Light & Verity

Senior project for junior readers

A children’s book based on West Haven memories.

Mark Zurolo ’01MFA

Mark Zurolo ’01MFA

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Abdul-Razak Zachariah ’17 has fond memories of the apartment complex in West Haven where he grew up. When he decided to write a children’s book, that was where he looked for inspiration: to the apartment complex, and to his little sister.

“I wanted to help children of color feel validated and seen in their experiences of play within their community,” explains Zachariah, who majored in sociology and now works for the children’s nonprofit LEAP in New Haven. The book was part of his senior project in Yale’s education studies program; it began as a supplement to his study of how people of color are represented in children’s books. But it found the attention of Penguin Random House.

The Night Is Yours, with illustrations by Keturah A. Bobo, was published in July. It follows a young girl as she plays with her friends after dark in the courtyard outside their apartments. It begins: “Little one, so calm and so happy, this is your night.”

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