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If you need a little pick-me-up, it might be time to take a visit to the bookstore. There, you’ll find a little book full of big dreams and inspirations. Selected and edited by Janet Cheatham Bell and Lucille Usher Freeman, Stretch Your Wings: Famous Black Quotations for Teens (Little, Brown & Co.; $8.95), a collection of black proverbs and quotations, inspires without trying. The consequences of a limited imagination are explained in the breath of a few words when former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison says: “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations . … If you adopt their attitudes, then the possibility won’t exist [for you] because you’ll have already shut it out.”
As you flip through, expect prophetic thoughts on all types of topics that affect us in life, including making better choices, relating to friends, and holding fast to dreams. It’s in these words that you’ll find the strength to get through a difficult situation or gain the confidence to tackle a new project. You can even make it a family affair by sharing the personal ideologies with children, spouses, and others.
However, don’t be fooled by the title. Stretch Your Wings has something for everyone. As one of the editors states, “Some of the people you most admire talk about their fears and triumphs. Their words are powerful, funny, and inspiring.” Look for poignant truisms from Tina Turner, who says clearing the past is what makes dreams come true; or inspirational thoughts from Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, who says money was never a motivating factor. (He always wanted to entertain people and make them feel good.) After reading these snippets, you’ll be moved to do anything your heart desires and then some.
There’s even an index and biographies for you to peruse. From Marcus Garvey, who founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association, to Dennis Kimbro, author of Think and Grow Rich, this resource offers great information about the contributors. Stretch Your Wings is a gem for anyone seeking possibilities, because as Oprah Winfrey explains, “Books showed me there were possibilities in life, that there were actually people like me living in a world I could not only aspire to, but attain. Reading gave me hope. For me, it was the open door.” Let it open a door for you.