Aiden Taylor’s book follows adventures he and his favorite hairstyle go on together In NY.
This past spring, 11-year-old Aiden Taylor was looking for something to do — just like a lot of kids whose schools were shut down by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“You can’t go outside; kids can’t play with their friends . . . it’s ki’nd of wack,” Aiden tells PEOPLE ahead of Black History Month.
Inspired by his love for reading, the sixth-grader decided to write a children’s book, Me and My Afro. His goal was to help kids “love the way they are,” Aiden says.
Me and My Afro follows all the adventures Aiden and his favorite hairstyle take together, from riding the bus to playing basketball. Aiden says the book gives kids “something to do [at home] — and who doesn’t want to learn about self-love?”
Spencer Jaffe, Aiden’s 27-year-old mentor of three years through New York City’s Big Brothers Big Sisters program, encouraged Aiden to write Me and My Afro and even helped him edit the 26-page book over Zoom.
It’s been incredible to watch the perseverance he’s had in writing and promoting the book,” Jaffe says. “Aiden just shows if you put your mind to something, you can accomplish anything.”
Jaffe himself has been impacted by Aiden’s message.
“Aiden’s book has inspired so many kids already … I might be the big brother, but I learn from Aiden every day,” he adds.
When they virtually “hangout,” the pair also likes to talk about sports and play chess together.
“I never beat him, but I’m getting better!” Aiden says.
Aiden also jokes that he “hired” his mom Monique to help put Me and My Afro together, too.
“Her job was telling the publisher and the illustrator [Tana Teeya] what I wanted the pictures to look like,” he says. “For example, I wanted a picture of an ice skating rink downtown and there’s water behind it, and when they first drew it, there was no water behind it, so she told them and they fixed it.”
Me and My Afro and its accompanying coloring book, which were published in August, have sold more than 1,400 copies to date.
“It makes me feel great because I accomplished this big goal,” Aiden says.
Not surprisingly, Aiden plans to continue his career as an author. “Writing’s very fun,” he says, “and I want to keep inspiring other kids.”