Enduring trauma of any kind, especially from a young age, leaves lasting scars that often cannot be healed alone.

In her debut children’s book, “Butterflies In Me: An Anthology Bringing Awareness to Mental Health,” childhood sexual abuse survivor, author, award-winning filmmaker and poet Denisha Seals shares a collection of stories about children experiencing different types of trauma in an effort to start a crucial conversation about mental health, specifically in children from marginalized communities.

Following the individual stories of Kenya, Lulu, Abbas, and Javier, “Butterflies In Me” details each child’s journey to finding his or her voice and overcoming his or her troubles with the support and love of a caring adult.

Accompanying the book, “Learning to Love Your Butterfly: A Workbook Building Self-Esteem and Resilience,” is a workbook designed to help children in grades 4 through 8 learn more about themselves through the process of self-reflection and goal-setting, all with the intention of boosting self-esteem. 

In addition to the workbook, Seals offers “Tools for Children to Embrace Their Mental Health,” a guide with tools for practitioners who work with children, providing crucial information on diagnostic criteria according to the DSM-V (a manual for assessment and diagnosis of mental disorders).

Both books, in tandem with “Butterflies In Me,” work to uplift the voices of children, who are rarely empowered to speak up on their own behalf, no matter their background.

Seals is a mental health advocate above all else and is known for using her pen to uplift the voices of the marginalized and the victimized. Her work as an artist in both film and writing has compelled her to share the lessons she has learned from her own childhood trauma with children who may be struggling in similar ways, and their caretakers. With “Butterflies In Me,” Seals hopes to open the conversation around mental health and challenge any existing stigma held against marginalized voices.

“Butterflies In Me: An Anthology Bringing Awareness to Mental Health” can be purchased on Amazon.

Denisha Seals is an artist, filmmaker and author who uses the power of her pen to lift the voices of the marginalized and victimized. A survivor of childhood sexual abuse and trauma, she advocates for more awareness and understanding of the emotional toll abuse victims experience, particularly children of color. Her uplifting stories inspire readers to be strong, fearless and full of hope. For more information, visit her website, www.water2spirit.com