Photos courtesy of Sharon Jackson
Iyla’s Giving is about a curious and energetic little girl who understands the principles of sharing and helping others. The author (I. Krystal Smith) who the main character of the book is named after— is dedicated to raising awareness around the importance of cultivating a love of reading. The book teaches young people that “they are not too young to make a magnificent impact on social issues. They are little humanitarians who will someday have the opportunity to make big decisions that will impact our global community.” Read more on how a Gifting Party helps kids less fortunate and the ways in which Iyla spends time with the elders in her family.
Q: Tell us about your book Iyla’s Giving: A Gift For You? Who’s idea was it to write the book?
A: Iyla’s Giving is about a girl name Iyla which is me. It tells a story of children caring for others, that children can make a difference in the world by caring for others.
It was my idea to write the story and when my Granny Sharon asked me what I wanted to name it I said “Iyla’s Giving” and so my Granny helped me to finish it so we can publish it.
Q: Who or what inspired you to have the heart to give?
A: God, because in the bible it said to give to others and because some people don’t have things so we must share when we can. It does not have to be things it can be giving your time to help others.
Q: In what ways do you encourage other young people to become humanitarians?
A: Through my books, Iyla’s Giving the series. I share stories about acceptance and being able to help each other because we are all one big family. I also try my best to be a good example.
Q: The book mentions a Gifting Party where presents are wrapped to go to kids less fortunate. Is this something you do often?
A: This is something that my family and I do every year. My great grandmother Sweetie and Grandpa Newton began by supporting their community back in Jamaica many years before I was born. I help Granny Sweetie when I can. When I am in Jamaica. I help to give out Christmas gifts to the children. Every year Granny Sweetie sends barrels loaded with books, clothes, shoes, toys to Jamaica for the children. When I am able to join her, I help with giving these items out. My Granny Sharon and mommy also supply gifts for the children in our community in Jamaica every year when we travel there for the summer.
I also help around Houston with my Granny Sharon. Some activities are:
- House of Yahweh, home for single mothers to help them out
- Trash Bash cleaning up of Memorial Park
- Operation Christmas Children-The Samaritan Purse send gift to children around the world
- Fixing meals and fellowshipping with the SASSY Ladies of Houston at The Fisher House which is a home for families to stay when their loved one(s) are receiving treatment at the Veterans Medical Center.
I also donate clothes and toys to different ministries around town. Next month I am going to join Granny Sharon when she volunteers with Rebuild Houston project which helps the elderly repair their homes.
Q: You love to read. Why is it so important to encourage the youth to have a love for reading?
A: I love to read because there are so many great stories. Books open your imagination. Reading helps expand your knowledge and helps you to reason and find solutions. Books can also take the reader on adventures. You can learn so much about different people, places, and things without traveling. If you are a good reader you can understand a lot of things, you can develop your own reasoning and find truth when someone is telling you something that is not true.
Q: Will you be writing another book soon?
A: Thank you for asking. I am working on my second book. It is called Iyla’s Giving—Ginger’s Neighborhood. It is about accepting and loving each other differences as we are not so different after all.
Q: How do you manage to keep up with your studies as a honor student with extracurricular activities such as cheerleading, gymnastics and swimming?
A: My mom keeps me balanced and makes sure that I participate in all things that I enjoy and those things that matter to me. She is the best.
Q: What do you love most about going to church?
A: I love learning about God and how much he loves us. I get to meet new friends, we play and we do a lot of activities in Sunday school. Church is fun for me.
Q: Any advice for your peers to follow their dreams?
A: Yes, I would say to keep on trying. What you think is a small dream can turn into your big successful reality. My Granny always says, “Failure is Not an Option”. I believe that failure is not an option as I cannot fail unless I stop trying and they cannot fail unless they stop trying. Find something you love to do and give it your best. We all have a God-given purpose to be the best that we can be.
Thank you, Iyla for interviewing with Beautifully Said Magazine. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story.
I. Krystal Smith: Iyla is an energetic little girl who enjoys reading, gymnastics, cheerleading, swimming and participates in girl scout activities. Iyla lives in Houston, Texas. She enjoys spending time with family and friends. Iyla is a honor student and one of her favorite things to do is to go to church. She loves learning about God’s love for all his creation. To connect more visit https://www.facebook.com/IylaGiving/
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