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67-Year-Old Author Pens Children’s Book Yusef and the President


Littérateur Jean E. Caldwell

Yusef And the President is a magnificent narrative that provides reflection and reward. It’s a short fable that takes readers on an insightful voyage where they meet young Yousef, while soaring through silhouettes of time, when Barak Obama held presidential chair in the white house. “I wanted the book to be something positive about our blackness, and what we bring to the table,” Caldwell says. “The fact that president Obama had been elected, and re-elected, all of that came into play when I was given the message to write the book.”

The manuscript focuses on several topics like bullying, racism and disparities. Jean E. Caldwell intends on landing the book in local schools since it will serve as a conduit  for conversation to educate children as well as their parents through colorful and unique references about the parallels of being black and white .

Caldwell elaborated her reasoning for the book further by saying both Barack Obama and Yusef share Muslim names that were criticized.... “I just remember that there was so much negative press about his name [Barak Obama]. It wasn’t so much the press, but the people talked about his name and they affiliated it with terrorism. I began to think about my grandsons name, and how his name is Yusef Jaseem Shaw. At one point, when he was a little boy, he had some friends that told him they couldn’t play with him because of his name. My story was birthed from those similarities between President Obama’s name and my grandsons name. I thought about how my grandson is such a good young man and a good person, and how we miss out on so much by judging people based on how they look. You don’t ever get to know somebody until you actually get to know them regardless of what their name is or what they look like,” she finished.

Jean E. Caldwell hosted a book release on December 27, 2019 at Oshuns Botanicals 91 McGill Ave, Concord, North Carolina 28025-- An intimate gathering that hailed about 30 guests for the fantastic debut.

Photo Credt: Solomon Hall

Caldwell is a creative that understands the irrevocable power of words, and how they hide within the imagination, waiting for the perfect opportunity to become something astounding, a sentence, a phrase, voices of account, love in addition to reasoning. In fact, Caldwell wrote other books that she’s planning to publish like “My Sister Judy,” and “How Will I Get There?” Although she authored other chronicles, she never published them. Remarkably, Yusef and the President spoke to Caldwell, contrarily, more than the other softcovers. The book became a passion and purpose manuscript, something that would connect generations and legacy... ”I’m on fire about Yusef And the President,” she says. “I would like to get the other books published just so I can say I did it. That’s what I want to do.”

Caldwell wrote Yusef And the President in 2012 during one of her retreats to Africa. At that time, Barak Obama won the presidency for a second term. Motivated by the intricacy of hatred and racism, arising from the election, Caldwell wrote the story then, but she didn’t publish it until recently, when the time was right...  “Everything is going on with all the division that’s in the country, and the judgments of people. It’s the perfect time to publish the book. There’s a lesson to be learned from this story, I do believe,” she spoke passionately. “I want people to think about what we teach our children, because they are like sponges from the crib. The interactions they have with us-- We have so much influence on what they think and what they do. If we were telling our children to make war, and I know they don’t pick up guns and go out and shoot—They have war with the words they speak to other people. They can speak life or they can speak death. The word [bible] says that life and death are in the power of the tongue and words do hurt. Mean words are a form of bullying just like you going up and hitting somebody and abusing them that way. We can abuse people with our words as well as physically.”

Caldwell labored for the city of Concord, NC for 28-years before retiring at the age of 49 in 2001. Since early retreat, she is living her best life in every sense of that grand saying, and adding dramatist to her achievements. “Now, I do a lot of self-care and self-love. I do many sabbaticals. I love going to the YMCA and working out. I also read a lot,” she remarked. Caldwell took her first swimming class a month ago, at the age of 67. She’s impassioned to live frankly and dominantly pushing aside those insane concepts that life slows down after retirement. “I believe that this thing called life is so wonderful and we just need to take advantage of it. We only get one [life] as far we know and we only come through this way, only once. After that we aren’t sure what happens, whether we come back in another form or whatever, but in this life, I want to live it to the fullest—Do the best I can, be the best I can to the glory of God.”  Caldwell is spiritually optimistic, which is another reason that the book manifested in this now phase of her being.

“People make these assumptions about us, as black children that we couldn’t do as well in school, but we were just like everybody else’s children," Caldwell talked about growing up during the Civil Rights Movement, and how that helped to chronicle Yusef And the President... "We had the same needs. We laughed, we cried, and we played just like anyone else’s children. I believe we do a disservice by not giving people a chance based on someone’s race, and sexual orientation. We are all people. I have never met you personally, but I can say without a doubt that I am you and you are me. At the end of the day, we are all the same and the sooner we realize that, the better off we’re going to be, and I believe that.”

Yusef And the President came at an intense time where war and blatant racism is at an all-time-high, and  abrupt reform is needed... "I want readers to remember, “Be kind and treat people the way you want to be treated. In a nutshell, that sums up my book. Be careful in the way that you treat children, whether that’s children you gave birth to or children we come in contact with. Just be careful of what children see us do because they are little sponges that soak up everything."

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