Taraji P. Henson is known for her incredible Golden Globe-winning roles and her passion for mental health. This passion is bringing her back into the literature world in the form of a children’s book. Read on to learn more about this new chapter for Taraji P. Henson!
Taraji P. Henson is an Oscar-nominated, Golden Globe-winning actress and singer. In addition to this, she is known as a mental health advocate. This fiery passion is lighting her path straight to the literary world. Henson’s new children’s book, You Can Be a Good Friend (No Matter What), is illustrated by Paul Kellam and will be released on June 18, 2024.
Henson’s Life Mission
By Time, Henson was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2016. This reputation is certainly indisputable. In fact, her positive influence is only continuing to stretch its boundaries. It is important to first note where this drive is sourced from. She has been very expressive about her personal struggles with mental health, along with how mental health has affected her family. She lost her father in years past, who had suffered from untreated mental illness that was brought about by his service in the Vietnam War. This experience motivated her to create the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation in 2018, which:
“As a pioneering Black mental health advocacy group, BLHF aims to empower individuals to embrace their history, heritage, and collective wounds in empathic and transformative ways.”https://borislhensonfoundation.org/
Expanding Influence to the Younger Generation
While she continues to work to provide mental health support for the Black community, she now wants to reach the younger generation. This new children’s book will focus on addressing the roots of mental health issues, which start during adolescence. The story follows a young girl named Lil TJ who is experiencing bullying from a classmate. On the first day of school, she can’t help but notice how she sticks out among her peers. When she begins to receive teasing, she seeks advice from her family to determine what to do. The plot intends to give representation to different types of people and introduce kids to the value of individuality. Through the progression of the story, she hopes kids will learn to be confident in their unique qualities.
The story is fun and quirky, but it opens a conversation for parents and teachers that can be challenging to introduce to children. Navigating the transition to the teenage years can be hard on both the parents and kids. It is important to teach kids these foundational lessons about exercising empathy, confidence, and understanding their own emotions at a young age. Henson hopes this book will create a more positive space for children and reduce the possibility of future struggles with mental health in adulthood.
If you’re looking for a book to add to your classroom shelves or your kid’s at-home stack, this story is the perfect choice. Keep an eye out for You Can Be a Good Friend (No Matter What) this summer.