Deedee Cummings and her son Nick have been collecting children�s Christmas books for years. When Nick, 11, mentioned to his mother that he hadn�t seen any books with characters that look like him in it, that was all she needed to here. She decided to write one herself.
Nick (pictured below) is a young brown boy with a head of curly black hair and dark brown eyes. He has a sweet smile, just like his mom, who knows how important it is for Nick to see heroes that look like him in books.
“It’s the images that burn in children’s minds and stay with them,” Cummings told the Louisville Courier Journal. “They don’t understand racial inequality, or even why a diverse book is necessary, but they know how they feel when they see a character that looks like them save the day.�
So, Cummings decided to take matters into her own hands and write a story especially for boys like Nick.
�In the Nick of Time� is a Christmas story. Cummings describes the book�s protagonist, Nick Saint, as �fiery, kind, thoughtful and full of life,� not unlike her own son. While Nick Saint is a sweet boy, he often forgets how fortunate he is to have a very comfortable life, in a nice home, where his biggest problem is waiting for the mailman to deliver his new video game.
One day, he got a letter in the mail that was accidentally sent to him. The letter was from a boy at his school named Cooper, and it was a request to Santa that the only thing he wanted for Christmas was for his mother to find a job.
As the book progresses, Nick helps Cooper by planning a job fair and toy drive to help his family. He ends up coming to the realization that Christmas is not only about getting gifts, it�s about helping others around you who are in need.
While the main character in the book is a young boy of color, the subject of race never comes up in the story. According to Cummings, it didn�t have to.
“It’s just about the holidays and about recognizing when you have blessings and to be grateful for them,” Cummings said.
Cummings (pictured below, right) has written two other books about her older children, but �In the Nick of Time� is dedicated to Nick.
“I want Nick to be seen as fun and friendly and kind and happy like he is in this book,” she said. “Not as a menace or negative member of the community.”
Nick is just happy to finally see a character that looks like him in a book about the holidays.
“I like this book because it makes me feel like Christmas,� he said. �And I like feeling like Christmas.”
(Source: images Make A Way Media Facebook)