By Jermaine Rowley | fox43
LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — An active leader in Lancaster refugee communities is taking a creative approach to inform children and their parents about multi-cultural identity. James Magot, 40, a former South-Sudanese “Lost Boy” refugee is developing his first children’s storybook with the help of illustrator Tess Feiler and a few other local collaborators in honor of his 20th anniversary of arriving in America.
“I’ve always felt as if I am stuck between two cultures and two homes – the United States and Southern Sudan – but I’ve learned to love and accept it,” said Magot in a press release. “Now that I have three mixed-race children of my own that were born in Lancaster, I can see that they are often torn between identifying with their African, Dinka tribe roots, and their Caucasian-American roots.”
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Magot says he hoping this storybook helps children with multi-cultural identities embrace all aspects of their cultural heritage.
The idea of helping minority children is what caused Felier to hop on the project to illustrate the story. She is hoping these children will feel more represented when reading a book.
According to data gathered by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, they received a 0.5% increase in books featuring significant Black and African content from 2018 to 2019. Feiler says the industry is missing more inclusivity of children of color.
“We’re getting close to a character creation,” said Feiler. “We’re getting close to working on the story itself and like having the words ready to go so that can be brought to life through the illustrations.”
Ultimately, Magot hopes the book will help children confused about their multi-cultural background to gain more of an identity.
“If you tell your kids to love themselves and love all the cultures that they came from and the background they from or both background what they came from and grew up like that, they can become somebody important someday in life,” says Magot.
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