You’re Scared and Worried – Why do we have worries and fears? — Fears after something bad has happened — Fears of people, animals, and situations — Worries about being away from your parents : separation anxiety — Thoughts and behaviors you can’t stop — Worrying all the time — Panic, feeling you are going crazy or about to die — How to control your worries and fears — When fears and worries will not go away — For parents : helping your children cope with worries and fears. Print, eBook

When Bad Things HappenWhen Bad Things Happen: A Guide to Help Kids Cope – Truly bad things happen in life. And while we cannot shelter children from every hurt and harm, we can reassure them that they will always be loved and cared for. We can teach children the skills needed for coping with life’s biggest challenges and changes. And we can restore children’s trust that life, after all, is good. eBook

When Dinosaurs DieWhen Dinosaurs Die – Explains in simple language the feelings people may have regarding the death of a loved one and the ways to honor the memory of someone who has died. Print

Where is GrandpaWhere is Grandpa? – As his family reminisces after his beloved grandfather’s death, a boy realizes that his grandfather is still with him in all the special places they shared. Print

For Adults:

Freeing Your Child From AnxietyFreeing Your Child From Anxiety – Written by an expert in the field of childhood anxiety disorders, this indispensable guide is for parents looking for safe, proven methods for reducing childhood anxiety. Dr. Chansky shows them how to teach their child to successfully deal with stress and face the challenges and uncertainties of life. This resource is a CD but is also available as a Print, eBook

Growing Up BraveGrowing Up Brave – The author, a childhood anxiety expert, helps parents identify and understand anxiety in their children, outlines effective and convenient parenting techniques for reducing anxiety, and shows parents how to promote bravery for long-term confidence. Print

More FREE Online Reading:

50 Fantastic Picture Books Illustrated by African-Americans

WeNeedDiverseBooks LogoCrown: an Ode to the Fresh CutOur role is to work together to create books that act as wide-open doors – books that allow all children to walk through and feel safe enough to stay.” ~ illustrator Jerry Pinkney #weneeddiversebooks

Children need to see all kinds of people in the books they read and that includes book characters that look like them. It can be hard to find pictures books that have characters of color. Here are 50 favorite picture books that not only star African-American characters but are also illustrated by African American artists.  Use this list to help find new books and new authors or illustrators that will help you throw wide-open the doors of diversity. You can find new books to act as a mirror, to reflect your child’s own experience, or a window, so they can take a look at someone else’s.

You can read some of the stories online right now in the “Read Right Now” section. Just click on a book jacket to enjoy it! Also listed are eBook and print book options.

Miles Davis by Kevin WestYou can also visit Central Library throughout February and March to see the 2018 Meet the Artists Exhibit (January 30 – April 1) which showcases the accomplishments of 11 prominent local African-American artists. While you are there visit The Center for Black Literature & Culture where you can find many of these picture books to check out and take home!

Read Right Now:

No Mirrors in My Nana's House

eBooks & eAudio:

Use your indyPL Library Card number and PIN to check out FREE Online eBooks & eAudiobooks. Click on a book jacket & enter your Library Card number and PIN to borrow. What’s My PIN?

Beautiful MoonAunt Flossie's HatsCity ShapesEach KindnessGrandma's PurseHey Black ChildI Got the RhythmKnock KnockLast Stop on Market StreetThe Lion and the MouseMufaro's Beautiful Daughters

Print Books:

A is for ActivistAll Things Bright and BeautifulAfrican OrchestraAntionetteBack of the BusBelle the Last Mule at Gee's BendBig JabeBlack CatBrothers of the KnightBruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby GirlBusy Busy Little ChickChocolate MeEllen's BroomFreedom SummerThe Grasshopper and the AntsHe's Got the Whole World in His HandsIn Plain SightJabari JumpsLittle Red HenLittle Red Riding HoodThe Neighborhood Mother GooseNight Out with MamaNoah's ArkThe Nutcracker in HarlemThese HandsThis Is the RopeThe Tortoise and the HareUncle Jed's Barber ShopWe Shall Overcome: the Story of a S ongWelcome PreciousWhen Louis Armstrong Taught Me Scat

More about Black History:

To learn even more about fascinating and inspiring black history makers, visit the Center for Black Literature & Culture at Central Library. The Center is dedicated to celebrating the vibrant and resilient heritage and triumphs of those born of African roots.