Many of tomorrow's violent criminals and drug addicts are today's unloved, unattached babies! Bond with your baby today, bond with your baby EVERY day. It REALLY IS THAT important!
THURSDAY, MAY 9, 2013
It sounds like science fiction but it is a scientific fact. A happy childhood leads to a healthy adult life. This is what scientists found when they examined the effects of childhood adversities to DNA. They found that the tiny protective caps of our chromosomes, which are called telomeres, shorten prematurely when kids consistently experience traumatic events.
Scientists have found that long telomeres are associated with health and vitality, while short ones are usually found in seniors or chronically sick people.
Telomeres somehow record the accumulative impact of different lifestyle factors in our health. Although the way they do that is not clear yet, one thing is certain: they are sensitive to oxidative stress. It is well known that psychological pressure exposes our cells in debilitating free radicals. This could be a reason why telomeres become prematurely short. Research shows that adults who had difficult childhood years have consistently shorter telomeres and are at higher risk of chronic and debilitating disease.
If this sounds too exaggerated, think again. Doctors from the University of California have found that even when the expectant mother is experiencing consistent stress, the maternal hormonal and physiological responses are perceived and recorded by the fetal DNA.
The research found that when women went through an intensely negative experience during pregnancy, their adult offspring had shorter telomeres, in comparison with individuals whose mother had a calm pregnancy. It looks like in some cases, adult disease is programmed in the fetal DNA. Psychiatric research now indicates that childhood maltreatment affects brain structure and in fact, the more serious the level of abuse, the more obvious neurobiological abnormalities are detected, especially in susceptible subjects.
More studies have found that children who experienced or even observed domestic violence not only experience more often depression, anxiety and reduced cognitive abilities, but also have detectable structural differences in the part of the brain that processes visual stimuli. This may potentially impact brain functions, such as figure recognition, object naming and conscious perception of visual movement, all modalities that are controlled by the affected brain structure. Guarding the emotional balance of your child is of utmost importance at all times.
Sources for this article include:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23300699 - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23112344 - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20520834
Source: Natural News
- See more at: http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2013/05/dna-does-not-lie-happy-children-become-healthy-adults.html#sthash.9NnbPZfm.dpuf
Sept. 12, 2012 The Guardian Professional (U.K.) The greatest health challenge of our time is securing good mental health for our nation. To achieve good mental health, we should look no further than where it all begins – the conception of a baby.
Secure early bonding is the difference between the baby that grows up a secure, emotionally capable adult, and a baby that will become a depressive, anxious child, who will not cope well with life's ups and downs. In the most difficult cases, this baby is more likely to later experience criminality, substance abuse or depressive problems.
Human babies are unique in the animal kingdom in the extent of their underdevelopment at birth. But the physical underdevelopment is only a tiny part of it. The human brain is only partially formed when you are born. The earliest experiences of the human baby have a lifelong impact on their mental and emotional health.
Babies start interpreting their world immediately
When a baby cries, it doesn't know it is wet, tired, hungry, bored or hot – it just knows something is wrong, and it relies on a loving adult to soothe its feelings. The baby whose basic needs are met learns that the world is a good place, and he or she will retain this sense for life, as almost an instinct.
The baby who is neglected or abused cannot regulate its own feelings. If its needs are not met it will scream louder and louder and eventually take refuge in sleep. A baby left to continually scream will experience raised levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can damage the immune system
The "social" part of the brain only starts to develop at around six months. Where a baby does not receive any attention, this part of the brain does not grow and may never grow.
Shocking research suggests that in Britain 40% of children are not securely attached at the age of five. Of course this doesn't mean they will all go on to have behavioural or relationship problems, but they will be less robust in their emotional make up to meet the challenges and disappointments of life.
If we want to change our society for the better, we must focus on the crucial period between conception and the age of two.
Prevention is best
Prevention is not only kinder, it's also far cheaper than cure. Each looked-after child costs the taxpayer around £347 a day. Each adult prison inmate costs the taxpayer around £112 per day.
What about other unmeasured costs? Research shows that more than 80% of long-term prison inmates have attachment problems that stem from babyhood; there is now evidence to suggest you can predict two thirds of future chronic criminals by behaviour seen at the age of two.
