BROOKLYN - A teacher at Mary Queen of Heaven School in Mill Basin is hoping that her first children's book about real life issues will help empower her students and others.
Second-grade teacher Stephanie Fleary's book "Chocolatey Brown" is inspired by an issue that she had to deal with growing up and being picked on for her darker complexion. She refers to it as colorism.
Fleary says the idea for her book came after one of her students last year expressed a dislike for her own skin color.
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"One little girl, I remember she didn't quite understand why she was darker skinned and her family was lighter skinned. She didn't like her darker skin tone," she says.
Fleary was motivated to share her experiences and completed "Chocolatey Brown" in time to share the story with her new class and empower the students to believe in themselves.
While being a teacher is about helping kids learn the basics of math and English, she says her job doesn't stop there. She hopes her book will teach kids that everyone can be successful regardless of their skin tone.
Fleary now uses the book as part of her curriculum. She is working on a second book for young boys.