Published: 06:00, 19 October 2020
| Updated: 11:37, 19 October 2020
A mother-of-three who was left heartbroken to hear her daughter say 'Mummy, I want to be white' has penned a book to help her understand she doesn't need to be anyone else - apart from her beautiful black self.
Isha Dibua who lives in Gillingham was upset when her daughter Adanna, five, came to her to proclaim she wanted to be white.
Mrs Dibua, who works with vulnerable families, said: "I was deeply saddened by this and explained to her that she did not have to be anybody other than her beautiful black self.
"The I AM a Beautiful black girl book of Affirmations was born from this conversation.
"I was so motivated to empower my daughter that I managed to get the book done during the lockdown, taking care of three children, working from home part-time, with a dissertation to do.
"If she (my daughter) was a beautiful little white girl that would be fine, but she's a beautiful black girl.
"I had conversations with her that she was wonderful and she shouldn't want to be anyone else, but I just felt that I was saying the words, but she wasn't really taking them on-board.
"So I felt I had to do something else in order to empower her and make her fall in love with herself.
"When I told her I was going to write a book for her she looked at me kind of oddly as if thinking, 'mum, you are going to write a book?', but as it started to come together, she was really interested.
"I illustrated it myself as I had not planned on writing a book in the middle of lockdown and I thought, right, I don't have a budget for an illustrator, it wasn't in the plan, so I am quite a creative person so I thought let me see if I can try and take a picture of her and trace elements and add elements and that came out OK.
"So I ended up calling family members, friends of friends and getting their daughters' pictures in it as well.
"So the whole book is made up of pictures of little girls my daughter knows, or are relatives, so it's been impactful and useful for those girls as well."
Mrs Dibua, who self-published the book, says it became about educating as many young black girls as she could, so she shared it with others.
She added: "My daughter is on the front cover and all of the images throughout the book are in the likeness of beautiful black girls we know. Their response to seeing themselves in the book has been amazing.
"Given the times we are in and the prominence of discussions about race and the Black Lives Matter movement, I feel this is a critically important time to change the narrative and empower our children with positive self image and words."
Mrs Dibua, 37, said pupils at Adanna's school in Gillingham, also liked the book which made her daughter proud.
She said: "I wanted to share the story with other parents and guardians who could relate to it and get it into the hands of as many beautiful black girls as I could.
"I feel this is a critically important time to change the narrative and empower our children with positive self image and words...."
"The wonderful thing is that all children can get value from this book because the affirmations apply to every child and I have had positive feedback from children of all cultural backgrounds, both boys and girls."
The feedback about the book and it's positive message has now encouraged her to write more books to help children feel confident about who they are.
She added: "I am now on a mission to have a series of four books.
"A book themed on black boys but also a set of books that has a mixture of children in underrepresented forms, so that I can encourage children not only to feel confident in who they are but to also have an appreciation for beauty in all its forms."
The book is available via Amazon, to find out more, click here.