The question is, what can be done about it? This is where the vision of Parent Infant Partnerships (Pips) comes in – to help parents form a loving and secure bond with their babies.
It ought to be natural to form that secure bond. But post-natal depression, problems with conception or the birth experience, domestic violence and issues of poverty can all get in the way. And one of the biggest obstacles to forming that secure bond is when Mum didn't have a secure relationship with her own mother. This truly is a cycle of deprivation that is passed down through generations.
Therapeutic support can and does break that cycle, helping the carer come to terms with their own feelings and fears.
The Oxford Parent Infant Partnership (Oxpip), founded in 1998, and her baby sister in Northamptonshire (Norpip), are social enterprises. They are funded half by contracts with statutory service providers and half by fundraising efforts. Pips work because they are set up and run by local people within their community. Oxpip and Norpip each have a board of volunteer trustees, who give time, money and knowledge to establishing and developing the service.
Oxpip has developed excellent training programmes that teach professionals to spot early attachment problems as well as train parent-infant psychotherapists.
Pips can determine their own fate. They accept self referrals from sometimes desperate parents, from health visitors and midwives who are key to identifying problems early, and also from social workers who deal with the most difficult and unhappy cases. They negotiate contracts to take referrals from different organisations, from the county council to the GP commissioners to children's centres.
Taking Pips nationwide
Earlier this year, I hosted jointly with the University of Northampton a major conference on Pips. I was delighted to announce that we will be establishing a new charitable foundation, Parent Infant Partnership UK – Pip UK for short – which will provide co-funding and practical support to those local authority areas that wish to establish their own early-years service.
Several of my MP colleagues have already expressed an interest in learning more about the Pip model. The University of Northampton has created a Pip toolkit – a guide to how to establish a Pip.
Pips are, of course, not the only model for delivering therapeutic support to struggling families.
What is clear to all those involved in supporting the earliest relationships is that the awareness of the critical period from conception to age two is not widely understood in our NHS and public services. Training provision for professionals is not yet good enough.
Provision of therapeutic support is variable. In many areas, for support to be made available, the family must already be in severe crisis. The bar is set too high.
Also, medium-term funding commitments are often impossible to achieve. Commissioners have not yet fully recognised the huge financial saving that would result from early intervention.
The challenge is to build a stronger and happier society. What we do to intervene between conception and age two is all about building the emotional capacity of an infant. What we do after the age of two is mostly to undo damage done previously.
If we work together, we really can change society for the better.
Andrea Leadsom is Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire.
This article is published by Guardian Professional. Join the social care network to receive regular emails and exclusive offers.
Chilling Brain Scans Show the Impact of a Mother's Love on a Child's Brain Size
A shocking comparison of brain scans from two three-year-old children reveals new evidence of the remarkable impact a mother's love has on a child's brain development.
BY CHRISTINE HSU | OCT 29, 2012
A shocking comparison of brain scans from two three-year-old children reveals new evidence of the remarkable impact a mother's love has on a child's brain development.
(Sorry, no photo)
(Photo : Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D./Child Trauma Academy) Neurologists say that the sizeable difference between these two brains of two different 3-year-olds has one primary cause: the way that their mothers treated them.
The chilling images reveal that the left brain, which belongs to a normal 3-year old, is significantly larger and contains fewer spots and dark "fuzzy" areas than the right brain, which belongs to that of a 3-year-old who has suffered extreme neglect.
Neurologists say that the latest images provide more evidence that the way children are treated in their early years is important not only for the child's emotional development, but also in determining the size of their brains.
Experts say that the sizeable difference in the two brains is primarily caused by the difference in the way each child was treated by their mothers.
While at first glance, the images might indicate that the child with the right brain might have suffered a serious accident or illness, neurologists said that the truth is that the child with the shrunken brain was neglected and abused by its mother, and the child with the larger and more fully developed brain was raised in a loving, supportive home and was looked after by its mother, according to The Sunday Telegraph.
Researchers told the UK newspaper that the image of the brain scan on the right shows that the child lacks some of the most fundamental areas that are present in the image of the brain scan on the left.
