Tiffany Haddish's First Children's Book Is A Resource for Black Parents To Encourage Children's Self-Love

Layla, the Last Black Unicorn is all about teaching children to love their differences.

Actor Tiffany Haddish from Sony Pictures Television’s ‘The Afterparty’ attends Deadline Contenders Television
Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Deadline Hollywood

It's easy for Black parents and caretakers to feel overwhelmed in our efforts to make sure our children know the power of self-love and acceptance. The rolling headlines of Black children being bullied or treated inappropriately by peers and teachers in schools make this even harder.

Tiffany Haddish's new children's book, Layla, the Last Black Unicorn, could possibly be a resource for families on this journey. She says Layla is a black unicorn who starts her first day of school in a new community where all the other unicorns are pastel colors. Initially, she feels uncomfortable with being so different from her peers.

"She has her issues fitting into this whole new world," Haddish told PEOPLE. "But in trying to be something she's not, she realizes, I can just be myself—and it pays off to be who you are."

In the book, Layla the unicorn arrives at school on the first day and notices that she is the only black unicorn. Being different makes it harder to make friends, but she learns the importance of loving who she is. She eventually uses her differences to help her classmates find their way home after the class gets lost during a field trip.

Book Cover: Layla, The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish
HarperCollins

The book's name is a nod to Haddish's first book, The Last Black Unicorn, a collection of memoir-style essays published in 2017. Layla the unicorn's story leans into many of the same themes she explored in her similarly named first book. Together, they show Haddish's effort to make sure readers of all ages embrace what makes them different and learn to appreciate what makes them unique. She hopes Layla, the Last Black Unicorn will bridge the gap between children and their parents by helping them talk about difference and self-love. In true Haddish fashion, the book relies on humor to achieve this.

Haddish says she wanted Lalya's story to highlight the value of telling our stories from different perspectives. "I think it's so important to play make-believe," she told PEOPLE. "And to be able to tell your story through another character's eyes—through someone else's life—is really awesome. That's why I created Layla, the last Black unicorn."

Layla's story was co-authored by Jerdine Nolen, a novelist and children's book author who has written many works that address race culture and identity, including Eliza's Freedom Road: An Underground Railroad Diary, On Her Wings: The Story of Toni Morrison, and Thunder Rose, which was selected as the Coretta Scott King Honor Book.

Layla, the Last Black Unicorn has value for all families—but it might be particularly beneficial for Black youth and communities. There are limited resources that help Black families process self-love and an appreciation for difference. It's a welcome change in a world where Black children are bombarded with messages that Blackness and difference should be a source of shame.

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