Toddler daughter inspires Hamden pastor to write children’s books; teacher calls first one ‘really awesome’

HAMDEN – Darius Good is a longtime professional sermon and spiritual writer including the book Unlocking Godly Wisdom: Solomon’s 7 Pillars of Wisdom.

But now he is thrilling parents and educators with a children’s book that is told through the eyes of his one-year-old daughter Riley.

“Stars Stars”, the first of 10 planned books of his “The Adventures of RiRi” series, meets the fact that its main character is a “little African American girl” with its engaging, child-friendly, rhythmic quality and with at least one teacher.

Philadelphia teacher Lauren Browning, a special education teacher and Stars Stars fan, said most of the students in her district are black, and that’s partly why she employs the character RiRi.

“It’s important to have a character that reflects who he is. … I can see that they really have a connection to it, “Browning said. “I think it definitely broadens your perspective. I think it’s a really great book. “

“Stars Stars”, the first of 10 planned books in the series “The Adventures of RiRi” by Pastor Darius Good.

Arnold Gold / Hearst Connecticut Media

This science and astronomy book explores the question “What happens to the stars during the day?”

The book’s “rhythm and flow” adds to phonemic awareness and touches both science and literacy. Browning, originally from New Haven, came into the book of Good Pastor as a long-time member of the Bible Gospel Center in Hamden.

Good, who lives in New Haven with his family, is the son of John and Gwendolyn Good, who founded the Church in 1975 – two years before he was born.

The center is a non-denominational church where they study the whole Bible from beginning to end.

Good, who has two degrees from the University of New Haven – one in communications and the other in the music industry – took over the leadership of the Church in 2013 at the age of 36. His mother took over the management in 2006 after the death of his father and then resigned in 2013, but continues to work in the administration of the church day-care center.

“I’d say it’s a calling,” he said of taking over the Bible Gospel Center where he grew up. “The transition was easy. Everyone knew me. They trusted in my leadership and followed me. “

Good is also a piano, drums, organ, and trumpet musician, songwriter, and had a career as a record producer in New York City – Whitney Houston and hip-hop artist Ginuwine were among those he produced songs for.

Good never thought he would write children’s books, but like music, writing children’s poems to be made into books came from a place of “inspiration”. He buried 10 of them in two days during the pandemic.

His daughter Riley – RiRi for short – helped inspire him and the character is loosely based on her. He describes the youngest of his three children as “brave, open-minded, not afraid of anything” and quick in the head.

Good said he read RiRi – her favorite book – Goodnight Moon, and questions about stars came to him. That’s when inspiration struck.

“I’ve always loved astronomy, always fascinated by the planets, the solar system and the effect of the moon on the earth,” said Good.

He needed an illustrator who could turn Riley into a character and founded the Drumshtick Art Studio in Kenya.

Stars Stars can be ordered online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Target or on the Good Family website JustRiley.net.

The second of its series is about to become a book, a light poem about Riley’s favorite songs.

The third book looks at Riley’s relationship with her older siblings from a previous marriage and addresses the question, “Why don’t I see her every day?” The fourth, “Rain, Rain” is about Riley getting ready to go out and play, but the rain is coming.

Good said he loved that toddlers were “innocent” like that.

“I don’t think we know how much they understand,” said Good, the kind of practical dad who comes in and changes diapers.

New Haven’s Denisha Pettway said her son Jay’Ceon Greene, 6, got a lot out of the book on many levels, as the choice of words, content, and illustrations encourage engagement and understanding. She said they worked hard “building Jay’Ceon’s library” to support his speech.

“The book is excellent read for this age group,” said Pettway. “He was excited and encouraged about his reading.”

One of the best experiences in the book is that Jay’Ceon was motivated to help the toddler character answer the question of where the stars go at night. The first grader deduced that the stars are there during the day but don’t appear because it is bright.

The book is dedicated to Goods’ wife Chazaree, who owns multiple businesses, Riley, who will be 2 in August, and his two older children, Symone, 14, and Trevor, 12.

The Goods donates a portion of every book sale to Mercy Ships, an organization that provides free life-changing surgery and health care to the world’s “forgotten poor”, he said.

As a spiritual guide, Good said, “I love helping people. I love to watch the lightbulb go out in people’s eyes when they come to a place of understanding. “

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