Coloring with Shayla McGhee
Sistah Girls, many of us have families and though we love our families, being in a house with our loved ones can drive you crazy!! And if you have small kids at home with you…well, let’s just say that that can be another challenge.
For many families, it’s back-to-school time. Some children are having to sit in front of a computer ALL DAY! That is exhausting for anybody, let alone kids. Well, I discovered a hidden gem that I just had to share with my sistahs…coloring books that feature us!
First of all, who remembers coloring? Do kids today color? Those were questions I had when I came across a coloring book that was independently published by a sistah, y’all!
I recently got a chance to interview author Shayla McGhee about her beautiful coloring books and I learned what inspired her to create something with our children in mind…
The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
SGBC: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what made you write a coloring book.
Shayla McGhee: I’m married and I have three children (a daughter who is 7 and twins–boy & girl, and they are three). I work as a Technology Specialist at an elementary school.
I started writing when I was young. I have created blogs for the Georgia Public Broadcasting Channel (GPB) as well as produced a short documentary on civil rights.
My children inspire me. My daughter and I co-authored a children’s book called Payton Goes to London. They love to color and in buying books for them, I noticed that there were not a lot of coloring books that feature African-American kids.
Your coloring book is really beautiful! I noticed that in addition to coloring pages your coloring books have lots of affirmations and positive phrases. What made you add them?
Shayla McGhee: It’s so important for our kids to see themselves in a positive light. Representation is important because you never know when kids are internalizing negativity.
When there is a lack of our images, then other authors can control what they may think of us, and often times it is negative or could even be stereotypes. It’s important for us to write our own stories, that’s why I encouraged the writing of Payton Goes to London, which arose from our family vacation.
We live in a tech-heavy world, you yourself are a Technology Specialist for an elementary school. Why is important for children to color?
Shayla McGhee: Coloring is great for kids and adults, too. It helps us all to relax–it’s the gateway to calm. Coloring inspires creativity and helps children with their fine motor skills and dexterity. It lessens anxiety and can be therapeutic for kids.
One of your coloring books is entitled I Am Bright, Bold, and Beautiful! It features a beautiful Black girl on the cover, what made you highlight Black girls first?
Shayla McGhee: My daughters, Payton and Riley were my inspiration for this book. At the time of its publication, there was this huge girl empowerment happening in our society, so that coloring book came out faster.
It was also easier to publish because I’m a girl! However, boys are different. I had to be much more observant and actually study my son. I’m happy to say my coloring book for boys came out in August. It’s called I Am Smart, Strong, and Successful!
Awesome! Since it looks like we’ll be quarantined a little while longer, we could all benefit from adding some coloring into our lives.
Bonus: Check out I Am Bright, Bold, and Beautiful also by Shayla McGhee.
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