Toronto-based author Kamelah Blair says her eighth and most recent book Teana's Children's Affirmations is entirely from personal experience.
"Teana is actually my middle name and the illustrations for this character are actually based on my third-grade school photo. Teana is here to change the narrative about how children think and feel about themselves daily, as I feel we as a culture need to implement these factors in our children's lives," she told the Jamaica Observer.
Teana's Children's Affirmations was self-published in May by her COJ Bookz.
Blair, who is Jamaican by birth, says she encountered several challenges with this book, but remained undaunted by them.
"This book was a bit challenging as I took on the illustration process myself. There were many days when I just wanted to hire someone to complete the job but that would have been going against everything I believe in; anything you start and put your mind to, you should be able to complete. I learned from the bumps in the road that occurred while writing my first book because there were so many traumatic events I had to relive that led me to take a mental break for three to four weeks," she said.
"Teana's Children's Affirmations has had an overwhelming response as it's geared to a different audience. Teachers and parents [have] gravitated to this book, and its positivity has left an impact," she said.
Her past releases include Don't Give Up and Chronicles of Jane: The Jane Print.
Blair's love for writing was fostered throughout high school and middle school, with support from teachers who encouraged her to one day write a book. One of her books was started in the 11th grade and was later completed during the pandemic as a first step towards a whirlwind of forthcoming releases.
She has high hopes for the impact that her books will have on the intended audience.
"My hope is for these books to be part of a curriculum/therapy for young people to help them understand that no matter what the statistics are, whether it be in your community or in your family," she said.