Holland Jordan is an award-winning childrens’s book author, literacy advocate, mental health clinician, and licensed master social worker (LMSW) who was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army at the rank of Staff Sergeant. She has also been employed as an HIV case manager, school social worker and pre-school teacher. Holland recently retired from her position as a medical social worker for one of the largest healthcare systems in the United States to pursue her love of writing. Holland graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and holds degrees in early childhood development, behavioral science, sociology and a masters in social work. She is a mother, grandmother and mentor to many in her community. Magnificent Mocha Monty is her first children’s book, inspired by her oldest grandson, Monty. Holland divides her time between California and Georgia where her grandchildren live.
One hot summer day, after playing in the backyard, my 3-year-old grandson Monty and I decided to sit down and take a rest. We sat for a few minutes in our lawn chairs not talking but just breathing and enjoying our time together. Out of the blue he looked at me with his big brown eyes and said, "Grandma Abuela, I want to look just like you." Somewhat taken aback by his comment, I asked "You want to wear clothes like Grandma?” He became very quiet, appeared sad, and looked down at his shoes. Without ever looking up at me he said, "No Grandma Abuela, I want my skin to look like yours.” (I have a honey/beige skin tone and Monty has the most beautiful mocha brown skin tone.) In that very moment I felt as if my heart had been ripped out of my body and I could feel a tear forming in my eye. I thought to myself: Who has told my 3-year-old grandson something is wrong with the color of his skin and why? I realized immediately that Monty felt ashamed of his skin. I knelt down in front of him, looked him straight in the eye and replied, “Monty you are magnificent, you are amazing, you are blessed.” The smile that began to form on his face was a sight to see. He pointed his finger at himself and said, “Grandma Abuela, I’m magnificent, I’m amazing.” I replied, “You are Magnificent Mocha Monty with the most Magnificent Mocha skin.” He began running around the yard shouting to his mom who was in the house. “Grandma Abuela says I am magnificent and amazing; I am Magnificent Mocha Monty!” When children are taught to “Love the skin they’re in” and encouraged to celebrate who they are, children will believe they can achieve anything. Telling kids how awesome and incredible they are must be a 365-day-a-year ritual. Magnificent Mocha Monty builds self-esteem and promotes self-confidence in children of color; however, this book is not solely written for one demographic. It is important for all children to see and read about kids who are different than they are and to see them in a positive light. When we open up our children's hearts and minds at a very early age to diversity and inclusion, they grow up to become adults who treat others with dignity and respect. It is my goal to promote acceptance of diversity to children of all colors one book at a time!
- Mosaku Ogooluwa & Illustrationpal Sam, Illustrators -
Mosaku Ogooluwa, a Renaissance visual artist from Nigeria, is the CEO of Goldinhma Creativity. In addition to illustration, he has a wide knowledge in 2D/3D arts and design, VFX, motion graphics, animation, sound design, crafts making and other art forms. Illustrationpal/Sam is an experienced, dedicated and professional illustrator who excels in vector portraits, caricatures, color pencil and digital illustrations. He is very passionate about his work and loves to tell stories through his illustrations.