WHILE THE pandemic-induced lockdown has prompted overindulgence in food and drink, a Birmingham mother has taken inspirational steps to ensure that doesn’t happen in her household.
Selina Brown has released her debut self-published illustrated children’s book, Nena: The Green Juice, while looking after her two-year-old daughter during lockdown, aiming to teach youngsters the importance of healthy eating.
The idea for the self-funded book came after noticing how claustrophobic her daughter, but also the young children in her family, were feeling and how unhealthily they were eating. Keen to support the NHS’ messaging on the link between a balanced diet, good immunity and temperament, Selina put pen to paper.
I would love for this book to motivate young children to eat their veggies at dinner time.
Suitable for children aged up to 10-years-old, the book tells the story of 5-year-old Nena, a black girl with a big afro, as she creates her first-ever green juice using ingredients like kale and apples. Her journey ends with a big surprise.
Selina said of her new book: “I was at home during lockdown seeing the children around me eating unhealthily. Given we were in the midst of a pandemic, it was extremely worrying as I knew how this could negatively affect their immune system. I wanted to create a change so I wrote a book that brings the fun into fruits and vegetables.
“I would love for this book to motivate young children to eat their veggies at dinner time or inspire a family to make a green juice together. Green juice is a staple part of my and my daughter’s lifestyle – we drink one at least three times a week which has such a powerful impact on our health from increased energy to better concentration and for me and clear skin.”
Written and released against the backdrop of COVID-19 and the imminence of the winter flu season, the book reflects the concern of many parents on how to explain the importance of nutrition to young children. Merging the knowledge into a fictional story makes this information much easier for children understand, as Selina explained.
“My overall wish is that every child that reads Nena: The Green Juice will fall in love with eating healthily and taking care of their bodies. Or at the bare minimum, eat two pieces of veg!”
‘Nena’ was created to resemble the children in Selina’s family – just 1% of children’s books published in the UK in 2017 featured a Black or minority ethnic main character, according to the Reflecting Realities study by the Centre for Literary in Primary Education.
“It was important to me that the main character was Black as you don’t see many books with a young Black female character with a fluffy afro on the cover,” Selina continued. “Representation and diversity in books really matter to me as young Black children need to see positive images of themselves. I have been getting so much positive feedback from my children that have read the book, they are finally happy to see someone who looks just like them.”
“As Coronavirus has a higher rate of infection in the Black community, we need to be talking to children about health from as early as possible.”
Nena: The Green Juice is now available on Amazon