It is another school year and as students return back to the classroom, parents are back to juggling homework, extracurricular activities and school meals. There are many school programs aimed at making sure students have healthy meals to eat each day. Not only are they planting the seeds for healthy choices, they are also planting the seeds for future career choices as well.
The next generation of “healthy eaters, readers and leaders,” are among us and through her organization WANDA (Women Advancing Nutrition, Dietetics and Agriculture), Tambra Raye Stevenson is on a mission to inspire and empower women and young girls to build healthy communities.
Stevenson’s passion for building healthy communities starts with her work as a nutritionist here in the states as well as throughout Africa. She works with several organizations to highlight the benefits and nutritional importance of eating foods that are whole and alive with a special emphasis on the foods of Africa that offer so many healing properties to help fight chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
With so many families enjoying quality time in the kitchen, it is never to soon to begin talking and teaching about food and how to make healthy choices. In fact, the younger the better. Just this year, Stevenson released, “Little WANDA Finds a Cure for Nana,” which is one of the cutest books we have read in a long time. Written in both English and Hausa (a Chadic language spoken throughout West Africa), the book follows a little girl named Wanda who overhears that her grandmother, Nana, has diabetes. After Wanda’s papa appears in her dreams and tells her to help Nana replace Western foods with African heritage foods, Wanda sets out to find a cure for Nana.
Connecting with her roots in Nigeria, Wanda is introduced to foods from the Fulani diet that offer healing such as millet and hibiscus and shares what she has learned with her mom and Nana who are impressed. In the end, little Wanda is making a difference at such a young age and that is the goal Stevenson is out to achieve.
Little WANDA is the Doc McStuffins of nutrition meets Dora the Explorer of Africa, writes Stevenson on the back. With that being said, who are the little WANDAS in your family? The perfect addition to this year’s reading list, “Little WANDA Finds a Cure for Nana,” let’s little girls around the world know that they are essentially all Little WANDAs and can make a difference at any age.
The book helps to support Stevenson’s organization and the work around nutrition education that is much needed. To purchase, visit www.iamwanda.org.