Msomaji's Magic Carpet aims to inspire Black and Brown South Side children

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A South Side journalist is giving children from her neighborhood hope with her children's book, "Msomaji's Magic Carpet."

Tiffany Smith, journalist-turned-author, is hoping to inspire children of color on the South Side of Chicago with her children's book, which talks about the importance of travel and learning about black history.

"As much as we think we are different, the more we visit the world we realize just how connected we are, even if we are of a different race, color, creed or religion," said Smith.

The name Msomaji means "seeker" in Swahili. Smith said the book was specifically written for Black and Brown children and is loosely based on her life. The author said she got her first passport stamp at the age of 39.

"It's important for kids to know that there is more, this world is more than what they see in their current neighborhoods," said Smith.

Smith, a Chicago Public Schools volunteer, has been spreading that message to students at Park Manor Middle School.

"Many of our students don't ever leave their neighborhoods," said Lashae Jenkins, principal at Park Manor Middle School. "They don't know what else is out there beyond the perimeter of what they're used to. One of the things we came together and thought about was how we can bring that to life. With Tiffany working on the book and hosting it with a Black or Brown child thinking of traveling, we thought of a way to blend that with a school."

Smith said she'd like to host fieldtrips for CPS students as well as provide writing workshops for children on the South Side.

"There's so many things that you have to learn that you can't learn just staying at home," Smith said. "I think it lights a spark in a child to have them dream big and believe that they can do anything."

Smith said "Msomaji's Magic Carpet" - a pandemic project - was completed within a year. The book is available at msomajismagiccarpet.com.
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