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  • Writer's pictureThe Poplar Family

Today I turned 13. I am finally a teen!! I have waited a long time to say that.

Sometimes me and my dad build things in the garage together. I like pizza, broccoli, and pretty much every other food. I like to draw and to game.

"I have always wanted to be older and more mature so I can get along well." -Nehemiah

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  • Writer's pictureThe Poplar Family

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

For my birthday I am happy and scared. I always try not to laugh at my brothers when they sing my birthday song. Because they smile and talk at the same time. In short, my birthday makes me feel: proud and good.

I love my family especially my mom and dad because they give me what I need to move forward. And they provide me with food and shelter and I love my brothers. We can agree and get really mad but sooner or later we apologize and hug it out. It's the same thing with my sisters but we don’t argue a lot.

Also, I really love my cousins, grandpa, grandmas, aunts and all of them because each birthday or Christmas they give us stuff so I love them all and I hope I get to visit them really soon after corona is over.

My favorite fruit is a tomato. My favorite vegetables are the carrot and the celery. My favorite food so far is the hamburger.

My favorite toys are Beyblades, pokemon cards, and byakugan. My friends and I have made lots of friends. I cannot say their names because I don’t have right to say their name without their approval.

Last, on my birthday I see

  • cake

  • balloons

  • family

  • friends

  • presents

  • ice cream

  • laughter

That is what my birthday is like.

"Thanks for reading my birthday blog." -Reginald

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  • Writer's pictureThe Poplar Family

“Comparison,” is the name of my first published work. It is a children’s book that I wrote and illustrated in 2020 because Comparison is more common than you may think. This book was not written only for children, as teenagers and adults are capable of comparing themselves to others. However, I chose to write for a younger audience because if comparison can be recognized at a younger age; the temptation to negatively compare becomes much smaller. Dare I say negative because, I do believe that there is also a positive ounce of comparison. The kind that doesn’t steal away joy, but mirrors the person who YOU are today to the YOU that you want to be or have once been. However, the comparison that steals away joy is so sneaky, that it can be confused with the comparison that leads to self-improvement. Negative comparison leans closer and closer towards a lower self-esteem, something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Alas, this is how this book came about.

I know for certain that the likeliness of a child grasping a good idea of a negative comparison is possible. For clarity, (even if the child does not understand that Comparison is up to no good) it is evident when the children in the book begin to doubt themselves, and when the adults within the book choose firmly to stand their ground. I want kids to recognize negative comparison for what it is, even just a little bit, because it would help them to develop a fortitude in their joy. The stronger their joy, the more delightful their self-esteem, and the quicker that a child realizes they are comparing themselves in any way, they will have the tools to decide whether or not they are letting their joy slip away.

My mother, Toya Poplar, is also an author and a lover of words. Her love for poetry and my love for writing stories blended perfectly into the idea that I should write and illustrate my own book all together! It sounded like a hassle at the time, but I’m so glad that she encouraged me to try. I had a couple of poems, too many different stories, and a sketchbook of characters that didn’t feel were right for the project. I had to consider what audience I would write for, and the two novels I was drafting at the time weren’t quite ready for publication. I wanted to prove to myself first that I could finish the drafts of longer stories.

Suddenly, a realization hit me. My short stories were often written from start to finish. My thoughts started rolling, and the ones that I had in mind were alright, but they didn’t have a singular theme. I shared a couple of them with my mother and her face lit up at the one story I wasn’t planning on creating a book to. It was written on the last page of one of my sketchbooks, and at the time I was thinking something along the lines of ‘surely this is too short for a book.’ Boy was I wrong. As soon as I started illustrating the adorable characters I realized: This story isn’t done; not yet. I wanted comparison to be an actual character, so I gave him some lines and it brought the entire book together. More and more of the story fell into place.

When illustrating, I wanted the entire book to have a pastel color scheme. However, adding in Comparison as the thief made me desire dramatic contrasts; hence the vibrant oranges, shadowed browns, and teals. Comparison was also the perfect name for the thief because using ‘the thief,’ as many times as I planned was messing with the rhyme scheme that I wanted the book to have. The way I illustrated the children was also a bit different from my initial style. Their designs were awesome the way that they were, but I wanted their hair to coil in a more simplistic way.

The thief was also much more detailed, but I was afraid that he would scare the kids, so I gave his cloak a “C” and switched his vicious expressions to subtle smirks. The parents were also only visible hands down, but because their presence plays such a huge role in this story I was quick to change this factor as well. It all worked together nicely considering the last pages, and I swapped some of the lines around prior to the finished product for the finished rhymes.

What I want everyone to realize or remember after reading this book or even this blog post is that Comparison doesn't want you to know how special, powerful, and amazing you are . . . And he definitely doesn’t want you to protect your joy. And it is extremely important to keep Comparison far away by protecting your joy, and not comparing yourself to others. You are amazing, you are valuable, and you are unique for being you. No one can take that away. And there are also two quotes that I’ve got to mention that inspired me to keep this message:

“...The joy of the Lord is our strength.” - Nehemiah 8:10

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” - Theodore Teddy Roosevelt.

What I would say to anyone dealing with comparison is that you are not alone. I have faced a ton of comparison as an artist, teenager, and even as an African American female. Comparison is everywhere, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to change a thing, and you don’t have to be so hard on yourself.

I find that for me, being hard on myself is the fastest way for me to fall prey to comparison. Maybe you identify more with the latter; not knowing your worth, or the same as me; being hard on yourself, or anything else that could be lowering your self-esteem. However, in this day and age it is probably easier than ever to compare. Therefore, you have all the more reason to take care of yourself and to protect your joy.

Check out Reading with T. Grow to get a sneak peek of Comparison. Be sure to like and subscribe.

Thanks for your support of my book,


"You are amazing, you are valuable, and you are unique for being you."

Click here to order your copy of Comparison.

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