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A message of self-worth, self-love being spread among Atlanta’s elementary pupils

mirror face, lisa fields

By David Pendered

Tucked inside a children’s picture book is a message of self-love and self-acceptance the authors are sharing with 30,000 pupils in Atlanta’s elementary schools, and which the authors hope will be the start of an online global movement.

Illustrator Lisa Fields wrote on her Facebook page that this image is one of her favorites from ‘Mirror Face,’ the book authors Jordan Gillman and Michael Tyson are sharing with elementary pupils in Atlanta Public Schools. Credit: ‘Mirror Face’

Mirror Face, A Book on Self Love is a journey story about three children who experience great self-doubt in their own homes. While on their travels together, the youngsters learn how to recognize and love their individual gifts as a person.

This simple message, and its relevance for the youngsters in Atlanta Public Schools, has been embraced by civic leaders throughout Atlanta, including Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, the Woodruff Arts Center, the Atlanta Dream Centers of Hope, the Center for Civic Innovation and The Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, according to a statement.

The mayor is slated to join APS Superintendent Lisa Herring at a virtual event on Wednesday that is to culminate the school district’s efforts to encourage pupils – and their parents – to read the book and complete the self-help exercises it suggests.

Bottoms and Herring are to deliver remarks Wednesday at noon on APS’ Facebook page. Herring offered this insight about the project in a statement:

  • “We’re most grateful for this partnership, which promotes the dual purpose of promoting self-worth and overall well-being among the children we serve, while also promoting literacy. It comes at a time when children have been isolated from their peers and need it the most.”

The event is to launch the #MirrorFaceChallenge. The challenge has five steps, according to one of the pages on the book’s website:

Atlanta school Superintendent Lisa Herring said in a statement that ‘Mirror Face’ promotes self-worth and overall well-being among the elementary pupils who are reading it. Credit: ‘Mirror Face’

  • “Take a ‘Mirror Selfie’ or video;
  • “Post to your IG Feed or Story;
  • “Caption or share your favorite self-affirmations, or simply say ‘I Love You, Mirror Face;’
  • “Challenge your friends and loved ones to join you in this initiative by tagging them.
  • “Don’t forget to tag us @iloveyoumirrorface and use the hashtags #mirrorfacechallenge.”

All of which is to culminate in:

  • “Together we can reflect what self-love looks like all over the globe.”

This embrace in Atlanta is the outcome of which the authors dreamed. The co-authors are Jordan Gillman and Michael Tyler. Lisa Fields drew the illustrations and featured one on a Feb. 11 post on her Facebook page.

Gillman described his own journey toward co-writing the book:

Mirror face, soccer ball

‘Mirror Face’ seeks to spread a message of self-love and self-worth among youngsters of an age when they are beginning to explore their sense of their position in the world. Credit: ‘Mirror Face’

  • “As a child and young adult, I found the process of self-validation a very difficult one. Later in life, I came to realize the importance of self-acceptance and wrote the book I wished I had read as a kid, centers on an activity that children all over the world engage in: looking in the mirror.”

Tyler, who is the co-author of The Skin You Live In, now in its seventh edition, brought the message home to Atlanta:

  • “Atlanta was a natural partner for this initiative. Known as the city too busy to hate, it will now also be known as the city not too busy to love. It’s the perfect background to launch a global movement about self-love.”

The book ends with this poem:

“Your greatest dream is to dream about You,

“Whoever you dream to be.

“And whatever you dream,

“Know this to be true:

“You can do what you’ll do,

“And see what you’ll see,

“And go where you’ll go,

“To be who you’ll be;

“You can learn what you’ll learn,

“Trust me, and you’ll see —

“If you believe who you are,

“You’ll become who you dream”

 

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David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.

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