EXACTLY As You Are

Cultivating Self-Love & Compassion in Our Youth - Join us for this forum
Sat Oct 18, 2014

Join us for a panel discussion and book signing Saturday, October 18 from 2-4pm. We are pleased to welcome Chandra Washington, author of the children’s book on self-love and anti-bullying No Mistake: Journey to Self-Acceptance; Carla Nickerson, illustrator of No Mistake as well as a visual and performing artist, and Jennifer Cavazos, ambassador for the non-profit organization Princess in Training, mentor to young women, and a business owner.

Astonished at how very young children adopt ideas of beauty and other systemic notions of what is socially acceptable, and how such conditioning can lead to mistreatment of children by their peers who don’t “fit the profile,” Washington and the panel will discuss how children adopt this conditioning, and encourage suggestions on how the conditioning can be arrested and reversed. The forum will include a reading of No Mistake, followed by the discussion. The book’s illustrator, Carla Nickerson, will also present original sketches of “Abena,” the protagonist of the book. Nickerson and Washington will describe the process of how Abena’s image was developed.  Autographed copies of No Mistake will be available for purchase.

Why This Book? While this book was written with young people in mind, it is universal, with a message for all ages and all walks of life. It is my hope that young people in particular find something of value within these pages to afford them the proper building tools as they mature, so as to avoid what I had done for so many years which was, as I described in one of my adult poems, “Conducting adult affairs from the mind of a wounded child.” ~ Chandra Washington

No Mistake began as a short story for children, inspired by a disturbing documentary (A Girl Like Me, by Kiri Davis), which highlighted how an alarming number of modern-day Black children continue to see themselves as racially inferior. Although this story is about a little Black girl overcoming cruelty and ridicule from her own kind by learning to love herself, the universal theme of self-acceptance resonates with all  ages and ethnic backgrounds. Whether a child is being victimized or is being the “bully,” the purpose of this book is to raise questions to encourage self-discovery and positive transformation.

Abena’s Story Abena feels hopeless and alone when her classmates begin to ridicule her for the way she looks. Despite positive reinforcement from her parents, Abena chooses to believe what her peers tell her, that she is “ugly.” No Mistake: Journey to Self-Acceptance is a story of a little girl’s journey from low self-esteem to learning self-love, even when her peers continue to reject her. At the end of the story, the author provides a self-help discovery guide, featuring thought-provoking questions and exercises related to the story.