The situation propelled by the COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it many mental health repercussions for people in the United States and across the world.
Some, unfortunately, could not bear having to quarantine alone as children also continue to be bored having to do stick to dull routines. Parents had to find creative ways of entertaining their young ones indoors to keep them safe.
Motivated during quarantine with guidance from his mentor over Zoom, an 11-year-old New York pre-teen wrote a book about self-love accompanied by a coloring book to help teach kids to love themselves and give them something fun to do while in quarantine.
“And who doesn’t want to learn about self-love?” Aiden M. Taylor said to People.
Taylor’s book Me and My Afro chronicles the adventures of Aiden himself spotting his favorite hairstyle, an afro, as he navigates his life in his native home of New York. From riding the bus to playing basketball, his afro was always with him.
“People need inspiration,” Taylor told ABC 11. “They’re probably feeling down. Because of the pandemic, kids can’t play outside. They have to wear masks, and that’s wack. So I decided to make a book about self-love, and that would get them energetic and feeling much better.”
The young author and his mentor from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City mentoring organization, Spencer Jaffe, have been nurturing their relationship for three years.
Their bond grew instantaneously because the two have very similar personalities. Jaffe has even picked up a thing or two from his mentee even though he is the big brother.
“He is a really strong go-getter, and he works really hard to accomplish his goals. It’s honestly something I can learn a lot from,” Jaffe who encouraged Taylor to write the book said.
The 27-year-old could not meet Taylor physically because we are not in ordinary times, but that did not prevent him from coaching him and even edit his 26-page script over Zoom.
“Aiden’s book has inspired so many kids already … I might be the big brother, but I learn from Aiden every day,” he said.
After doing some editing the pair also hangout the safe way, via the video calling app talking about things they both have an interest in sports or play chess virtually. According to Taylor, he needs to up his game since he is yet to win a match between the two.
Monique, the young boy’s mother also played a pivotal role in putting the book together. The young lad jokingly said he hired his mother to lead negotiations and help his vision come to reality, working mostly with the publishers and illustrators.
Me and My Afro came out in August of 2020 along with its coloring book and has sold over 1,400 copies and counting. The young author says his first book is certainly not his last as he aspires to be an author because he loves to write.
“Writing’s very fun,” he says, “and I want to keep inspiring other kids.”
Taylor feels accomplished because he set out to help young kids deal with the pandemic and attain self-love in the process and both seem to be going well. He wants children to love themselves and their hair as they are and for them to strive to leaders in whatever field they find themselves.