Spelman alumna, author, educator and CEO of HBCU Prep School, Claudia Walker, decided to bring together her love for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and educational knowledge to create “The ABCs of HBCUs.” This book is one of the first all-inclusive ABC books that is dedicated to HBCUs and their rich culture. Exposing the HBCU experience to children at a young age through education can be a vital part of a Black child’s development.
Normally when teaching a child, the author pairs a letter with simple words, like A for apple or B for boy. In Walker’s new book, all 26 letters are paired with HBCUs along with their information and fun facts. For instance, B for Bethune-Cookman University or F for FAMU along with the tidbit that these two schools are rivals. Facts about the Divine Nine or Battle of the Bands are taught, which gives children the opportunity to learn about the passion, love and lifestyle that build these incredible institutions.
“When I started applying for jobs and in the real world, I would tell others that I am an alum of a HBCU, and there were a lot of misconceptions when it came to what others think,” Walker said.
As a mother and an educator, Walker recognized that elementary schools do acknowledge and speak about universities and colleges, but they don’t give enough emphasis to HBCUs.
She felt that this book would give parents a way to teach children the basic alphabet, while also teaching information about HBCUs that they have attended and that their child can attend.
Naysa Smith, a fourth year elementary education and pre-service teacher, expressed how this book opens children up to more opportunities at a young age. Involving diversity at an early age allows a child to learn that there are other universities that are not just private Ivy League universities.
“The earlier we can introduce our children to having goals to attend an HBCU the better,” Smith said. ”Having the representations of HBCUs before learning about specific colleges and universities in high school helps with decision making and goals when a child grows up and decides to attend college.”
Smith further explains that Walker’s books allow children and parents to learn that there are other universities that provide a great education and plentiful opportunities besides Ivy League institutions.
The book inspires children and parents, but it has also touched students at the collegiate level. In this specific instance, Myqueal Lewis, a fourth year social work student, says he came across the book that inspired him to work on his art and create something similar to focus on the FAMU experience.
“I saw the book on social media, and it blew my mind on how amazing and much needed this book is,” Lewis said. “So, I said we at FAMU love to brag, so why not have one of our own showcasing a variety of things that happens at the university.”
The book is available for preorder through the HBCU Prep School website and other new products that will be coming soon.