A 6-year-old girl and her mother have created a coloring book that educates young children about black indigenous cultures around the world while exploring the histories of native-born black people in Africa and America.
Vanae James-Bey and her mother, Veronica Bey, are originally from Florida but now live in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. They told Atlanta Black Star that
The Indigenous Adventures of Princess Vanae went on sale March 31 and has already been met with overwhelming praise from those who have purchased the book.
The book was created with the help of Vanae’s uncle Johnathan Ellerbee, who drew pictures of Vanae at her request in April 2016. As part of her home-schooled education curriculum, they researched different cultures together that interested her, and Ellerbee drew her wearing indigenous jewelry and clothing.
“Culture is very important to our family,” Bey said. “[As well as] knowing about our indigenous roots. Being home-schooled, we tend to stick to a more Afrocentric curriculum, and noticed how hard it was to find specific materials for lessons, and how many other parents [and] students must feel the same.
“Vanae was naturally curious about history, as she is exposed to tons of documentaries, and both myself and her father are avid readers; she’s always around books,” Bey added.
Vanae put the coloring book together based on her lessons, and Johanne Immis finalized the images and gave them a more digital look, Atlanta Black Star reports.
Bey said that she didn’t want her own children’s introduction to black history to be centered on slavery, and she hopes that other children will enjoy learning and being creative with the book because “it will teach that black history is from all countries.”
Vanae has more book ideas up her sleeve, including some focused on young boys that her older brother, Evrett James-Bey, will take charge of.
“We plan on making more volumes because we couldn’t fit all cultures into one,” Bey said. “Fiction books [are also on the way]. Wherever black people are in the word as a distinct culture, we plan to explore them all.”