The “Adventure” of Reading…

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Carolyn’s Mother

Fulfilling the dream of author Carolyn Brown Poitier has become a life changing mission and will one day produce a supernatural legacy for Dr. Sherrie Poitier-Liscombe. DNA is a life definer, yet it is the recognition of purpose and The Adventure of pursuit that solidified a life legacy. In the 1970’s, early 80’s, Carolyn Brown Poitier had a dream that her African American daughter would be more than just an intelligent lawyer or doctor. She believed with all that lay within her that Sherrie would be a storybook character who taught children about love that invokes miracles. Carolyn took her brilliant daughter, as she reminded Sherrie daily, to the library every Saturday, and she was saddened by the fact that the books Sherrie read were filled with characters that looked nothing like Sherrie. All the wonderful stories like Judy Blume and Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys all donned the dominate race with tales of intelligent, fearless, tenacious young people who were like Sherrie in personality but not in race.

Carolyn, an author like her mother with the only difference being Alma was a published author, decided  that she too had the gift of writing and that she owed it to Sherrie to write an adventure where Sherrie could see herself in the character and that she too portrayed a worthwhile story. Carolyn believed the DNA was there and she too could write with God’s blessing. It was like she was David from the Bible. The ability to triumph was deep in her spirit, but the fight for equality had been so overwhelming in her life that God had to pass this battle over to her offspring, Sherrie as David had to pass building the temple over to Solomon. Carolyn’s work was to lay the foundation and teach Sherrie that we have what it takes to be role models, book characters, lights to the to the world, and empowering to society’s double negative.

In Carolyn’s day, black women had two negativities to overcome: being black and being a woman. She was determined to ensure Sherrie would not have to fight that battle; she would just benefit from all the fights of her mother. It was never spoken that I would complete the dream… The Adventures of Sherrie & Chubbie would be passed to me, but when my mother passed before her 43rd birthday, I knew the dream could not die within her.  It was the end of my first year in college; I returned home on the Monday, and she returned to her Creator on the Thursday, leaving me with an assignment of tremendous proportions. As I battled to press on after this tragedy, the book seemed lost in the recovery of my existence. I spent many years figuring out what my purpose was un-til God sent me my “Judah” to pull me out of denial and the “pit.” Becoming pregnant with my Jade allowed me to see my life was for others, not myself. September 1, 1993, Jade was born, and my life began!

With my bachelor’s degree, a BBA in Management 8/1994, I knew I could not continue to self-indulge and miss my life‘s call. I realized my purpose was to bring hope, unconditional love, and life changing skills to at-risk/fragile/hurting youth, but to what extent escaped me until my first job at Plantation Middle School. It was there that I realized my capacity to love, restore, engage, and save lives as I allowed God to use my gifts; He opened my eyes to the supernatural.

I was empowered to take eighth grade and eventually high school non-readers to heights they had never seen and change their mind about reading and education, by giving them enough support to giving them enough support to change their academic trajectory. Not that I did any of these miracles, but I was used to accomplish that everywhere I went from Plantation Middle School, Dillard High School, Whiddon Rogers Education Center, to the Broward County Public School District Office of Equity & Diversity where I work with Department of Juvenile Justice involved youth. I have had the ability through the gifts God has placed inside me to replicate this supernatural progression. As I surrendered more and more, God downloaded more gifts into me.

I have always been an exceptional writer, I nick named myself “The Wordsmith,” because I am an award winning poet, I have published articles and in my adult life, a published dissertation, but the gift was transformed to the anointed level when I surrendered it to God for His glory. I never imaged I would one day be on the level of children’s series author.

One summer it hit me… honoring my mother would be a step towards finally healing and fulfilling her dream for my life. The book was never about her, but for me and all the little girls that shared my race and deserved to see themselves in a book! So, on one of my sentimental, I miss you mom days, I prayed for remembrance and sat down to re-create The Adventures of Sherrie & Chubbie to one day have it published. In the 80’s my mother shopped the book to several publishing companies, and I remember it like it was yesterday, reading the rejection letters my mother left on the counter as she returned to her room defeated. In almost every letter, were the words the story was adorable and heart-warming, yet there was no market for the book. At that time, I thought it was because Jesus was mentioned. As I became an adult and understood the culture, it had something to do with Jesus, but all to do with an African American main character would not be of interest to mainstream America.

That summer I re-wrote The Adventures of Sherrie & Chubbie, I even had the illustrations my mother drew when I was younger, she was an amazing artist… and I had it professionally edited and proofread several times because I wanted it to be perfect. It was the dream God gave my mother and I wanted to honor it with excellence. In 2005 Hurricane Wilma destroyed my mom’s illustrations and I felt the vision would not come to pass.

None of the publishing houses I would send the book to for publishing the work would claim they did not “take unsolicited work.” There was one group that stated they would publish it in black and white, yet that was not acceptable. In order to appreciate the difference in our hues and tones, there must be color. The point of the book was for little black children to see themselves in the characters and know that they too could be good, unique, and talented. My mother wanted people to know that we too have worth.

After the rejections and the fact that I lost the illustrations, I was discouraged. I imagined this was what my mother felt like, that mainstream America did not believe in her dream or product. I finally found an illustrator, and this gave me hope. I waited months to have her start my project, and that never occurred, but I was determined to press on. I showed the book to a few co-workers and my church. One of the sisters in the women’s group I participated in, SpiritLed Ministries saw an author who self-published her book with beautiful African American characters and suggested I contact her to get information about the illustrations, as I did not know she self-published until I contacted her.

I messaged the author on Facebook, and she was more than happy to share information about illustrations and self-publishing. A week later the project began and The Adventures of Sherrie & Chubbie were born! I had fulfilled my mother’s dream and I was ecstatic… but it was not enough! I was challenged to write a sequel because the book had “Adventures” with an ‘s’ in the title.

My adventure with using my gift on the level God envisioned had begun. I decided to contemplate more. By the end of the summer 2017, I had written seven more books based on the character traits Broward County Public Schools teach. I believe students can learn- progress beyond expectations and love reading if they are given a good foundation once their social, emotional, and physical needs are met. Reading must be relatable to generate engagement. Once they are engaged, they can be exposed to strategies that are fused into the fabric of the reading material.

The Fat Albert Series was one of the masters in preparing children to be good children, yet we did not know that was what was occurring. We thought we were just “hanging with the Junkyard Gang.” The storylines were interesting, relatable, and the characters reminded us of ourselves and our friends. As we enjoyed reading, we gained skills, information, and life lessons. We had no clue that was happening, so we went along for the ride.

Sherrie is a peer counselor/prayer warrior… the modern-day Fat Albert and ‘The Crew’ is the new Junkyard Gang. She is changing lives one story at a time highlighting tales from the real Sherrie’s adventures.

 

Amazingly the accounts are increasing comprehension, identification of words through context clues, developing speed reading, and building vocabulary.  Sherrie is socially preparing her friends with stories that develop integrity, collaborate agape- unconditional love, and build future role models. Sherrie is an every day superhero using her powers for good. The vision for the brand is to have it surpass Harry Potter and become Iconic, with dolls, movies, television shows, comic strips, apparel, bed sheets and pillows, blankets, decorative pillows, and items beyond the present imagination. It is time students see themselves in the books they read and realize how superheroes start as average people who find their purpose and walk in it supernaturally to become who the world can see as legacy. Check out The Adventures of Sherrie & Chubbie, a 15-book series, with three books presently available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and my online store… https://the-adventures-of-sherrie-chubbie-life.myshopify.com/.

 

 

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    About Carma Henry 14473 Articles
    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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