taraji p. henson children's book - 2024 Can We Talk? Symposium

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Award-winning actress and around the way author Taraji P. Henson is prepping the release of her first children’s book. 

Titled “You Can Be a Good Friend (No Matter What!),” her debut picture book shows kids what can happen when approaching others and ourselves with empathy, patience and love. 

Henson takes readers on a journey through the eyes of Lil TJ who is ready for her first day of school. Lil TJ is quirky, stylish and a bit off-the-cuff, so when she gets to school, she’s not immediately welcomed with open arms. In fact, she gains a bully in her classmate Beau. 

But, Lil TJ ends up leaning on some important words of wisdom from her Grandma Patsy to navigate these difficulties. She turns what the outside world views as a negative into a positive and feels empowered in her personality and creativity to make new friends, help herself and someone else too.

According to the book’s publisher, Zonderkidz, “You Can Be a Good Friend (No Matter What!)” is the perfect read for easing children back into school who may be nervous, helping kids ages 4-8 overcome anxieties and embrace their uniqueness, and promoting mental wellness and friendships over bullying. 

This book is personal for Henson who rebranded herself over the years as a mental health advocate. She started the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation in 2018 in honor of her late father who faced mental health challenges after returning from the Vietnam War. The foundation works to erase the stigma around mental health by empowering people to embrace collective healing.

This also isn’t Henson’s first literary rodeo. She authored the memoir “Around The Way Girl” back in 2016. It’s a tale about “family, friends, the hustle required to make it in Hollywood and the joy of living your own truth.” It’s a trend she may be seeking to continue with her first children’s book.

You can pick up “You Can Be a Good Friend (No Matter What!)” starting June 18 wherever books are sold.


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