Colin Kaepernick’s Children’s Book Inspires Kids to Be Themselves

Amari Kenoly/Cover: Scholastic/Kaepernick Publishing
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Colin Kaerpernick may not be playing in the NFL anymore but he’s moved on to tackling some other pretty big issues. The football player has turned into the founder of his own company, Kaepernick Publishing, and is now a proud children’s author.

His book, I Color Myself Different, is a first for both Kaepernick and illustrator, Eric Wilkerson. The inspiring story draws from the former NFLer’s own experiences growing up and reveals how he embraced his own Black identity and cultivated a strong sense of self love. It all started with a simple Kindergarten project: draw a picture of your family.

Eric Wilkerson for Scholastic/Kaepernick Publishing

Adopted by a white family, Colin chose to color his family all in yellow. Everyone, accept himself, who is shaded in brown. This was the moment that would later be the inspiration for I Color Myself Different.

Kaepernick tells NPR “It’s the first documented instance that I have in my life of definitively identifying as brown. And laying the foundation for my identity as Black.” Since the story is so personal, he decided to name his main character Colin.

Young Colin also experiences the Kindergarten assignment to draw his family, which results in an anthem of sorts. “I’m brown. I color myself different! I’m me, and I’m magnificent!”

It was important for Kaepernick to include artwork from his nieces in the book. “Thinking about two young Black girls being able to see their artwork in a published book and from a young age be able to say, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve had my artwork published. Now what else can I do?’ You see how it begins to open up possibilities for them just mentally of where they can go and what they can do,” he shares with NPR.

Eric Wilkerson for Scholastic/Kaepernick Publishing

Above all, Kaepernick hopes that this book helps kids to feel less alone, and that his message that being different is cool, but it’s also normal. You can order I Color Myself Different on Amazon today.

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