Even from a young age, Bellen Woodard realized her voice could be a powerful tool in pointing out and helping to change social injustices.
When Bellen was in third grade, she was coloring with some friends. Bellen asked for the skin-color crayon and, quite innocently, she was handed the peach crayon by a white classmate.
Even in third grade though, she knew that didn’t feel right.
“I was feeling a bit confused,” Bellen said. “I knew there was more than one skin color.”
“I knew if I didn’t like being handed the peach crayon, they wouldn’t like being the brown crayon if that wasn’t what they wanted,” she added.
Thus began this young girl’s quest for social justice. In 2020, with the help of her family, Bellen rolled out “More than Peach” crayons. The set features crayons in different skin tones.
“I hope it inspires kids to have conversations about making sure everyone feels welcome and safe in their classrooms,” Bellen said.
Bellen did not stop with the crayons. She is now a published author. She wrote the best-selling book “More than Peach,” which tells the story of how she created the crayons.
This seventh-grader also just added a new accolade to her lengthy resume. “More Than Peach” was selected as this year’s official read-aloud book for the Scripps Howard Fund’s “If You Give a Child a Book…” initiative.
E.W. Scripps is the company that owns this television station.
Since 2016, the “If You Give a Child a Book…” campaign has tried to get as many books as possible into the hands of kids who otherwise can’t afford them.
Bellen is in the process of writing her next book, hoping to inspire other young people along the way.
“I’m doing something to help change the world,” she said.
By Chris Conte, Scripps News.