Natalie Inman, asociate professor of history at Cumberland University, will celebrate the release of two children’s books based on Haitian culture at the Centennial Park Pavilion on Sept. 12 at 2:30 p.m. For every copy of “Can You?” and “Roody and the Simple Gift” sold at this event, one book will be given to a child or school in Haiti.

The free event is open for all to enjoy with live music from Lain Tomlinson and Lee Austin, Haitian food trucks and Haiti-affiliated organizations’ booths including the Joseph School, a nonprofit school committed to empowering Haitian children through education while meeting their spiritual and physical necessities, and Time4Haiti, a ministry dedicated to building community and sustainability projects. There will be book readings, book signings, photo opportunities and games for kids.

“Haiti has been through so much lately, from the assassination of their president to the recent earthquake and a tropical storm and hurricanes hitting right on top of the damage of the earthquake. It has been really intense,” Inman said. “These books, and the profits that come from them, are providing a little encouragement and reflecting the positive things about Haiti. That is something people there need right now — a little help providing for their kids’ education, something fun and pretty to read and a reminder that they are not forgotten by the outside world.”

Over 110 books have been set aside as donations to support reading and language learning in Haitian classrooms. Many Hands For Haiti, a nonprofit organization that partners with Cumberland University, has already received book donations for its preschool, the Yellow Iron School of Light, to use in the fall.

The publishing of “Can You?” and “Roody and the Simple Gift” was funded by the Dr. McKee Academic Research Grant, which has allowed for the buy one, give one initiative. With all of the proceeds from the book sales going directly into a savings fund for Haitian education, Inman expressed her gratitude for those supporting this event.

“I appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have seen already by members of our Middle Tennessee community buying and donating these books to support education in Haiti,” said Inman. “I can’t wait to see what we are able to accomplish as a result of this event.”

Since 2015, Inman has been developing partnerships with Haitian nonprofits through Cumberland University’s Service Trip to Haiti. Paired with the Service Trip to Haiti is the Socially Responsible Leadership class in which students learn about the culture and speak at leadership conferences throughout Haiti. The upcoming book launch will be a reunion for students and graduates who have previously participated in those service trips.

“Cumberland University is proud to have faculty like Dr. Inman who are using their time and resources to give back to those in need,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Bill McKee. “I am honored that this was made possible by funding from the McKee Academic Research Grants and I look forward to seeing the ways that our distinguished faculty will utilize these grants.”

For more information about this event and how to get involved, contact Inman at

Submitted to the Democrat.

Submitted to the Democrat.

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