There was so much happening in my personal life in that moment. My divorce had been finalized the month before. I had gone through some health matters over the past year.
From a writing point of view, my first picture book, Malaika's Costume, was released on March 5. At the time, I was the author of three books, Sankofa Music and Media were released in 2015. I did my first ever school visit in February 2023, in NYC at my nephew's school. I was a "baby author" trying to cut my teeth at this new career path, whilst also preparing to move to the Middle East to teach in August 2016. My signature peacock blue African dress was so big when I bought that I had it altered. I didn't have Malik, my signature peacock, yet. I was still teaching elementary school while all of this was happening.
My friend Susan invited me to present at her school in the Waterloo District School Board (WDSB). Although, by then I had been teaching for over ten years, and had twenty years of experiencing with groups of children, I was still so green and nervous. I stayed up late the night before, prepping my presentation, and then eventually drove myself over an hour away to Waterloo, a mid-sized city where we both attended university.
I totally underestimated the drive and arrived late. But, fortunately, I was able to deliver three sessions and the school took advantage of the Writers in the Schools (WITHS) bursary through the Writers Union of Canada (TWUC). Everyone loved it and I got to hang out with my friend.
Since then, I have learned a lot about presenting my stories at schools and now I have more books to share. And I've let out my signature blue peacock dress.