Atlanta, GA — Executive Director of Fathers Incorporated; Kenneth Braswell is no stranger to finding ways to help his community address sensitive subjects. His professional career is currently grounded in running his 11 year old not-for-profit in an effort to build the capacity of fathers to be build stronger families. Fast-forward thousands of articles, three books and two documentaries later, Braswell has turned his attention to children’s literature.
Braswell’s newest venture Daddy, There’s a Noise Outside, takes the complex issue of protesting and breaks the conversation down so that a 1st grader can understand. “The idea came when my 6-year-old son asked my wife why was I in Baltimore on the day that the indictments were issued on the six police in the Freddie Gray case,” says Braswell. “To which she said to him; Wait till your father comes home, and ask him.” That explanation transformed into a 24-page children’s book focused on helping 1st-3rd graders understand the nuances of protest.
The story begins when two children are awakened by noises in the middle of the night outside the window of their inner-city neighborhood. Both their Dad and Mom spend the next morning explaining to them what was taking place in their community.
A recent article by Daniel José Older of The Guardian speaks to the low percentages of children’s books written depicting African American characters. The article entitled, “Do black children’s lives matter if nobody writes about them”, states that in 2014, only 5% of the 3,500 children’s books published were about black characters. “There is a huge opportunity for Black authors to use children literature to education them on current societal issues,” says Braswell. The book is illustrated by up Atlanta resident Joe Dent and New York artist Julie Anderson.