By Yolanda T. Marshall
Tonna Thomas is a Grenadian Canadian mother and author of “Beautiful Like My Heart.” She is a Registered Early Childhood Educator who revels in the joys of motherhood and adventures with her son. This is Tonna’s first book, told from the child’s perspective, as he invites readers into a joyful journey about resilience, persistence, and self-esteem. The bond between mother and child is felt as the story leaves a beautiful warmth in your heart.
When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
Tonna: At the age of seven, I knew I loved writing. Still, I never imagined becoming a writer. I always compared authors to magicians who wave their magic wands and let people into their most treasured moments, where their imagination and inspiration collide to create magic. But all that changed when I experienced a genuinely heartwarming moment with my son (during the pandemic) when he uttered the words “You’re beautiful like my heart, mommy.” This moment gave life to the beginning of my authoring journey and my first children’s book. Through this endeavour, I want to remind parents that children are aware of their continuous sacrifices and are appreciative of their efforts and help them realise how much they are loved and appreciated. Most importantly, I want to redefine the word Beautiful, so children and youth can learn that their joy, love, kindness, and everything else that they possess within them makes them the most beautiful being.
What are some of the feedback you get from your readers?
T: Children who read it said the story inspired them because they tell each other how they feel. They noticed and loved the cultural reference. The bright colour in the book reflects happiness, and the colourful illustrations show the brightness of the world. The mom and the son are usually happy and smiling in the story, but when they’re not, they support and care for each other. Adults who read my book said it is amazing for young children. The book contains amazing lyrics and stupendous graphics. The words in the book touch their heart, and they enjoy reading it and can’t wait to read more meaningful books from the author. It is an amazing book for children to bond over while enjoying reading. Grown-ups agree that it is a winning tale which teaches children about strong self-esteem and loving who they are—a beautiful story with a beautiful message in which children can see themselves represented.
No Bootstraps When You’re Barefoot: My rise from a Jamaican plantation shack to the boardrooms of Bay Street.
Written by Wes Hall, executive chairman and founder of Kingsdale Advisors and Canada’s preeminent leader in shareholder advisory services.
“From one of Canada’s most successful business leaders, the founder of the BlackNorth Initiative and the newest and first Black Dragon in the Dragon’s Den comes a rags-to-riches story that also carries a profound message of hope and change. Wes Hall spent his early childhood in a zinc-roofed shack, one of several children supported by his grandmother. That was paradise compared to the two years he lived with his verbally abusive and violent mother. With the founding of the BlackNorth Initiative, Wes aims to end systemic anti-Black racism. It’s a huge goal, but he’s tackling it with heart, soul, smarts, and every connection he’s made in an extraordinary career that’s taken him to the centre of the Canadian establishment.” – Random House Canada, 2022.
Horizon, Sea, Sound: Caribbean and African Women’s Cultural Critiques of Nation
Written by Andrea A. Davis, an associate professor in the Department of Humanities at York University, Toronto, and co-editor of The Journal of Canadian Studies. She is also the editor of Jamaica in the Canadian Experience: A Multiculturalizing Presence.
“In Horizon, Sea, Sound: Caribbean and African Women’s Cultural Critiques of Nation, Andrea Davis imagines new reciprocal relationships beyond the competitive forms of belonging suggested by the nation-state. The book employs the tropes of horizon, sea, and sound as a critique of nation-state discourses and formations, including multicultural citizenship, racial capitalism, settler colonialism, and the hierarchical nuclear family.” – Northwestern University Press, 2022.
My Little Trouble: A story about patience
Written by Onaolapo Dagunduro, a Nigerian-born children’s book author based in Edmonton, Alberta.
“My Little Trouble is a story about patience, especially when life (or siblings) seems to throw things off course. This is a great story to help children learn about the art of working together with their friends or siblings … patiently!” – Onaolapo Dagunduro, 2022. Please visit the author’s website for more titles www.onaolapo.ca