I had the pleasure of meeting inspirational speaker Chris Singleton back in November when he made a joint appearance at Main Street Reads independent bookstore here for an author talk on diversity and inclusion with fellow writer Marybeth Wishart.
As many know, Chris’ mother Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton was one of the nine victims of the horrific AME Emmanuel Church shooting which took place almost six years ago. Chris, a former professional baseball player, is now an inspirational speaker and author of two children’s books.
Regan: Tell us about your first book, “Different: A Story About Loving Your Neighbor” (how it came to be, etc.). Was that self-published?
Singleton: My first book was indeed self-published. I never knew how to share the message of unity that I have with kids without taking away their innocence. However, after a discussion with my sister about the importance of continuing our mother’s legacy in every way we can, I decided to go ahead and take the leap of faith by self-publishing this book.
I met a phenomenal team, David and Stephanie Miles out in California, and they helped groom me from not knowing anything about the process of creating a book to now having this children’s book sell over 18,000 copies over the last two years.
R: Give us an overview of your newest book, “Your Life Matters”.
S: This new book that was released in March is a way to teach Black history to all kids while simultaneously reassuring the message of self-love to little black boys and girls.
R: Where do you draw your ideas for writing?
S: All my ideas in writing have come from either past experience as a kid or from things I would want to read to my children.
R: What inspires you?
S: A couple of things which inspire me are the pursuit of leaving a legacy for not only myself but for my parents as well, especially my mother whose life was taken away back in 2015. I also would consider myself a dreamer, and always ask myself the question, “why not me?”
R: What is your take on all the difficult news stories of the last year or so on race relations, etc. Are you hopeful that we are turning a corner in this country?
S: My hope is that we are turning the corner, but it will never be easy. I speak around the country frequently about race and empathy which are probably the most important things I think everyone should have when we have that conversation about race relations in this country. We have got a long way to go, but I feel like we’re moving in the right direction!
R: What are the big takeaways you want your readers to get from your books and you as a speaker? What are your speaking topics focused on?
S: The biggest takeaways that I want my audience to get from my books is that we should celebrate one another regardless of where we are from or what we look like. The other thing I want to instill in the children who I write to is a certain level of self-confidence to chase their dreams no matter how big they may seem.
R: What is your other website regarding merchandise? What’s next for you?
What’s next for me is continuing to steward the opportunities I have been given thus far and become one of the most sought-after speakers in the country. My hope is to also continue to make children’s books that inspire change and yield unity throughout our schools and our homes.
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