They say that the child on the left with the larger brain will be more intelligent and will be more likely to develop the social ability to empathize with others compared to the child on the right.
On the other hand, the child with the smaller brain on the right will be more likely to become addicted to drugs, be involved in violent crimes, be unemployed and dependent on government benefits in the future.
Furthermore, the child with the shrunken brain is significantly more likely to develop mental and other serious health-related problems.
Professor Allan Schore from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) said that in the first two years, babies rely on a strong bond with their mothers for healthy brain development.
"The development of cerebral circuits depends on it," he said, adding that because 80 percent of brain cells grow in the first two years of life, problems in that development can affect people for the rest of their lives.
Furthermore, researchers said that the more severe the mother's neglect, the more pronounced the brain damage can be.
Researchers said the process of childhood neglect is a vicious cycle because the parents of neglected children were also neglected by their parents and do not have fully developed brain.
However, past research has shown that the cycle can be broken if there is early intervention and families are supported.
The latest study supports research released earlier this year that showed that children brought up by mothers who provide love and affection early in life are smarter and have a greater capacity to learn.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, found that children whose mothers nurtured them early in life have a larger hippocampus, a key brain structure that is essential to learning, memory and response to stress, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.
The science behind infant-directed singing
Published on July 29, 2011 by Kimberly Sena Moore in Your Musical Self
What do you do when your hear a baby crying? In all likelihood, you do what mother and fathers across cultures have done for generations--anything and everything within your power to calm the child down. You try feeding, rocking, burping, distracting, "sh"-ing, and...singing.
Did you know that day-old babies are able to discriminate rhythmic patterns? It's true! In 2009, researchers from Hungary and the Netherlands reported that, by measuring their brain waves when listening to rhythms, day-old infants are able to detect differences between them. This wasn't a learned skill. It was innate.
That's not the only link between infants and music. There's emerging evidence that music may play in important role in an infant's development. Some even hypothesize that singing to your infant is your child's first language lesson and can prevent language problems later in life.
So what does this mean for you?
What is Infant-Directed Music?
It's long been noted that there's a special infant-directed type of communication that involves a sing-song manner of speaking, as well as singing lullabies and various play songs. This phenomenon occurs with caregivers across cultures and, whether through singing or speaking, can be characterized by a greater emotional voice quality, raised pitch level, and slower rate or tempo.
This style of singing is often refered to as "infant-directed music" or "infant-directed singing." But what is so important about this type of singing?
It turns out that there may be a strong evolutionary link to the development of infant-directed singing. In a chapter titled "Musical Predisposition in Infancy," Sandra Trehub shares her findings and hypotheses:
Infant-directed music seems to help optimize an infant's mood and regulate his/her arousal level.
Infant-directed singing likely strengthens the emotional bond between caregiver and infant.
There is a possibility that this style of singing could have enhanced infant survival. How so? Regulating arousal and optimizing mood for the infants could facilitate feeding and sleeping, thus contibuting towards growth and development.
But what does this mean for you?
How to Use Music with Infants
Let me start by stating what you absolutely should not do: play music through headphones. An infant's ear is highly sensitive and playing music directly to it through headphones has the potential to cause real damage.
Now that we have that thought out of the way, I can tell you that the best way to use music with your infant is to...just sing!
Even if you feel like you "can't sing" or you are "tone deaf"--that doesn't matter! Your baby does not care. Your baby loves your voice and feels connected to your way of singing, regardless of whether you sound like Mariah Carey or like 75% of first-round American Idol contestants. Additionally, the good that can happen by you singing to your baby will far outweigh any personal insecurity.
You can start by singing to your child in utero. A fetus begins to process auditory signals at about 25 weeks. This is one of the reasons why newborns prefer to hear the voice of their mother--it's the most familiar voice to them!
Singing while pregnant has the added benefit of familiarizing your baby with those songs, which you can then use after your child is born. You may even try singing a certain song as you're calming down for the night and going to sleep. Then, after your baby is born, use that same song to try and calm him or her to sleep.
You can play recorded music to your infant, too, but it won't have nearly the same effect as singing will. Singing is a super-charged way of connecting to your baby. It has the element of human interaction that little ones crave and need for their cognitive, language, and emotional development.
