Brownsville mother-daughter team writes children’s book to teach students about their heritage

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"Children never seem to hear positive stories about their heritage, African-American kids."

Which is why former public school teacher Cathie Wright-Lewis wanted to share the story of her great-grandmother's escape from slavery. One she heard so many times from her grandfather growing up.

"It touched me so much. I wanted to honor her in some way," said Wright-Lewis.

So the already accomplished author created Mama Relly.

The book merges her great-grandmother's story with another slave story about the meteor shower of 1833.

"They thought it was the end of the world because at first they thought it was snow, but then it started showering down so hard an fires were sparking," said Wright-Lewis. "And the slave master started literally letting his slaves go, he released them."

But to make it a children's book she need to make the story come alive with pictures. So, she decided to keep the work in the family.

"My daughter is such an awesome artist. I figured she could bring my story to life and I knew she would and she did."

"I had to read the story, first of all, it was amazing and I already saw the visions in my mind," said Cheyenne Lewis.

Lewis, created a new style of art for the book based on her love and anime.

"I called it Afro-Manga which is combining my love of Japanese animation and African American Culture."

Today, the duo is bringing their story into the classrooms of several Brownsville schools as well as an after school program at the Brownsville Heritage House.

"Mom and I already have a close mother daughter relationship and I always thought we could do something big together and this was it," said Cheyenne.

Mama Relly is available at Barnes and Noble, the Brownsville Heritage House, and on Amazon.

They say they've received such a positive response they've already created a coloring book and say Mama Relly has more stories to tell that will be out soon.

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