Taraji P. Henson shares an empowering message in new children’s book

Award-winning actress and bestselling author Taraji P. Henson plans to release a new children’s book this summer.

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Taraji P. Henson is the author of upcoming children's book You Can Be A Good Friend (No Matter What!) (Photo: Getty Images)

Taraji P. Henson is thriving in a new form of storytelling. “The Color Purple” actress and bestselling author has announced the upcoming release of a new children’s book titled “You Can Be a Good Friend (No Matter What!).” Set to release on June 18, the book also continues Henson’s work as a mental health advocate. 

“Mental health struggles can start even in childhood, and oftentimes it begins with being bullied,” Henson said in a press release. “This book isn’t just about bullying, though — it’s about how children all have something different about them, and being different is what makes them oh so very special.”

In 2018, Henson founded the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation (BLHF) in honor of her late father, who struggled with untreated mental health issues. With a vision to promote healing and increase the number of culturally relevant mental health resources, the foundation aims to destigmatize mental health within the Black community. As previously reported by theGrio, BLHF has launched various initiatives and projects, including Joy Joints and HBCU Wellness Pods, designed to target different mental wellness aspects. 

With the help of Black illustrator Paul Kellam, Henson hopes to inspire kids to embrace their differences and learn how to deal with various emotions such as anxiety. “You Can Be a Good Friend (No Matter What!)” tells the story of Lil TJ, a quirky, fashion-forward girl who, on her first day of school, is forced to face the challenges that come with being unique.

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“We are so proud of this book and feel that it’s not just a fun story, but an essential tool for teaching empathy, resilience, and self-love … all values that are very important to Taraji and her work in the mental health space,” Megan Dobson, vice president and publisher of Zonderkidz said in a statement. “Our hope is that this will become a conversation starter about mental wellness, an important lesson in friendship and handling tough social situations, and a testament to the importance of standing proud in one’s own uniqueness.”

“‘You Can Be a Good Friend (No Matter What!)’ is for the kids who feel different. This book is for the parents who want their kids to accept differences,” Henson added. “This book is for the kids and families who’ve encountered hard times because of differences. I can’t wait to see the many conversations my book starts in homes and classrooms everywhere!”

This is not the first time Henson has stepped into the publishing world. In 2017, the star published the bestselling “Around the Way Girl: A Memoir,” sharing her journey growing up in Washington, D.C., attending Howard University, and finding her footing in Hollywood. 

Her debut children’s book “You Can Be a Good Friend (No Matter What!)” is currently available for pre-order and will be released June 18. 

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