5.0 out of 5 stars“Aria’s Crown” inspires black girls to hold head high and set no limits
October 24, 2018
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
In a world where black girls often are negatively labeled and marginalized, new children’s book “Aria’s Crown” regally enters and bestows messages of affirmation, encouragement and self love to those who have yet to discover their own crowns.
The book, beautifully written and illustrated, begins with 5-year-old Aria arriving at her grandmother’s home, full of angst about her school day. Grandparents’ Day is the next day, and the students made cards and talked about what they call their grandparents.
There were the usual Grandmas, Nanas, Gigis, and Grammies. But Aria has a special name for her grandmother. When she tells the class that she calls her grandma Queen, the kids ridicule her, saying her grandmother is not a queen because she has no castle, throne or crown.
Rubbish. It was time, Queen said, for Aria to “discover the greatness that is placed inside of you.”
Together, they Google the definition of queen and find that she is a woman who rules and is powerful within a family. Queen explains that she chose that name because she wanted Aria to know she is “connected to something greater than yourself.”
“I take care of my family. I help people in my community. I stand up for what I believe. And I try to do the right thing. To me, that’s what a queen is.”
Other lessons: No one can stop you from learning; when you do your best, good things can happen; no aspiration is too great.
Though Aria can’t see it, she knows her crown is there because she has connections. And she and Queen figure out a way to connect their names.
The book’s messages, through words and illustrations, are thought provoking for adults as well as children. An example is the illustration of the foyer with its “I Am A Man” picture on the wall that shows a physical label as well as a plaintive declaration.
This jewel of a book is like a diamond that emerges from the harshest conditions, beautiful and brilliant and ready for young queens to adorn their crowns.
By Karanja A. Ajanaku
People discover their missions in
life in myriad ways, with others often
the beneficiaries of the discovery. On
Tuesday (Oct. 16), mission-minded
Bettinita Harris debuted as a children’s
book author, gifting readers
with “Aria’s Crown.”
In the book, Aria’s grandmother
has been anticipating going to school
with her granddaughter on Grandparent’s
Day ever since Aria was born
five years ago.
The story of “Aria’s
Crown” begins the day before Grandparent’s
Day and finds Aria without
an ounce of excitement.
To Aria, her grandmother is
But when she told the kids
at school that, they laughed mightily.
Harris, whose award-winning journalism
career spanned 20 years and
included a noteworthy stretch as a
deputy metro desk editor in Memphis
at The Commercial Appeal, weaves a
remedy to Aria’s melancholy in what
is the first book in the Sisters for Life,
Best Friends Forever series that she
created via Colored Girl Wisdom,
Three years ago, Harris, who now
lives in West Chester, Pa., was working
as a substitute teacher. While at
lunch, a conversation with co-workers
turned to what each would be doing
for the summer. When she shared
that her daughter was about to give
birth to Harris’ second granddaughter,
a teacher asked what her granddaughter
“I said, ‘She calls me Queen-A.’
She said, ‘Why does she call you
Queen-A?’ I told her that I told my
daughter that I wanted to be called
‘Queen’ because I wanted my granddaughter
to know from the very beginning
that she was associated with
something bigger than herself and
that she could become whoever she
wanted to be.”
The teacher told Harris that she
should write a children’s book about
her granddaughter and the lessons
Harris was teaching her, adding that
it was Harris’ mission in life to do so.
“I was floored,” Harris recalled.
“It was like the world stood still.”
Over the next month or so, Harris
said she received “confirmation after
confirmation” that the teacher was
Colored Girl Wisdom was created
to “encourage, inspire and empower
black girls to embrace who they are
in a world where they are invisible.”
you can see and hear Harris tell about
the making of Colored Girl Wisdom,
LLC and its first book, “Aria’s
Crown,” which is accented will the
illustrations of Nadica Zlatkova Miteyska.
As Harris started writing the book,
she drew upon conversations with
her real-life granddaughter, Aria, and
soon realized that some of the issues
they were discussing were the same
issues she discussed with her mother
when she was a young girl.
Issues such as hair and the color of
your skin, Harris said.
“And when I am talking to her
(Aria), I am talking to my five-yearold
self, reaffirming to her that she
is OK. God made her this way. It
doesn’t matter what the world says.
If God made your nose wide, if God
gave you thick lips, if God gave you
kinky hair, it must be OK.
“That’s the reason I do it,” Harris
said of her children’s book mission.
“I want my granddaughters to realize
that, you know what, they are OK. I
want everybody to feel like that.”
Naming the multimedia company
“Colored Girl” is somewhat of a nod
to Harris’ mother.
“She was so old school,” Harris
detailed. “When we were growing
up, at the time, we were called black,
African American. My mother never
quite made the transition. Every once
in a while she would slip and say colored.
So, I named it Colored Girl because
I never stopped being colored
“In The Bible it says if you lack
wisdom, ask God for it. He will give
it to you generously. So everyday I
ask for wisdom: Wisdom to be a good
wife, wisdom to be a good mother,
wisdom to be a good grandmother,
wisdom to be a good member of the
community. I ask every day and every
day He gives it to me.”
Harris said her use of “Queen” is
designed to create a standard, how
you carry yourself.
“Queen is that your name is associated
with integrity and quality. Queen
is you stand up for yourself. Queen is
you stand up for your family. Queen
is you stand up for your community.
Queen is how you show up in the
“It has to do with the standard by
which you hold yourself accountable.
You hold yourself accountable for
how you show up. You hold yourself
accountable for how you allow people
to treat you. … Stand in your own
power. You make your decisions, and
if you have to walk alone, you walk
(For more information, including
how to purchase, visit https://www.
coloredgirlwisdom.com/. Her email
Author: Bettinita Harris
Illustrator: Nadica Zlatkova Miteyska
Children’s book-mission yields
“Aria’s Crown” in series debut