McKinney Resident's Book Series Teaches Kids to Embrace Differences

Franklin Edwards said his series helps guide kids through issues many struggle with, from bullying to colorism

NBCUniversal, Inc.

A young man in Collin County is spreading positive messages to children through a book series.

Franklin Edwards said the idea for ‘Franklin the Helper’ came to life during a trip to a bookstore three years ago.

“I was in the bookstore with my grandfather, I was in the kid’s section. I just told him I could really write a good kid's book that could impact lives,” said Edwards.

It’s easy to see where the colorful main character came from.

Franklin is inspired by his seven-year-old self, dressed in a striped shirt like he used to wear.

The series helps guide kids through issues many struggle with, from bullying to colorism.

“This was my first one,” he said holding up the book. “It came out on my 21st birthday ‘Franklin the Helper: Bullies Make David Cry.’

One of the books in the series takes on a very personal struggle his cousin in Louisiana struggled with.

“My third one ‘Franklin the Helper: The Color of My Skin Doesn’t Blend In’ is based on a story about my cousin in Louisiana who dealt with racism and colorism being a dark-skinned girl in a predominately white school,” he said. “When people get picked on for being dark being surrounded by people who aren’t the same color as them they might start to hate their completion.”

The book ends with a special message.

“You have to love who you see in the mirror to be able to face life’s challenges every day, so that’s why in the end she looks in the mirror and she loves who she sees,” he said.

Mom Demetre Bivins helped Edwards get the Christian-themed series published independently.

Each book costs about $2,000 to publish, she said.

“To hear he wanted to be a writer was suprirsing to me," said Bivins. "But to hear he wanted to impact lives in a positive way that was not surprising.”

They’ve sold about 2,000 copies, mostly at local farmer’s markets, she said. Edwards has also donated 330 books to 17 area non-profits.

“My newest book is about a kid who stutters,” he said. “[Franklin the Helper] turns stuttering from the kind of a thing that hinders Aaron into a superpower and by the end of the book Aaron embraces his stuttering and it doesn’t hold him back anymore.”

The 22-year-old is planning to host a writer’s workshop for 5th through 12th graders in September, hoping to inspire the next generation to write and embrace their own stories.

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