Not sure where to start? Here's a list of familiar children's songs to get you started:
You Are My Sunshine
Mary Had a Little Lamb
Itsy Bitsy Spider
I'm a LIttle Teapot
Hush, Little Baby
Twinkle, Twinkle LIttle Star
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
The Wheels on the Bus
If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more, I invite you to follow me on Twitter!
Trehub, S.E. (2003). Musical predispositions in infancy: An update. In I. Peretz and R. Zatorre's The Cognitive Neuroscience of Music (pgs. 3-20). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Winkler, I., Haden, G.P., Ladinig, O., Sziller, I., & Honing H. (2009). Newborn infants detect the beat in music. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106 (7), 2468-2471.
Never knowing who my dad is or why he abandoned his family has left a gaping void in my life, writes Mbuyiselo Botha.My name is Mbuyiselo, I am 50 years old and I have never known my father. Over the years I have gone through a rollercoaster of emotions due to having never known him.There are questions that until today I have not been able to answer, such as why he left. Why did he abandon us? Was it a misunderstanding with my mom that caused him not to care for us? I have continued to feel a void in my own life while raising three children of my own. I ask myself what kind of a man could deliberately and consciously abandon his children and move on with his own life as if nothing had happened? Does this mean that perhaps he himself did not know his own father and due to this there was no reason for him to be interested in raising his own flesh and blood?My children continue to ask me why have I not found it in my heart to go and look for him, but I have always responded by asking, where do I start? I don't have any recollection of him and therefore I don't know if I would have the emotional strength to initiate a discussion with him. I continue to feel let down, disheartened and discouraged and, above all, I am still hurting. My children contend that it would be worth their while to know who their grandfather is so that they could be emotionally connected and probably receive that which I did not. I doubt that at this stage it would be possible to meet him, even if he were still alive, and so this burden I carry is one I will probably take to my graveI greatly admire, salute and have the deepest respect for my mom who single-handedly raised us, but having said that, I still feel the pain of not knowing who my father is. Every time I began to ask who he is or why he left, she could not share any details - I think out of protecting my fragile emotions. I therefore respect my mom's decision. I know she meant well, whatever her reasons.The work that I do with Sonke has given me the opportunity to confront my own demons in terms of talking openly about not knowing my father. The Fatherhood project and the Global Men Care Campaign seek to ask men in South Africa and in the world to confront their fatherlessness and to do something about it.The majority of South African men, both black and white, can attest to the sad reality of not having this most important emotional connection with one's father.Consequently, we are unable to reach out emotionally to our own children, especially the boy child. We sometimes wonder, as fathers, why our children, boys in particular, are disconnected from us, without acknowledging, more often than not, that this is of our own making.A national time-use survey of 8500 households showed that men spend only a 10th of the time, compared to women, performing childcare tasks for children under seven. The SA Institute of Race Relations recently reported that, in 2009, 48% of children in South Africa had absent, living fathers.The SAIRR report, First Steps to Healing the South African Family, stated that international and local research has shown that the presence of a father can contribute to a child's cognitive development, intellectual functioning, and school achievement, while the absence of a father can lead to increased levels of emotional disturbances and depression. It was shown that: ''Girls who grow up with their fathers are more likely to have higher self-esteem, lower levels of risky sexual behaviour, and fewer difficulties in forming and maintaining romantic relationships later in life," while ''boys growing up in absent father households are more likely to display 'hypermasculine' behaviour, including aggression".In discussions with my colleague Hayley Thomson, (who assisted me with writing this), I can recognise that she grew up with a loving, caring and emotionally present and involved father. She continues to assert the positive effect that this relationship had on her, that of father and daughter, and I can see the evidence of this powerful connection.It is also important to remember that physically present fathers can also be emotionally absent, which can amount to the same thing as being physically absent.Mamphela Ramphele writes: ''Desertion is not always physical, it can also be emotional. Many men 'die' as parents and husbands by indulging (in) alcohol (or) drugs, or becoming unresponsive to their families.'' The pressures that we place upon men can also cause them to become abusive, especially as they are provided with so few opportunities to explore or express their feelings.The report also showed that, compared to countries