West Virginia’s first African-American children’s author visits students

West Virginia

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) – West Virginia’s very first African-American children’s author visited a Berkeley County school Tuesday morning.

Latoya Beatty is West Virginia’s first African-American children’s author and she visited Opequon Elementary School to read and give out free books to students. With the encouragement of her husband, she wants to inspire kids to take an adventure with their parents to places they may never get a chance to go.

But now they can, with her books “A is for Africa” and “B is for Barbados.”

“I love children,” said Latoya. “They are my passion and they just bring so much joy to my day. You don’t see a lot of literature for kids that teaches them about different countries and places they could go, things they could see. So, it just means everything because it can take them to where they may never know or go in the future.”

“I’m huge on the foundation and the future for our foundation is our children,” said Latoya’s Husband Derrick Beatty. “Let’s broaden the horizon and we could do some cool things with the books. We have children who have never even heard of Barbados, never even heard of Africa which is surprising, so now they get to hear about these things. Kids have such a broad imagination and can take these trips, where otherwise they may never go in real life.”

Opequon Elementary School’s Principal Tana Burkhart said Latoya’s books can be a powerful tool to teach kids more than information on countries.

“Any time we can provide equity, inclusion and diversity within our schools, it’s amazing,” said Burkhart. “Her being the first child author and writing a few amazing books has just been incredible and a great experience for our kids. We’re very proud of her and happy to have her child at our school.”

Latoya is currently writing her next book, “C is for Costa Rica”.

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