It’s not often that I have the wonderful experience of introducing a new writer to my readers, but I am so happy that I can today. I met Shana Bernabela when she was about to graduate high school. I was her supervisor for an after school tutoring program. Then, she interned for me as a college student when I published Average Girl Magazine. We have kept in touch over the years and now I am so thrilled to share that she is embarking on a new journey in her life – that of a children’s book author. Inspired by events in her life as a little girl, Shana is ready to empower girls all over the world with her soon to be released children’s book, Sparkalina Brights. Check out her story below, and look for her blog to come soon.
By Shana Bernabela
Growing up, I struggled immensely with a low self-esteem. Everything about me seemed to be flawed: my kinky hair, the color of my skin, the extra pounds I carried – just to name a few things. Often the victim of cruel teasing, I became very self-conscious, believing that something was terribly wrong with me. It didn’t help that every time I turned on the television or flipped through a magazine, my mind was inundated with images of women who looked NOTHING like me. I didn’t fit in with the American cultural ideal of beauty or value. Those models were beautiful – I was not – or at least that is how I felt. I didn’t love myself. I felt unworthy. I felt small.
This destructive mentality led me down a very difficult path and it was not until I was in my mid-twenties that I truly began to accept myself – flaws and all. I began to love myself unconditionally. I was beautiful, and truly believing that transformed my life. I started to soar to new heights and life became much more fulfilling.
With this newfound self-perception, my purpose started to reveal itself to me. Some people say that your purpose is tied to your pain; that statement could not be truer. Questions began to invade my mind. What could I do to help girls avoid the pitfalls that I faced as a child battling a poor self-image? What could I do to inspire girls to love who they are and to embrace their individuality? What could I do to make their hearts sparkle and to show them just how lovely and adored they are? Then, out of nowhere, it hit me!
When I was a young girl, I’ had an insatiable appetite for reading. Every time I opened, a book I felt like I was embarking on a magical new adventure – exploring new worlds, gaining new perspectives. Reading was fun. It was inspiring! However, when I look back upon my reading experiences, I realize that I did not see many characters that looked like me. There was definitely a void, a void I desperately wanted to fill. And just like that, my creative thoughts collided and Sparkalina Brights was brought to life. I was thrilled! This book would be my medium to inspire and empower – to shape minds and change lives.
As an aspiring children’s author, all I desire is to make a positive difference in the lives of little girls everywhere and to show them just how AMAZINGLY beautiful they are! I want this book to scream, LOVE YOURSELF! BE YOU! LIGHT UP THE WORLD!
Sparkalina Brights Release date: Fall 2014