in southern and eastern Africa, South Africa had the lowest proportion of fathers looking after their children whose mother had died.This speaks to our need as a society to change our attitudes towards men as caregivers. There may be many men who are not trusted to care for their children if their mother passes away. These children may be absorbed by the extended family with the idea that a man alone cannot care adequately for his children. But this is a perception. There is no empirical evidence to support this notion. There is absolutely no reason why a man cannot do an amazing job of single-handedly raising his children - but if society does not believe he can do it, then why should he believe it? This speaks to the socialisation processes we have all experienced and which we buy into as being scientific or fact, when there is no empirical evidence to support them. We need to address these stereotypes, debunk them and challenge them in order to encourage and support men to care for their children and become more involved in their lives.There is this idea that a real man doesn't change nappies. This attitude is not only damaging to the child but also to the father.For men to fully experience the joy their children can bring to their lives, we have to eradicate the perceptions and beliefs that men are not intended to be caregivers. Obviously the more that men become involved in care-giving, the more this will benefit women and mothers.We acknowledge that there are many men who are desperate to be closer and more involved in their children's lives but there are societal and structural obstacles to them achieving this.As we commemorate the heroic 1956 women's march to Pretoria against the inhumane system of apartheid, I want to challenge society to realise that there is so much more to us as fathers and men than being mechanical ATMs or disciplinarians. We are capable of offering sensitive and caring emotional support to our children, and the sooner we recognise and embrace this in our communities, the better we will be able to respond to the phenomenon of absent fathers, and the better it will be for children, mothers and fathers.Mbuyiselo Botha is government and media relations manager for Sonke Gender Justice Network.
Source: Times LIVE - http://goo.gl/ZLTO4
Aug. 29, 2011
Last year the state ranked 50th, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Breast-feeding Report Card. This year, it stands at 49th.
"While we have seen improvement in breast-feeding rates, we still have a long way to go," said Amy Winter, Mississippi state breast-feeding coordinator, in a news release.
Maybe the benefits of breast-feeding are finally starting to persuade more new moms to at least give it a try.
The benefits for both mom and baby are numerous. When women breast-feed, they automatically reduce the chance of their baby battling ear, gastrointestinal and respiratory infections, becoming obese, or developing leukemia, diabetes and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Breast-feeding also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and ovarian cancer among women.
Unfortunately, the act of breast-feeding isn't always easy. As a matter of fact, it can be downright painful. Mothers need support from their family and health system in order to see it through.
The CDC report card states there are no "Baby-Friendly" facilities in the state. The designation only goes to hospitals that meet "an optimal level of care for lactation" based on the World Health Organization/United Nations Children's Fund Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding for Hospitals.
With that criteria, Mississippi is one of 20 states that falls short, but I don't think it's a cause for alarm.
When it comes to bringing a new life into this world, doctors, nurses and lactation consultants right here in Mississippi are readily available to answer questions and help mothers breast-feed.
The local chapter of La Leche League also offers support and resources. Its website is www.llljackson.org.
The sacrifice of breast-feeding strengthens the bond between mother and child. If you able to do it without medical restrictions, it's worth the effort.
It's also cost effective.
Contact health editor Shanderia K. Posey at (601) 961-7264 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sept. 18, 2011
LIVINGSTON, TN -- For some first-time moms and dads raising a baby, no matter how loved, can be an overwhelming experience.
Rebecca Lopez knows how overwhelming it can be. She didn't have her mom to help her with her first pregnancy.
That's when Isabel Hawkins, Family Support worker with The Stephens Center, came to the rescue. Lopez attended an open-house event sponsored by the center and met Hawkins.
"We started talking and she told me about the program ... and I was interested because my mom wasn't here, I was by myself ... I didn't know what I was expecting," Lopez said. "I needed (parenting classes) because I didn't know what I was doing."
Since its creation 23 years ago, Stephens Center has focused all of its efforts into preventing abuse and neglect by offering advice and educating parents on ways to care for their child; including ways to handle stress and creating short-term and long-term goals for their family.
Lisa McAfee, another Family Support worker, admits that people who aren't familiar with the center can be confused by the name.
