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Taraji P. Henson aims to help the next generation with her first-ever children’s book. Named, “You Can Be a Good Friend (No Matter What!),” Taraji’s short story speaks to the mental health issues many Black children experience today.

“The Color Purple” star spoke to People Magazine about the book and shared the news on Instagram. Talking directly to fans in a reel, Taraji displayed a copy of the picture novel and explained why the project means so much to her.

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“Mental health struggles can start even in childhood and oftentimes it begins with being bullied. This book isn’t just about bullying though—it’s about how children all have something different about them, and being different is what makes them oh so very special,” Taraji says. She continues telling fans about the importance of celebrating differences for the “precious little ones” in your life.

Taraji P. Henson’s new book tells the story of a young Black girl struggling to make friends

According to a press release, Taraji’s book is about a young girl named ‘Lil TJ getting ready for her first day of school and ready to make new friends. Though her grandmother warns her that friendships can take time to form, Lil TJ pushes to build and attract relationships and is bullied because of it. A boy makes fun of her voice, drawings, and personality, and Lil TJ learns how to overcome her fears, make new friends, and deal with bullies and naysayers.

Since the news of Taraji’s new book dropped, fans have jumped to show support for the empowering project. “Yes!! Changing the culture starts with the children,” wrote one fan on Taraji’s Instagram post. “Oh Taraiji! I am loving this season of your life for you. You are exploring all your interests from hiar care to the Benson Foundation to writing. You go, amazing lady,” wrote another.

With Black youth especially at risk of mental illness and social anxiety, Taraji’s kids book is timely and needed. It is part of the award-winning actress’s larger mission to improve mental health in the Black community.

Dropping officially in June 2024, “You Can Be a Good Friend (No Matter What!)” is Taraji’s second novel. Her first autobiography, “Around the Way Girl: A Memoir,” was a New York Times bestseller.


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