Jazmyn Simon Wants Kids to Know They Are 'Intended and on Purpose' in New Book Most Perfect You

·2 min read
Jazmyn Simon
Jazmyn Simon

Leanne Cantelon

Jazmyn Simon hopes to inspire kids' self-confidence with her upcoming children's book, Most Perfect You.

The book, illustrated by Tamisha Anthony, follows a little girl named Irie who expresses to her mother that she feels she is not perfect as she is. Her mother then explains to her that she was intentionally made up of all of her mom's favorite things, like a bright smile, kind heart and sparkling eyes.

In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, Simon, 40, says her book Most Perfect You, out May 3, aims to remind children that "they are intended and that they are on purpose and that they don't have to look like everybody else, that somebody that loves them picks them."

The actress says the vibrant story was inspired by a real conversation she had with her daughter Kennedy, now 17, when she was about 4 years old. Kennedy's middle name is Irie, who is the main character of the story, Simon shares.

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Jazmyn Simon
Jazmyn Simon

Tamisha Anthony

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"She was in the back seat and she said, 'Mommy, I want to have pretty skin. I want to have lighter skin. I want to be pretty,' " she recalls.

"Everything that she was seeing that equated to beauty didn't look like her," Simon adds, noting that "you wouldn't see a lot of dolls that were brown" in the toy aisle.

"So quick thinking just made me say, well, I asked for you to be that color. So that's how the story originated," she says. "Fast forward to last summer, I thought I need to write that story down so that little people, no matter if they're white or Black, no matter if they're boys or girls, could have a story and know that they are on purpose, that they are perfect and that they don't have to compare themselves to anybody else."

The Ballers actress, who is also mom to 2-year-old son Levi with husband Dulé Hill, says it's "really important" to "teach your children to love themselves, every little thing about themselves, the freckles, the stutters, the dimples, the big feet, the small feet, love it all because it all has a place here on earth."

As the book is about her daughter, Simon says she asked the teenager for approval before going through with the story.

"I read it to her and I said, 'Is it okay that I make this character you?' " she recalls. "And [Kennedy] was like, 'I love it, mama. I think it's great. If it can help one person love themselves then please use me as you want to.' "

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