By Katie Bohannon, News Editor
Local author Tomekia Suttle is debuting a lifelong dream. Through her children’s book, What“Nahna” Say, Suttle reflects on the importance of prayer as an empowering resource, instilling value of faith in children at a young age.
Suttle graduated from Gadsden State Community College where she earned degrees in both paralegal and electrical engineering. Wearing a plethora of hats, from mother, grandmother to friend, Suttle’s humanitarian nature prompts her to extend compassion and generosity to all in need.
A lifelong writer, Suttle found solace in poetry and harbored aspirations of future publication. While she often imagined writing a book one day, she never pursued that path until 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. During school closures when Suttle’s grandchildren, Zavier Blú and Zovia Gréy, were at home, Suttle revisited her treasured dream. She spoke with her mother about what to write and her mother planted a seed that would soon flourish. She told Suttle to write about her grandchildren and the thread that binds them together – faith.
Little by little, the pieces fell into place and Suttle’s book came to life. She drew from personal experience, reflecting on emotions of uncertainty during the pandemic and issues of injustice occurring across the nation and world. Regardless of the distressing news that arose or the difficulties individuals face in life, Suttle shared that her hope rests in a brighter tomorrow, because her trust remains in God.
Instilling the precious value of prayer and thankfulness in her grandchildren’s young hearts became the book’s plot, which explores how Blu and Grey recall what Suttle tells them about life, love and the Lord. Suttle details how children can speak to God about any aspect of their lives, sharing that no problem is too insignificant for God to notice, nor too paramount for God to resolve. She transitions from prayers of thanksgiving during mealtimes to prayers of peace and guidance, encouraging children to include God in their actions all throughout the day.
“I feel the importance [of instilling God in children] because it’s direction,” said Suttle. “Even if they stray away, they come back to that root. God is the root of everthing. If you don’t have Him, you can’t do anything. Children need all kind of encouragement. They have to understand they can be anything they want…that value needs to be set. I’d like to instill in my grandbabies and any other child that is reading the book, you can be anything you want to be from God. Don’t let anybody discourage you.”
Suttle finds inspiration in her grandchildren, who she admires as a living testimony while watching them grow up on a solid foundation. As Suttle teaches Zavier Blú and Zovia Gréy, her own lessons ministered comfort to herself, when the woman who first encouraged her, Suttle’s mother, passed away. While Suttle’s mother did not witness the book, entitled What “Nahna” Say, come to fruition, her memory awakens every page.
“Life does not exist to me if you do not have God in it,” said Suttle. “When you have that faith, you can’t fear. Without that faith, there’s no point. Faith delivers, every single time.”
Suttle noted that the publishing company, Rapier Kids, a division of Rapier Publishing Company, proved instrumental in ensuring her dream transformed into a reality. She commended Fannie Pierce, who Suttle described as a God-fearing woman, for her support throughout the entire process, and illustrator Garrett Myers, who depicted Zavier Blú and Zovia Gréy from photographs. As a first-time published author, Suttle fought nervousness, but Rapier Kids appeased all her worries.
“I learned that patience is a virtue and when you trust God, you’re not going to fail,” said Suttle. “It’s a process. Where God has a will, there’s no reason for you to take over. You just have to trust the process. You can’t be upset, you can’t rush anything, because at the end of the day, God is an on-time God. If there is a delay, there is a reason.”
What “Nahna” Say represents the manifestation of a lifelong dream, something personal and meaningful Suttle shares with readers. To Suttle, writing is more than a collection of words. She compared reading to viewing a masterpiece in a museum, writing to an artist painting portraits enriched with description, beauty and life.
For Suttle, writing is a way to be connected, to share a part of her soul with others and give a voice to those words she sometimes cannot express aloud.
“To me, writing is art,” said Suttle. “Art speaks to you. It’s personal. When you put [your words] out there for somebody else [to read], I think you’re touching this person. I feel like writing is like if a canvas could talk to you – you’re putting that on paper.”
Suttle hopes that her book will encourage others as she herself was encouraged and inspire them to achieve their own dreams. She left readers with a gem of wisdom to carry with them into their futures.
“God always has a plan,” said Suttle. “We’re just following it and we have to have faith to trust His plan. The manuscript is already written for us – it’s up to us whether we do it or not. Hang on, don’t give up. It’s going to happen. We’re going to see a brighter day. You might not understand it [right now], but that mess always turns into a message.”
Suttle will host a book signing at the Gadsden Mall in front of the waterfall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 24. She invites the public to attend.