“New Children’s Book Explores Lifelong Lessons”
By Vernon Williams
Life as a child is supposed to be fun. You’re supposed to be able to go on exciting field trips, play sports and games during recess, and have weekend sleepovers with your best friends. All of your bills should be paid by someone else, and other people are also responsible for feeding you every day. Your only jobs — pay attention during your grammar and arithmetic lessons and clean up your room.
Unfortunately, life isn’t always that fun or easy for every child. Some children may be dealing with the negative fallout from their parents’ and/or guardians’ actions and decisions. These ramifications thrust upon children could include, but are not limited to, leaving behind friends and family during a sudden move, absent or incarcerated parent(s), bouncing around from foster home to foster home, abusive behavior directed towards them or someone else in their home, becoming a piece of property during a messy divorce, and parent(s) who are too inebriated to constantly meet or even consider their needs.
In Pamela L. Crump’s children’s novel, Second Grade Blues, Sally is having some of these less-than-fun childhood experiences. In an interview with the author, we discussed how taking our children into account when we make decisions and monitoring their mental wellbeing is imperative for their overall health and success. Here is our conversation:
- For you, what was it that sparked the inspiration that would later become Second Grade Blues?
The inspiration for the book was my life’s experiences. I won’t say which aspects of my life, but there are a few similarities between it and the story plot. The genesis of the book was a school project for a college course. I only finished it and made it into a book this year.
- You had previously written two books of poetry, but was it always your plan to write a children’s book?
My desire was to always write a children’s book. As stated previously, SGB began as a college project many, many years ago. But I didn’t finish it until 2019, after I had written two books of poetry. Writing the poetry helped jumpstart my writing career and ultimately lead me to finish SGB.
- Your protagonist, Sally, is dealing with the separation of her parents and moving to a new city. What impact do you believe the decisions that parents make have on their children?
I believe parents’ decisions have a huge impact on their children. Parents should discuss, as a family, issues and situations that will have an impact on their children to provide clarity and obtain feedback and acceptance of the decisions. Parents’ decisions can either make or break a child’s ability to function in society if not dealt with appropriately.
- Black culture, at least in the past, has often been defined by tough love slogans like, ‘Work twice as hard, for half as much’ and ‘Never let them see you cry’. How important do you think it is for black children to have counselors that help to monitor their mental health and let them know it’s ok to share their feelings?
I believe it’s important for counselors as well as mentors to provide an environment where children, particularly black children, can share their feelings. With the increased amount of bullying that’s occurring and the horrific numbers of suicide because of bullying, counselors are needed for monitoring children on a routine basis. Because the teacher in SGB notices that Sally and Judy weren’t communicating as they had previously done, she was able to provide conflict resolution. Children may not always feel comfortable with opening up to their parents but may feel more at ease with talking to a counselor/mentor.
- In what ways do you believe SGB can also help parents and guardians interact with their children?
SGB deals with conflict resolution; the value of honesty; healthy decision making and societal changes. I think the book becomes a portal for a parent to open a dialog with their child on commonalities and parallels expressed within the storyline.
- Now you also founded a nonprofit in the Detroit area. What can you tell us about that aspect of your life?
I grew up wanting to be an elementary school teacher. Although my life went in a new direction, I still longed to help others academically. As a result, I started the Sardis Academy (formerly Sardis Missionary Baptist Church Academic Assistance Center) in 2000 to provide tutorial services for K-12 students in the Detroit public school system. It was later expanded to the greater Detroit community. Other programs were added over the years, including a boys club, sign language classes, art and crafts, a summer work program and most recently providing care packages to prisoners who don’t have loved ones to do so. I love giving back. I believe that God blesses us to be a blessing to others.
- You grew up in the Detroit region. How does it feel to be able to serve the same community where you came of age?
It feels absolutely amazing to serve my community. Many members of my family live in Detroit. To give back with the vision to help not only those from where I was born, raised and still live, but to those who are separated from families for any number of reasons is a blessing.
- What can we expect from Pamela Crump in the future? How can we keep up with all of the great work you’re doing?
Currently, I’m working on another children’s book that I plan to make into a series. My goal is to publish it in December. I’m also working on an inspirational book. I’m collaborating with a writer on a mystery novel. And I’m mentoring a couple of young people on their careers. All of this after working my 9-5 (laughs).
I’m very excited about the path I’m taking because I am doing something I’m passionate about. In addition to writing and self-publishing my books, I create posters/prints/art/refrigerator magnets by combining my poetry with signature photographs and computer-generated images; and sketches by an up and coming artist. My business motto is “Success is reached if you are valuable to others” and my acronym is Pam’s Things: Poetry, Art, Music Sowing To Health, Inspiration, Nutrition, Greatness, Satisfaction.
More about Author Pam Crump
PAM CRUMP WAS BORN AND RAISED IN THE CITY OF DETROIT AND EDUCATED IN THE DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM. SHE EARNED A BACHELOR OF ARTS DEGREE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN AND A MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION DEGREE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT MERCY. SHE IS THE AUTHOR OF TWO BOOKS OF INSPIRATIONAL POETRY. HER THIRD BOOK, SECOND GRADE BLUES, SHARES HER PASSION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE AND THEIR STRUGGLES.
PAM IS FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF THE SARDIS ACADEMY, A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION THAT PROVIDES SOCIAL AND EDUCATIONAL SERVICES TO THE GREATER DETROIT COMMUNITY. SHE IS CURRENTLY EMPLOYED IN THE GOVERNMENT SECTION. AN ACTIVE MEMBER OF HER CHURCH, PAM LOVES GIVING BACK. WHEN SHE IS NOT WRITING AND HELPING OTHERS, SHE IS TRAVELING, BAKING, OR PLAYING SPORTS AND COMPUTER GAMES.
You can keep up with me several ways:
Facebook and Instagram: Pam’s Palace