For two years, I have read books and interviewed their authors in my weekly bookchat. Sometimes the authors are my friends and sometimes I meet them for the fist time when we go LIVE!
That is how I met the amazing Kashama Leo-Henry. She reached out to me in the spring of 2021 and sent me her first children’s book: Daddies and Uncles and More, Oh My!
I was so impressed by how many of her friends and family tuned in to support her by listening to our bookchat. It was easy to see why, as Leo-Henry cares deeply about her community in North Carolina and the place of her birth, Saint Lucia.
Her first children’s book focused on the importance of father figures, Black male figures specifically, in the lives of her children and those in her community. Representation matters and now more children can celebrate the important roles that good men play in their lives.
Sand Castle Books Expands!
After publshing her first children’s book and diving into the publishing world, Leo-Henry’s new publishing company, Sand Castle Books, published their second children’s book! Leo-Henry partnered up with educator and author Abigail Edmunds and brought forth I Can! Just Not Like You.
This beautifully illustrated children’s book highlights inclusiveness, equity, and tolerance and shows how friends navigate through life in their own special way. I was touched how Edmunds was inspired by her family and writing this book was an act of love for the many children in her life who have inspired her and others, despite having different abilities.
You Have A Friend In Me
Two books in a year for a first-time publisher sounds like a large undertaking, but Kashama Leo-Henry wasn’t finished!! Her third book came out in 2022 and is called, You Have A Friend In Me.
You Have A Friend In Me draws readers in through rhyme and more beauitful illustrations from the same illustrator as I Can! Just Not Like You, Nana Melkadze.
Parents and teachers can use this book to start conversations around empathy and equality. In fact, starting these kinds of conversations shows high expectations that young children are capable of making friends who seem different.
What Will She Do Next?
Kashama Leo-Henry is a talented woman, educator, leader, and entrepreneur. She has found talented women to team up with, and amplifies meaningful messages through prose and thoughtful illustrations. I have loved every conversation we’ve had. I can’t wait to see what she publishes next.
If your goal is to develop a culturally responsive library, include Leo-Henry’s books! Children need to see themselves in books, and they need to see people who are different as well. Leo-Henry has found an organic way to elevate women, children, Women of Color, and children with different abilities. If you are wondering how to teach your children sincerity and compassion, her books area great way to start.