Photo Credit: http://helenketteman.wixsite.com/helenketteman/bio
Today we would like to honor a special Diamond, Mrs. Helen Ketteman. Mrs. Ketteman is an author of 25 published children’s books. She uses her life experiences as well as her love for writing to teach life’s virtues in different situations as used in “Mama’s Way.” From her beautiful stories to her super sweet personality, Mrs. Ketteman stresses on the importance of education, and making good choices as children learn and dive into their imaginations. For instance her latest book, “Go to School, Little Monster” is an example of how children can use their imagination to identify with the monster as they face first day of school nerves. Mrs. Ketteman not only utilizes her platform to have a voice for children, but also break barriers and build bridges like used in “Not Yet, Yvette.” This is story is our favorite as an African American little girl collaborates with her father to make her mother’s birthday extra special. Yvette’s character is used to not show the value of giving and respect for others, but to show an African American character in a happy and positive light. Upon discussing the plot of the book, Mrs. Ketteman explained her thoughts when writing this book. She states, “I believe all children need to see themselves in books and stories – characters who look like them and feel like them. I wanted to write a story that showed a young African-American girl in just a normal, happy situation, doing something FOR someone she loved, WITH someone she loved, showing respect between the characters. I also wanted ALL children to realize that, no matter what color we are on the outside, or what religion we practice, we all feel the same emotions. We are not that different. That was what I wanted to get across.” We also asked what was her advice for young Yvettes.
“As for advice to young Yvettes, I would tell them that no matter what their circumstances are growing up, they can be anything they want to be, but they have choices to make. The things they choose to do NOW, what they do when they are children, will make all the difference in what they become as adults. I think so many young people in every station of life don’t realize just HOW much a bad decision can affect the rest of their lives.
For me, growing up in small town Georgia – our family had nothing – we barely scraped by, and sometimes had no heat in the house in the winter – but my mother stressed the importance of education, and I focused on that. I made it my goal to go to college, even though I knew I would have to do it myself. I worked, bought my own clothes, got good enough grades to get a partial scholarship, saved enough money to help with some college expenses, and borrowed the rest. My last two years, I worked full time during the day, and attended classes full time at night. And when I graduated, I paid back all my student loans. I did all this because I had learned to rely on myself and take responsibility for myself at a young age. Too many parents don’t make children take responsibility for their actions, and they become adults who have no clue how to be responsible.
I think that is what young Yvettes need to know – that they can control how good or how bad their life will be by making good choices, by taking responsibility for themselves early on, and part of that, of course, is by doing well in school. Education is the key to having a great life, and everyone can get an education if they want to. It may be more difficult for some people than for others, but I think that is what builds character.”
Thank you Mrs. Ketteman for being such an amazing author, and for utilizing your gift to make a difference in the lives of children!