Local children illustrate for first book of new series

NOW: Local children illustrate for first book of new series

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- A new children’s book series, featuring the artwork of children in the community, will highlight important stories and experienced of South Bend’s most iconic black figures.

“It’s really unique and special in that it’s got the artwork of local youth and is a story about South Bend,” says Professor and Director of PubHub at Indiana University South Bend, Kelcey Ervick.

The first book will share the story of Barbara V. Brandy, who faced discrimination as a young girl at the former Engman Natatorium on South Bend’s west side. It will be titled ‘The Little Girl in the Red Bathing Suit’.

“The little girl in the red bathing suit is my mother, Barbara V. Brandy,” says Kenneth Brandy, Founder and Executive Director of the Ripples in the Water – The Barbara V. Brandy Foundation. “When she was a child in the late 1930s, she was turned away from the natatorium because of the color of the skin.”

Seven decades after she was turned away from the public swimming pool, she was invited to attend the grand opening of the Civil Right Heritage Center, where the pool once stood. Her name and legacy reside on the walls of the center.

“She was able to walk into this building free from the guard booth of ‘This is not your day to swim,’” Brandy says.

Along with local kids contributing their artwork for the book, students at IUSB have the responsibility of putting on the final touches and making sure the book is ready for publication.

“They’ll take the book out to local schools and talk about the project and share this really important story,” shares Ervick.

Barbara Brandy’s story, as well as those whose will come next in the book series, are important to share as they help to heal pains of the past while educating South Bend’s youth about the struggles black people endured in their own community.

“I absolutely love that we get to connect in so many different ways, with the local youth and then our students, and Barbara Brandy’s story is just so special and important for everyone to know in this community,” Ervick says.

“We talk about the Rosa Parks, and the Martin Luther Kings, and the Malcolm X’s, but we need to focus on sharing with our children the history of our community,” adds Brandy.

‘The Little Girl in the Red Bathing Suit’ is expected to be published and released on Juneteenth this year!

More information about Ripples in the Water programs

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