The We Belong Bunch: Pookie J. 's School Day Book Review and Interview with Authors Dr. Samuel and Angela Johnson
“When we’re talking about diversity, it ‘s not a box to check. It is a reality that should be deeply felt and held and valued by all of us.” Ava DuVernay
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
With all that is going on in our society, there seems to be an uprising of disrespect or a lack of empathy for people. Our children learn from the adults concerning how they should treat others that don’t necessarily look like or share their same beliefs. This book was written as an effort for students, parents, teachers, and community members to communicate the idea that “We all Belong” despite our differences.I have been an educator of children for close to 18 years. I am a graduate of The Ohio State University, Wright State University, and Howard University. I am married to co-author of the “We Belong Bunch” Angela Johnson.
What made you want to write books for children?
Thank you so much! I wanted to write a song that depicted the theme of the book that could connect with both children and adults. I wrote the lyrics, Rob Hittz composed the music, while Sid Johnson served as the producer. Sid Johnson co-wrote the 80’s hits called “Slow Jam” by Midnight Star and “Two Occasions by a group called the Deele which featured Babyface. The vocals were provided by Mark Scott from Cincinnati who did just a fantastic job on the track. Lastly, we released a song that would coincide with the book because music makes things come alive. The song and animated video allow the opportunity for the characters to jump off the page while spreading a positive message.I love the "You're My Friend " song. How did you come up with that song? What made you put a song with the book?
What do you plan on doing next in terms of children's literature?
We are planning on releasing the second book in “The We Belong Bunch” series.
What was one of the most surprising thing you learned in creating this book/project?
We were trying to ensure that we wrote a book that would enlighten our readers and really tried to touch on the themes of friendship, embracing differences, grit, and the adults being role models for children. We really tried to attempt to tie all those themes together as best we could so the readers could really get something out of it.
Where can people buy your book?
Amazon and Barnes and Noble.