Author Jenelle Dunn turns personal loss into literary gain in her debut

Jenelle Dunn is the author of “Dear Little Brown Girl”.

Debut writer Jenelle Dunn turned a devastating loss into an opportunity for growth.

A legal assistant and full-time mother, Dunn’s new children’s book, “Dear Little Brown Girl,” is now available for pre-order. The book was inspired by Dunn’s own childhood growing up without a mother. She experienced loss at a young age and wished she had a female figure to guide her through adolescence. Her book is formatted as a letter written to herself by her late mother. In the letter, she contemplates the wisdom her mother would have imparted if she were alive.

“When I was about 9, I lost my mom,” Dunn said. “It was a very difficult time for me, and I didn’t exactly have the tools to express myself and explain how I felt, so writing was my outlet. When I wrote this book, I wrote from her perspective and vision and included all the things she would have taught me or shared with me: knowledge, wisdom, life lessons.

The book is filled with affirmations that Dunn lacked growing up. She believes that a mother’s wisdom lasts a lifetime and that children continue to remember the lessons their mother taught even into adulthood. These are the lessons that help us overcome life’s greatest challenges and difficulties.

“I wrote this book to be an inspiration and to encourage other little girls who need that outlet or who need to hear those words of wisdom that they may not be getting at home. house. It’s supposed to be something positive for the community,” Dunn said.

Dunn wanted to increase representation in children’s literature so that black children could relate to the characters they were reading about, so she paid close attention to identifying details like skin tone and hair type in his book. She felt that focusing on more personalized details would make the characters easier to understand. Dunn wants to create stories that reflect the more realistic and diverse world we live in.

“It is very important that children can see themselves in the books they read. We can tell kids anything we want them to be capable of, but sometimes they need to see it,” Dunn said. “I consider books as a mirror. They should be able to look at something and think this girl looks like me and did this. You want them to be able to feel the performance without just telling them. When you see things, it really puts them into perspective.

Dunn also wanted to make his book more accessible to disadvantaged young people. As a girl, she didn’t own many books, which made the library her only option for reading. His plan is to create more options for children to find books without having to pay a lot of money.

To help out, Dunn will donate a book to a local children’s organization, school or hospital for every pre-order purchase over $25 with the launch of a Kickstarter campaign February 15 with a goal of $6,000. . When backers pre-order a copy, they’re helping launch the first print run that will distribute hardcover books to children and bookstores.

Currently, Dunn has raised over $1,500. If the goal is not met, books will not be shipped and patrons will not be charged. Anyone interested in ordering a copy can head to the Kickstarter website. If the initiative is successful, the books will ship in June.

Dunn has other story ideas she hopes to share in the future, but “Dear Little Brown Girl” holds a special place in her heart, so she’s currently giving it her full attention. His other ideas will all focus on the same goal: to inspire young people, boost their self-confidence and show them their worth.

“I really hope what they take away is self-love,” she said. “I want little girls or little kids in general to realize that they are worth it and are worthy of whatever they want. There is enough space in the world for everyone You just have to believe in yourself and want it.”

Lola R. McClure