NYC 11-year-old writes book about self-love to help lift children's spirits during pandemic

NEW YORK CITY -- An 11-year-old boy from New York City used his downtime during the coronavirus pandemic to write a book.

It's called "Me and My Afro" and it's meant to help other children who may be struggling mentally because of the situation.

"People need inspiration," Aiden said. "They're probably feeling down. Because of the pandemic kids can't play outside. They have to wear masks and that's wack. So I decided to make a book about self-love and that would get them energetic and feeling much better."

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Aiden, who lives on the Upper East Side, bounced many of his ideas off his mentor 27-year-old Spencer Jaffe.

"I got to see a lot of the pages and ideas going into the book, but Aiden had full creative control," Jaffe said.

"He is the one who made me push to get to my goal to publish this book," Aiden said.

The two have been a team for three years, partnered through the Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City mentoring organization.

There was something I saw in Aiden I saw in myself when I was his age: inquisitive, shy but a little something underneath, something excited," Jaffe said.

"I thought he was exactly like me, he liked the same things I did, except the basketball team, he likes the Bucks and I like the Golden State Warriors," Aiden said.

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Their usual outings pivoted to online chess games and virtual chats during the pandemic.

While Spencer is technically the "big brother," it's a two-way street.

"He is a really strong go-getter and he works really hard to accomplish his goals. It's honestly something I can learn a lot from," Jaffe said.

"I want kids to love themselves and love the way they are, love their hair, and be a leader and not a follower," Aiden said.

As for Aiden's afro, he's looking forward to growing it out again, the bigger, the better.

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