"Maybe there's some stereotypes that we only work with abused children but that's not the case ... none of my moms have been associated with abuse or neglect in any way," McAfee said.
McAfee works specifically with the Healthy Start program which specifically offers help to first-time and teen parents to give their child a healthy start by visiting with the parent(s) in their home and completing different exercises with the family.
Family Support Workers like McAfee work with first-time parents to help give them "nonjudgmental" advice.
The center has a worker who is responsible for seeking out new parents at places like the local health department office, offices of obstetrics and gynecology and schools.
"We make weekly contact to remind them that our support and education services are here," Isbell said.
Once contact has been established and families are willing to participate, a support worker will visit the family and administer developmental tests to new babies every six months starting at two months of age. The tests check vision, hearing and skills.
Families often get only a few minutes with their physician per visit. The support workers spend at least once per week with their assigned families. Children in the program take part in developmental screenings and activities. Staff members also work to make sure children receive medical care and immunizations and are prepared for school.
"In my time ... I did find a child who had a vision problem that I caught," McAfee said.
A follow-up with another physician revealed a permanent blindness in one of the child's eyes.
Family Support workers also outreach to non-English-speaking families. Hawkins admits the language barrier for Spanish-speaking families makes it difficult for them to receive the care they need.
"I help (those families) with translation," Hawkins said. "Sometimes they don't even print or write even in Spanish."
Some Spanish-speaking families speak different dialects of the language. This can be confusing to someone unfamiliar with the language and why Hawkins will sometimes draw pictures in order to communicate with families.
Parents in the Healthy Start program receive emotional support from the staff member and also learn parenting skills as well as practical skills to cope with daily life. The stress of raising a child can be taxing on even the most prepared parent.
Waiting to intervene after an instance of abuse or neglect occurs has significant financial costs but the emotional trauma suffered by the child takes a much larger toll.
The consequences of abuse can last a lifetime. An abused child is more likely to perform poorly in school and they are also more likely to develop physical, emotional and psychological problems that will likely require future treatment.
The cost of removing an abused or neglected child and placing them in foster care or group home costs $35,000 to $45,000 per child, per year. The Stephens Center's in-home prevention programs average between $500-$1,000 per child, per year.
Last year, there were approximately 6,000 children who were reported as abuse or neglect victims in the four-county area -- Jackson, Overton, Putnam and White Counties -- The Stephens Center serves.
Eighty-five percent of abuse and neglect victims are between birth and five years of age -- a time when the brain develops the majority of its capacity, period.
To be in the Friends for Families program, parents do not have to be first-time parents and can be any age. All that is required is that at least one child is five-years-old or younger.
Lopez eventually invited Hawkins to visit her at home and from there they have become very close, almost family-like.
"I wasn't really sure about somebody coming to my house," Lopez said. "But she was very nice and explained everything."
After sitting down and creating a list of short-term and long-term goals with Hawkins, Lopez was able to prioritize her life and get on track. She recently graduated from a practical nursing program and is waiting to complete her state board exams. She is also working to get her U.S. citizenship approved.
No matter the situation, The Stephens Center will be right there alongside families in the program, continuing to make a difference in the community by preventing abuse and neglect by promoting physically and mentally healthy families in a nonjudgmental way.
"Although these families are assessed as being 'at risk' of child abuse and other poor childhood outcomes, none of these parents have abused their children," Isbell said. "In fact, they are in the program because they acknowledge the need to receive support and education to be the best parents they can be."
For more information about the organization, visit www.stephenscenter.org or call (931) 823-6432.
"It's a really good program," Lopez said. "It kind of felt like my mom was there the whole time ."
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Read more: Herald Citizen - MAKING A DIFFERENCE Stephens Center works to prevent child abuse neglect
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"As a mother of two and writer for kids, I believe the philosophy and mission of Smile At Your Baby! is nothing short of world-changing. When children know they are loved and valued they grow up to be adults who love and value people in the ways our hurting world needs. Thank you, Shelley Calissendorff for staying focused on this important call!" ~ Sundee T. Frazier, Author of Coretta Scott-King Award-Winning children's book, "Brandon Buckley's Universe and Everything in it"