Monday, January 17, 2022

The Dream Had Intention

By Tara Michener

Around our globe, the world is looking at our incredible leader... Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I have been thinking very intentionally about Dr. King's work, his life, and his legacy as of late. I have been following his daughter, Bernice King, who leads the King Center and does amazing work on Twitter. Her efforts to uphold and preserve who her dad was and his vision is inspiring. One of the reoccurring themes that Bernice reminds often of in her tweets is that those who invoke King's name should do it respectfully. She is clear that he would not be pleased with watered-down perspectives of his message, his heart towards change and equity, and the fact that he was killed because of his work. When we talk to young people and use children's books to paint a picture of who Dr. King was, it is important not to take away from the fact that his legacy is still in need of protection but also the fact that we all can make a change in small or larger ways towards the footprint that was left for us by Dr. King. As creators, we can ask ourselves if we help with equity and inclusion in our own ways. Do we take opportunities to stand up for others? Do we look at how our work can leave a legacy for our readers? Do we think about how our words and images have an impact on readers who may not look like us and try to see things from their lens? We all have work to do and an incredible dreamer and leader set the stage for us to grow...let's do it together. This day is not just for a day off, a sale, or a vacation. It is for us to remember that a caring man died for freedom and that freedom has not yet been realized for all just yet. We have work to do. 

A New Year can be known for bringing forth new goals and challenges. As the E&I Chair, I am inspired to highlight books and authors that are allowing readers to both learn about cultures and people different than them but also to embrace the importance of representation and for each reader to have the opportunity to see themselves showcased in books as well. As leaders in kid lit we get to have a lasting impact on kids' impressions of themselves and others. I want to begin a new corner where we highlight and embrace what is on my bookshelf. I am calling this feature “On the Shelf.” If you want your book highlighted please let us know! Please be sure to look out for reviews and also for ideas that can allow you and your network to embrace and encourage the beauty of children’s books. The writers and illustrators creating bridges to empathy, understanding and equity are worthy of being acknowledged but they do not always get the author visits, the reviews or the positive feedback…I plan on using my 2022 to help to make that a goal.


Read Something Great!

Tara Michener is the author of six children's books that focus on self-esteem, diversity and anti-bullying. She is a TEDx speaker, therapist and owns her own private practice in Novi, MI. Tara has been recognized in publications such as Prevention Magazine, Essence Magazine, FREEP and more! She is the Committee Chair of E&I at SCBWI-MI. Her favorite days usually include spending time with her hubistrator, Jason, her son Cannon and her favorite snack Twizzlers and Diet Coke. You can follow her on Twitter @Taramichener.  


  1. Thanks for this wonderful post Tara. I am eager to see what is On the Shelf and to make some recommendations for it too. -Celeste

  2. Wow! Great article. Thanks for bringing Dr. King's Dream to life in relation to us authors. Let's move forward and create books with content that highlight life, dreams, goals, and truth.

  3. Thank you for your thoughtful words, Tara. Looking forward to learning more about the books and authors/illustrators you'll be highlighting in "On the Shelf."

  4. Thanks, Tara for this. And it's so great to see your smiling face again!!!! Hugs,

  5. Appreciating your insights and encouragement, Tara.