BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Michelle Barnes-Anderson has lived every mother’s worst nightmare. Her only child was murdered during a shooting in Brooklyn nearly four years ago.
Now, she has turned her pain into purpose within the pages of a new children’s book released this week.
Barnes-Anderson’s 27-year-old son, Melquian Anderson, was fatally shot while standing at a bus stop near the Farragut Houses NYCHA complex in October 2017.
Anderson’s daughter was born just months after his death.
Barnes-Anderson said Melkenzye Anderson, now 3 years old, is her heart and soul, and the inspiration behind her new children’s book titled “The Sky Has Caring Eyes.”
The book is about a young girl named Melkenzye — her nickname is Mel Mel. She loses her father before she is born but talks to him everyday, in the sky.
Barnes-Anderson said every page is from her heart and comes from her own painful experience — a deeply personal message of hope and love to her granddaughter. But it’s also a message of hope to comfort anyone coping with the loss of a loved one.
“With children, it’s hard to explain to them [that] they will never see them. They can talk to that person,” said Barnes-Anderson.
Barnes-Anderson said the proceeds of her book will go to the foundation established in her son’s name. In just four years, the foundation has granted close to a dozen scholarships to high school and college students across the country.
Barnes-Anderson said she misses her son everyday. She still feels the deep pain and emptiness, but she is on a mission to help other families and children cope with the grief and stop the cycle of violence.
“When they open this book and read these pages, I want them to feel loved, I want them to feel hope,” said Barnes-Anderson.
The Melquain Jatelle Anderson Foundation will give away six more scholarships this fall. Students can apply this week by visiting, mjascholarship.org.