Activist and athlete Colin Kaepernick is ensuring Black, and Brown youth see themselves reflected in the literature they consume. According to People, he recently released a children’s book titled “I Color Myself Different.”
The book—which hit shelves on April 5th—explores the concepts of self-identity and self-love through Kaepernick’s childhood experiences. The story recounts a time when he was tasked with creating an illustration of his family at the age of five, a pivotal moment in which he truly embraced his Black identity.
“I drew my white adoptive family with a yellow crayon and then picked up a brown crayon to draw myself,” he shared in a statement. “This revelatory moment taught me an important lesson about embracing my Black identity through the power of self-love and eventually helped me to understand how my brown skin was connected to my Blackness. Above all, I hope that I Color Myself Different can inspire young people to embrace their power, love themselves and walk in the truth of their own path.”
The powerful piece of literature—including imagery created by illustrator Eric Wilkerson—is the first book to be released under a deal Kaepernick inked with the publishing company Scholastic last July.
Books like “I Color Myself Different” will help advance representation within children’s literature. Research shows although there has been an increase in diversity within the pages of books, Black authors and characters remain significantly underrepresented. Kaepernick is on a mission to change the narrative through his partnership with Scholastic. “I’m excited for Kaepernick Publishing to be collaborating with Scholastic on books with Black and Brown voices at the forefront. I hope that our books will inspire readers to walk through the world with confidence, strength, and truth in all they do,” he shared.
Many athletes are putting the focus on empowering youth through literature. NFL player Russell Wilson and his wife, songstress Ciara released a children’s book titled “Why Not You?” to inspire youngsters to eliminate self-doubt and follow their dreams.