GRPS elementary schools practiced their affirmations this month with Janaya Jones and her heartwarming book ABC Affirmations.

The book had its beginnings when Jones was asked to share her favorite children’s book with her college classroom. She quickly realized that many children’s books did not include characters who were representative of what she looked like.

In order to address this problem, Jones decided to write her own children’s book and intentionally include a variety of diverse characters. GRPS alum Chris Dudley worked as her illustrator, filling each page with beautiful characters who represented members of Jones’ family.

Jones brought her book in an effort to highlight a diverse set of characters and inspire scholars to say their daily affirmations.

“A is for awesome. That’s what I am, and you are too,” read an animated Jones. “B is for beautiful.”

After each affirmation was read, the classroom was filled with echoes from the scholars and staff as they repeated the words.

“When I first met Janaya, I was so amazed at the illustrations and content included within the book,” said Jamie Masco, Family and Community Engagement Supervisor for GRPS. “Chris Dudley did an incredible job making the book look beautiful.”

Masco worked with summer schools this past year and was able to share ABC Affirmations with kids and families in the form of flashcards. She knew that the words deserved more exposure in the community which led her to work to get the books into district classrooms.

Now, she visits GRPS classrooms with Jones, going from school to school, sharing words of affirmation with young GRPS scholars.

Each session also sees the scholars take part in learning activities that are associated with each affirmation and they are encouraged to continue reading the affirmations aloud as they participate. Jones is an active participant.

“Janaya gets right down on the ground with the kids and digs in,” said Masco. “The teachers enjoyed the book and games so much, to the point where they are doing extension activities.”

Masco noted that the scholars enjoy participating in dice games, throwing practice and jumping from letter to letter on the floors of their classrooms. The games get them excited to read the book and practice saying their daily affirmations.

Once Jones’ visit comes to an end, the scholars are left feeling optimistic and confident. They also are left with their own copy of her book and an encouragement to continue reading the affirmations each and every day.