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The Voice of the Black Community

Life and Religion

Charlotte nurse branches out as children’s book author
Shimah Easter tackles medical issues for kids
Published Wednesday, February 14, 2018 5:19 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

Shimah Easter juggles writing and nursing full-time.

A Carolinas Medical Center University maternity nurse, Easter published her first children’s book as a way to create a space to discuss medical conditions among children called “Ollie’s Outie.”

“It’s based on my daughter, Journey,” Easter said. “She was born with an umbilical hernia, which is basically a big belly button—an outie. Some of us are born with innies and some of us are born with outies. She was born with an outie, and as a nurse, I can say it was the largest one I’ve ever seen. I came across the idea after she was born, and speaking with her doctor, and just exploring how she dealt with that growing up.

“I guess we could hide it, but for the most part, it was so big you could see it outside of her clothes. In school, kids would see it and ask about it. An idea popped in my head to create a series exploring common childhood conditions like juvenile diabetes or asthma.”

Easter and a panel of Warren Publishing authors (Jessica McEachern, Kimberly Dixon and Carmen Jimenez) will participate in a symposium, “Lit. for the Culture!” Feb. 24 from 11a.m.-3 p.m. at Central Piedmont Community College. The free forum is a celebration of Black History Month, and features local groups highlighting elements of black culture.

“Two of my closest friends have businesses that cater to hair care for African American children, Cara B. Natural,” Easter said. “The other caters to hand sewing African garb for children, Naomae Stich.”  

Easter dedicates as much time as she can to her craft.

“I do a lot of writing on a daily basis,” she said. “It’s more cathartic and therapeutic for me to do that. Nursing is one of those things that kind of takes a lot out of you, especially labor and delivery nursing. It’s important to feed yourself in other ways.”

A 2004 UNC-Chapel Hill graduate with a degree in English literature, Easter taught the subject at first, then earned a nursing degree from Winston-Salem State University in 2007.

“I always felt like I owed it to myself and to my parents to do both,” she said. “I say owe it to myself, because they both feed me in different ways. I’ve never let go of the literature aspect. It’s my first love. Nursing has more a of a scientific aspect to it, but it also involves nurturing and caring for people.

Literature is more of that other side that feeds the other part of me.”   

While Easter considers her writing style more mature than what is typically found in children’s literature, she’s “learning to mesh the two.”

“It’s interesting that the first piece I’ve published is children’s literature, but I guess everything happens for a reason,” Easter said.


Shimah, I am so proud of and excited for you. The world needs to hear your voice. I love seeing how your gifts continue to make room for you. Journey, you are special, so keep shining!
Posted on February 17, 2018
Congratulations Shimah!
Posted on February 16, 2018
Congrats, Shimah! You have such a genuine heart and spirit. Continue doing great things...
Posted on February 16, 2018
You are an inspiration! Congratulations!
Posted on February 15, 2018
You?re a wonderful friend, coworker and author! What a honor to see you flourish.
Posted on February 15, 2018
So proud of you.
Posted on February 15, 2018

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