Five years ago, Christina Wilds penned a much-needed letter of affirmations to her younger self in a time when life was, well, "life-ing." The author, wife and now soon-to-be mother of two recently took that same letter and turned it into a children's book dedicated to her oldest daughter, Tristyn, in hopes that she, too, can see her worth and power as a little Black girl early on.

Dear Little Black Girl is the first book from Wilds, who says that she has found her calling in the literary space and that more children's books are on the way.

"Books were a key part of my upbringing," Wilds told EBONY. "My parents and our village always emphasized how reading contributed to success and how it opened our minds and imagination. My husband and I started reading to Tristyn from the time she was born, and now it's engrained in her daily routine."

Dear Little Black Girl (self-published), Christina Wilds, $25, bookshop.org. Image: courtesy of Christina Wilds

After she and husband Tristan "Mack" Wilds welcomed their firstborn into the world, a family member challenged the couple to read at least 500 books to her before she reached school age. What seemed like a large order to fill, later blossomed into something greater than the Wilds could imagine.

Tristyn's Book Club started as the couple's way of slowly revealing their daughter's online presence, while also sharing the various books they were reading to her—with many written by authors of color. It wasn't until other parents began reaching out to Christina to let her know how grateful they were for her sharing books for children of color, that she realized the page was needed.

"I started the page around April 2020, during the pandemic," she said. "The more the page grew, I realized I was standing in my assignment. As Instagram changes its algorithm and the type of content it pushes, we've pivoted to also sharing educational videos for parents in addition to the book suggestions. I even spotlight independent authors and authors of color who message me about their latest releases."

Although the work for Dear Little Black Girl started before she launched Tristyn's Book Club—and well before she was a mother—Wilds understands her calling to tell stories for Black children and families. So much so, that she recently completed the manuscript for her second book.

"I self-published Dear Little Black Girl all on my own and tapped a talented college student by the name of Ana Latese as the illustrator," explained Wilds. "This go round, I would like to go through a publishing house so that the stories can reach an even wider audience."

Daughter Tristyn Wilds with books. Image: courtesy of Christina Wilds.

With today's society being driven by technology and devices, especially children, Wilds emphasizes that it's never too late to get your children to fall in love with books.

"Incorporating reading into your nighttime routine is a great starting place," explains Wilds. "We're at the point now that if we forget, Tristyn will certainly remind us. Also, we're intentional with taking her to indie bookshops, so she can physically see all the books in one place. Don't get me wrong, she loves her iPad, but she also gets very excited when she sees Peppa Pig on the cover of a book in the store and can make that connection from seeing her on a screen. It's really about just finding a balance."

Wilds also says that carving out time to read as a family is a great way to bond, and that letting your children see you read in your free time can further spark their interest in books, too.