By Kathy Chouteau
Richmond resident and author Rayna Best has written a children’s book called Animated Like Me with a resounding message about self-acceptance and inclusion. Best’s 36-page book, which was published in paperback this past summer and appeals to children ages four through 12, was inspired by her eldest child who struggled with inclusion and fitting into societal standards considered to be the norm.
When Best—an African American woman—embarked on a search to find books like Animated Like Me, she was shocked to find that the topic of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) wasn’t widely discussed, especially in communities of color. It was especially astonishing, given that the number of children diagnosed with ADHD overall in the U.S. is estimated at 6.1 million, according to a 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) survey.
Best’s book helps to fill the dearth of intergenerational community conversations about ADHD. “Animated Like Me is the perfect teaching tool for home, elementary schools and medical centers across the world that want to expand their understanding of ADHD,” said Best.
Animated Like Me, tells the touching tale of Kamron, an energetic zebra with ADHD who finds it difficult to fit in and make friends. Amid this challenging time for him, he meets Kamille, who also feels like an outcast. She teaches Kamron the true meaning of friendship, and together, they show their peers the wonders of being utterly unique.
“Although its content is geared towards children with ADHD, it delivers an astounding message to all children as it teaches acceptance and inclusion,” said Best.
“As a Richmond native, it is my mission to uplift and inspire the youth of tomorrow and be devoted to change within the community, one book at a time,” she added.