Georgia Southern school psychology student pursues children’s literature dream
As many sheltered in place this year to stop the spread of COVID-19, Georgia Southern University graduate student Jasmine Edge saw an opportunity to achieve a goal she set out to do years before.
A graduate of Spelman College and former pre-K and kindergarten teacher, Edge loved the classroom and her students.
“I really enjoyed spending time with students in the classroom setting, especially inspiring an interest for reading in my students,” she said. “The read-alouds were my favorite thing to do with my students. I was the teacher who got into it. I would change the intonation and the volume of my voice to match what was happening in the story. That is where my interest in children’s books was cultivated.”
Children’s literature has been proven to be a powerful tool in early learning. Edge felt inspired by the innovation of the books she read to her students.
“I was impressed by the way that authors and illustrators convey a range of meaningful and informative messages as well as fun and silly content that are both creative and developmentally appropriate in children’s literature,” she said. “I said to myself, ‘I want to do that.’”
Edge decided to leave the classroom after five years to pursue a specialist degree in school psychology from the College of Education to combine her interest in mental health and working with children.
It was during the spring 2020 semester that Edge found herself at home, unable to travel or continue typical social engagements that she decided she would complete her first children’s book. She began in May, and by October, Edge’s book, Brown-Skinned Girl, the story of a young, black girl Imani, who realizes her skin is different from many others in her classroom, was published.
“Kids have misconceptions about the world that can be cute,” said Edge. “In the book, Imani’s classmate tells her that her skin is brown because she has eaten too much chocolate. So Imani has a conversation with her parents about why her skin is brown.”
The book encourages healthy conversations about diversity and self-acceptance and also includes vocabulary at the end of the book to review with early elementary school children.
Brown-Skinned Girl was inspired by Spellman’s former president and racial socialization researcher Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D.
“I would like to follow up with more books in the future that continue to be uplifting and focus on self-esteem,” Edge said. “My hope would be for my future books to continue to honor and promote the work that Dr. Tatum has done.”
Edge is scheduled to complete the Ed.S. in School Psychology degree program at Georgia Southern in spring 2021 and looks forward to entering a career field that is a perfect fit for her.
“School psychology allows me to focus on the whole child — their academic, mental and physical wellbeing,” said Edge. “I am looking forward to my career as a school psychologist, and I know I am prepared thanks to the rigorous program at Georgia Southern.”
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