Dr. Kimberly P. Johnson and Dr. Bernice A. King signing copies of their new children’s book at the New Black Wall Street. (Photo by: Madeline Thigpen/The Atlanta Voice)

Authors Dr. Bernice A. King and Dr. Kimberly P. Johnson were at the Early Literacy Development Agency Bookstore at New Black Wall Street in Stonecrest, Georgia, signing copies of their new children’s book “It Starts With Me!”

Published by The King Center, the book follows a little girl named Amora who is encouraging her friends to “Be Love.”

Amora’s name was inspired by the word “amour,” the French equivalent of the word “love.”  “Amora” is also a reference to the “Be Love” campaign launched by the King Center in 2021 to promote non-violence and social justice.

“That campaign was tapping into something that my father said about love and its capacity to champion for justice,” said King.

“Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love,” said Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his speech at the 1967 convention of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Dr. Bernice A. King went on to say that in the current polarized political climate, she wanted kids to understand the power love has to transform and break the cycle of violence.

“Non-violence is hard work,” Johnson said. She further stated that her goal was to make the message digestible for children, so they understand the value they can bring to society.

Both authors spoke about their desire for kids to understand that love and non-violence are holistic concepts.

“Violence is not only physical; policies can be violent too,” King said. 

Johnson said the authors wanted the book to be for families, not just for the children.

“Parents are the child’s first teachers,” she said. “It’s about changing the dynamics of a household to transform a house into a home.”

A few signed copies of “It Starts With Me” are for sale at the ELDA Bookstore. The book can also be purchased via The King Center website, at https://thekingcenter.myshopify.com/collections/for-kids.

Madeline Thigpen is an education reporter and Report for America Corps Member. She joined the Atlanta Voice in 2021. At the Voice she covers K-12 education for the Atlanta metro region and higher education....