( ENSPIRE News ) Miss Bonita and Friends Create Children’s Book Inspired by Grenadian-Canadian Social Justice Advocate, Dr. Jean Augustine
ENSPIRE Contributor: Natalie Wong
Miss Bonita and Friends, a children’s series of books, web, and television, and musical live shows have released their latest book “The Case of the Girl Who Had to be Perfectly Perfect.” The book is written by Lisa Lallouz, the creator of Miss Bonita and Friends, and Suzzane Coy, a Jamaican-born, African-Canadian Actor/Producer and talent manager. The authors have partnered with the Honorable Dr. Jean Augustine, the first Black-Canadian woman elected to the House of Commons, to deliver an empowering message and story supporting children’s mental health.
Based in Toronto, Lallouz and Miss Bonita and Friends group are well known for their stories with relatable learning moments for children. The stories told in their award-winning book and web series formats take children on magical journeys to help them find ways to overcome problems. Miss Bonita and Friends promote emotional intelligence by demonstrating to children that they have the power to choose, to creatively problem-solve, and contribute to their life journey and in effect influence their circumstances. Their stories contain groups of diverse characters from mixed backgrounds who are learning to overcome challenges.
Miss Bonita and Friends is not afraid to shy away from “taboo” topics in children’s entertainment and have covered topics including divorce, bullying, racism, living in foster care, being differently-abled, and more. With many children struggling to have an outlet to communicate and share their feelings, Lallouz said, “My dream is for children to realize they can be active participants and creators of change in their own lives and in the world at large.”
“The Case of the Girl Who Had to be Perfectly Perfect” invites readers into the world of a child named Jean, inspired by Dr. Augustine. When Little Jean faces a problem, Miss Bonita and her magical friends, Baba doll, Dooby Ber, and Comfy the Comforter take little Jean on a magical journey that helps her open her heart to new adventures where she discovers ways to solve her problems. The story is lighthearted and layered. Dr. Augustine reflects on her childhood growing up in a small community in Grenada and the story tackles the emotional challenges women of color often face to be perfect all the time.
A percentage of the proceeds from the book will be donated to The Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment. The charity is dedicated to empowering girls and young women between the ages of 7-17 years by offering programs focused on arts, life skills, academic success, and leadership. The Centre also extends its support to the local community by offering various programs, workshops, and events for women and families.
Children need to see themselves in the media they watch and read, and Dr. Augustine was thrilled to see her story come to life in a children’s book. “I think of myself and the childhood I had growing up and we didn’t have the stresses that kids have today. Kids today are dealing with many more challenges.” The message resonates with everyone and Dr. Augustine leaves some valuable words, “There is no thorn that does not produce a rose. The lessons in these stories help them to realize what they can do in the world, what the world has to offer, and that they can be citizens of the world.”
“The Case of the Girl Who Had to be Perfectly Perfect” is available to purchase on Amazon. Keep up with Miss Bonita and Friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and her website, missbonitaandfriends.com.