In a social climate where the value of black lives in America is often questioned, one author has elected to draw on history to remind today’s youth of their powerful origins. Barbara Solomon, founder of Adzua Arts and author of the Princess Kamala book series, has for several years dedicated her work to creating animated children’s books that offer enjoyable storylines and share valuable and empowering lessons from pre-colonial Africa. Most importantly, they remind young people of a fact which many are unaware – that they were derived from kings and queens.
“The Africa that I present is not filtered through someone else’s lenses, Solomon said. “Most of what we see is re-filtered and re-lensed in terms of who we aren’t. We need to teach our kids who they are. That is what I have set out to do. Pop culture is not going to do it.”
Currently, the New York native has self-published four books with a fifth on the way. While stories like ‘The Frog Who Could Not Jump’ were inspired by her grandchildren, another, ‘Princess Kamala – The Lost Boy,’ is dedicated to Trayvon Martin. One book was inspired by President Barack Obama. The content is Christian themed and ranges from lessons on anger management and conflict resolution, to leadership, family and relationships. The books are for children ages 5 to 15.
Solomon’s interest in telling stories stems from her past as a dancer and her passion for culture and the arts. To her, dance is a form of visual storytelling which made it easy for her to transfer that creativity to her writing. She was influenced by figures like Alvin Ailey, Kweisi Mfume, Marcus Garvey, Ida B Wells and former Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba. Solomon is very active. She is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the NAACP Act-So program for youth and a board member of the African American Cultural Society in Palm Coast, FL.