“I think I’m a little bit different, at least that’s how I feel.”
These are the first words in Terrance McCraney’s new children’s book, which focuses on encouraging kids of all ages to discover and embrace what makes them different. Although this is McCraney’s first published book, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“It’s been really cool to hear people reach out and tell me their kids loved the book or loved the video,” he says. “I’ve even gotten some photos of kids with their book.”
So, what makes McCraney, a 2014 graduate of Northern Kentucky University, so different?
“I am the kind of person who loves to express myself any way I want. I used to walk around NKU’s campus listening to music and singing along as loud as I could. I am not ashamed to express myself,” he says.
Self-expression and embracing what makes him unique was what inspired McCraney to write the book.
“You have to realize two things: everyone is different, and there is something special about you,” he says. “Once you realize that, you should celebrate it and help others celebrate their differences.”
McCraney attended NKU for its Theatre program and graduated with a BFA in Acting with the aspiration to be one of the greatest entertainers of all time. Whether through children’s books, film, music, hosting or other avenues, entertainment is always at the forefront of his mind.
“I want to be an entertaining presence,” he says. “I want people to say, ‘This guy understands what it takes to be an entertainer.’”
While being an entertainer comes naturally for McCraney, his time at NKU was what helped shape him for success.
“NKU helped me grow at my own pace” he says. “I did not feel pressured to have to be on someone else’s timeline. I was able to find out who I am and what I want to do to be successful. Success looks different for everyone and for every journey. I do not base my success on any other person. I made a plan and found my own keys to success. Everyone has to define that for themselves.”
The Louisville, Kentucky, native is passionate about learning and educating people about Black history and celebrating the advancements Black Americans have made.
“Growing up in the public school system in Kentucky, Black history was taught in only one month of the year, so I had to take my education into my own hands” McCraney says.
To learn more about Black history and heritage, he joined the Black Achievers program as a student and, every Saturday growing up, immersed himself in and learned about Black culture to take pride in it and in himself.
Black History Month is a time for all to celebrate Black accomplishments as well as embrace the immense diversity of culture, creativity and ingenuity in America. It is a time to educate ourselves and others about the rich history of Black culture and continue the fight for diversity and racial equity.
Black History Month is also an opportunity to embrace our diversity.
“I think I’m a little bit different and that’s the best thing to be,” McCraney says in his book. “Being different makes you, You. Being different makes me, Me.”
At the end of the book, McCraney encourages parents to discuss with their children what makes them different and how to embrace their differences.