by The People’s Minister of Information JR
Bay Area author Tiffany Golden recently published her first book, “Midnight and the Man Who Had No Tears,” a fictitious tale written so that Black children can see themselves and be validated in children’s literature.
Children’s literature was a fundamental part of my upbringing that helped to cultivate my love for reading into adulthood, and I think that we as Black people need to show a higher appreciation for this form of literature and the authors who create it. Therefore I am sitting down talking to my longtime friend, who has always had insight beyond her years, to discuss her debut work. Check out Tiffany Golden in her own words …
M.O.I. JR: Can you tell the people, when did you realize you were a children’s author? What were some of your preliminary works about?
Tiffany: I realized I was a writer in my early 20s, but had to gain the confidence to BE a writer. I had always been fascinated by bedtime stories, the tale that ushers you into your dream world. The soothing tones and lessons always piqued my interest.
My earlier works were always about healing a family. It’s been a pretty consistent theme in my work – mainly because it’s so important to remind us of our capacity to heal, not just as individuals, but collectively.
M.O.I. JR: How did you come up with the story of Midnight?
Tiffany: Midnight came to me in late 2001. I was trying to make sense of losing my young cousin in West Oakland. I wanted to write something meaningful that also held us all precious; our time with each other is so finite. Midnight manifested as a protector of our innocence – she is the Keeper of Dreams and the Protector of Children in the mystical land of Shina.
M.O.I. JR: What is the story about?
Tiffany: “Midnight and the Man Who Had No Tears” is the first published volume in the Midnight Series. It’s about Midnight meeting a young boy on her nightly journey down the river of dreams. She sees that his father is raising him with a lot of anger, only to find out the father has no tears, causing his heart to be cold. Midnight takes his whole family on a journey to retrieve the father’s tears so he can be a more loving, compassionate father.
When I saw firsthand the effects of harshness through children I worked with and the harm it caused adults I loved, it became important to lovingly address it.
Midnight manifested as a protector of our innocence – she is the Keeper of Dreams and the Protector of Children in the mystical land of Shina.
M.O.I. JR: What message do you want the children to get from it?
Tiffany: I want children to understand that our actions have consequences. Sometimes people hurt us, and sometimes we also hurt people. That never has to be the end. When there is a willingness to be accountable, the healing process begins for everyone.
M.O.I. JR: What is the importance of children’s literature?
Tiffany: Children’s literature – storytelling – introduces us to the power of telling our story. It helps us imagine different possibilities, teaches us that our voice and imagination matters. The kinds of stories we share with our children are equally important, because it is how we begin forming our life views.
I want children to understand that our actions have consequences. Sometimes people hurt us, and sometimes we also hurt people. That never has to be the end. When there is a willingness to be accountable, the healing process begins for everyone.
M.O.I. JR: Who were some of the Black children’s literature authors that inspired you?
Tiffany: I like Patricia McKissack; she wrote “The Dark-Thirty: A Collection of Supernatural Southern Tales.” I love stories that have supernatural themes. When I was younger, I also enjoyed a book called “Tough Tiffany” by Berlinda Hurmence. It was about a girl who had my name and was 11 years old, like I was at the time. It was good to have someone I could relate to in a world that I understood. That’s the power of literature and, more importantly, of our stories.
M.O.I. JR: Where can people get your book?
Tiffany: People can get the book from our website: www.midnightstoryseries.net.
M.O.I. JR: How can people stay online with you?
Tiffany: We’re on Facebook: facebook.com/MidnightStorySeries. We’re on Twitter: @MidnightBook01 and @MidniteSays.
The People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey is associate editor of the Bay View, author of “Block Reportin’” and “Unfinished Business: Block Reportin’ 2” and filmmaker of “Operation Small Axe” and “Block Reportin’ 101,” available, along with many more interviews, at www.blockreportradio.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.