Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Book Nook - The Little Regent


As the election season heats up and insults fly, a children’s author is using her creative voice and talent to help children understand what it means to be a good leader. 

The Little Regent is the fifth children’s book by author Yewande Daniel-Ayoade since 2019, but her first book that focuses on what it means to serve as a leader and put others ahead of your own self interest. The book tells the story of a little girl that is tasked with ruling her West African village and how she breaks from tradition and leads with her heart.

I had a chance to interview Yewande to learn more.

Why did you write this book?

This story was initially inspired by my children’s love for Disney Princesses. I saw how much they loved shows featuring princesses, and I wanted to write them a story about an African princess, as a way to share my culture with them. 

This story idea also came to me during election season, so I decided to make the theme of the story about what it means to be a good leader.

And finally, the key line in the book: those who will rule must first learn to serve, was inspired by a Bible verse in Matthew: “whoever would be great among you must be your servant”.  

Why is it important for kids to learn about what makes a good leader?
From a very young age, kids begin to be presented with opportunities to lead - whether it is leading a line at school, overseeing a family activity, directing younger siblings to complete tasks, or participating in clubs. For this reason, it is never too early to talk to kids about the right way to lead others.  Kids should be taught that leadership means speaking up and taking action, showing empathy for others, and demonstrating humility. If they begin to learn these skills at a young age, they will carry the lessons with them into their teenage and then adult years.

How can families use this book to tie into discussions about leaders in their own community?
During this election season, The Little Regent will make a great resource to talk to kids about what type of leaders they should follow. Using the practical examples in the book, parents and teachers can challenge kids to think about what types of characteristics they should look for in the people elected to serve. Outside of election season, the book can be used to teach kids that they can serve their communities even at a young age, just by being attuned to the real needs of those around them, and thinking about ways that they can meet those needs.

Born in Nigeria, Yewande immigrated to the United States in 2003 before moving to Canada in 2010. As a mother of five, she was compelled to write her latest book after witnessing how the profile of elected leaders has shifted from humble and service-minded, to brash and arrogant. The book reflects her desire that children understand that true leaders serve with empathy. 

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