The children’s picture book for ‘dope black dads’ – FFA

Marvyn Harrison started a global movement five years ago. His Dope Black Dads WhatsApp group grew into an online and offline community where more than 250,000 fathers share their experiences with being black, parenting, and masculinity in modern times.

Harrison (pictured above with his children Black, 4, and Ocean, 6,) has now published his debut children’s book, I Love me! – a collection of positive affirmations for preschool-aged children, designed to boost confidence, enhance self-image and promote resilience.

“I’ve always done daily affirmations with my children, things like ‘I am loving’, ‘I am powerful’, ‘I am kind’,” Harrison told Positive News. “It started as a bit of fun, but it became a real gamechanger for them, giving them tools they can use if they feel afraid. In a time where being black can potentially create challenges other children wouldn’t have to consider, I saw real power in these simple techniques.”

The Dope Black Dads movement may now encompass a multi-award-winning podcast, books and a spin-off Dope Black Mums community, but it all began with a single text message on Father’s Day in 2018.

Harrison, a London-based marketing executive, sent a heartfelt message of support to his male friends. He confessed that he was having difficulty connecting with his children and the friends began sharing their own struggles. These were often linked to cultural beliefs that Harrison believes are unique for black fathers.

“I want to encourage men to become better dads, husbands

He said that he became the father he wanted to become with the help of his new community over time.

I Love Me! is the first of a two-book series Harrison has signed up for with Macmillan Children’s Books, illustrated by Diane Ewen, with the follow-up due in 2023. A book aimed at fathers is also in the works.

“I want to encourage men to become better dads, husbands and men by providing tools to help them navigate who they are and move forward in their lives,” Harrison explained.

Main image: Serena Brown


Help us continue breaking the bad news bias

Positive News is helping more people than ever to get a balanced view of the world – one that supports their wellbeing and empowers them to make a difference towards a better future. And as our audience and impact grows, we’re showing the rest of the media that good news matters.

But the UK’s cost of living crisis is affecting our income, with fewer people able to commit to a magazine subscription – which has traditionally been our main source of funding. Additionally, printing and paper costs continue to rise.

We don’t want to put a paywall on our website, because we believe everyone should have the chance to benefit from good news. But we won’t be able to continue funding our online reporting without your help.

If you are a positive news supporter and value what we do, consider making a regular or one-off contribution. We need 1,000 readers to contribute just £3 per month to get us through this challenging time.

Remember that we are a not-for profit and work only for you. All funds go towards our journalism.