For Black parents and people of color, “the talk” is a moment of terrible tension. Telling BIPOC youth what they must do to survive is necessary. And yet it needs to end. 

This book, created In partnership with the National Black Child Development Institute, manifests that tension with A-to-Z sections for children, highlighting 26 critical lessons, from being “aware” of your surroundings to knowing how to remove the “mask” you wear to hide your true self.

Drawing from a collaboration of Black parents, students, health experts and artists, and based on 50 years of mental-health research, it seeks to improve and advance the quality of life for Black families and addresses the urgent need for more mental health support.

Even its typeface — Martin — speaks to the issue. Typographer Tré Seals based the font on years of research and design around the peaceful protests that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. 

With a budget of $25,000, the project sprang to life during Black History Month, releasing one letter and lesson per day on Instagram. At the end of the month, the campaign sent 100 limited-edition hard-bound books to key influencers, which helped drive traffic and donations.

The goal was to create awareness and spark change. Besides generating media coverage and social awareness, the project is winning with teachers and schools at the most meaningful level. So far, 10 schools are already using it as part of their curriculum.

“This is a brilliant concept and is very well executed,” our judges say. “While it’s early on the results, we can’t wait to see this fly further.”