The Little Flower Vignettes – Story Behind the Story is the non-fictional back-story that inspired the creation of Florita Bell Griffin’s Little Flower International Cultural Art Project.  The project uses storytelling and components of artistic media as a stimulus for promoting literacy.  This volume, however, is not a children’s book, but is offered as an introduction to the real life Little Flower for parents, teachers, clergy and general adult audiences. It is also the story that inspired the Little Flower Project and Novelettes. www.littleflowerartist.com.

Foreword by Major General (Retired) Barrye L. Price, PhD; Narrated by Ebony Griffin

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TCWW Book EXPO One

Front Cover

TCWW 2 Book Signing

Back Cover

 Amazon and Goodreads Reviews

Elizabeth Ann Childs, rated it 5 of 5 stars

No greater words than those spoken from the heart and soul. Thank you, Dr. Florita Bell-Griffin for sharing your historical legacy with us! I found myself relating deeply with your experiences, as many others from the civil right’s era will enjoy. I found myself laughing; I found myself steeped in sorrow for your losses…and our losses; and, I found myself in deep reflection at times reconciling my own gains and losses between pages. I really enjoyed this read! I recommend this literary work for its black history content; gives authenticity to the shared life experiences of black women; and, supports the genre of African-American Non-fiction.

Dee Amos, rated it 5 of 5 stars

Such a delightful and easy read! The author lays bare all that was and is her life’s experiences. The book is filled with romaticism shaded with societal realism that slips into the very souls of the young and shape their future lives forever. Such a wonderful first piece for Dr. Bell Griffin. Already I’m looking forward to the next one!

Dr. PMS, rated it 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely enjoyed this book!! From the moment I started reading, I was hooked! It was as if Dr. Florita was sitting right there in the room with me, sharing her story with as much energy and enthusiasm as the words on the page. The book captures the joys and woes of growing up as a preacher’s kid…with laughter as well as tears of life events. Grab a hot cup of coffee…this is a sip and read book! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Debora McNair, rated it 5 of 5 stars

The Little Flower Vignettes is a refreshing and enlightening read. This book truly reflects and confirms that there is a lesson to be learned in everything that happens to us in life. After reading the Little Flower Vignettes, it is evident that Faith, Family, and a Firm Foundation are the tools that equip a person to overcome the obstacles that one is sure to stumble across on life’s journey.

I had the pleasure of working with Florita in the Angel Tree ministry, she is a strong faithful woman of God. I feel so blessed that God has allowed our paths to cross, her positive energy is contagious. Dr. Griffin is always willing to listen, lend a helping hand, and is consistently encouraging others. Congratulations Florita! Your children’s series is sure to be a great blessing to our youth.

The Grandma Reader, rated it 5 of 5 stars

Written in the style of the vignettes, this nonfictional account of the real Little Flower’s life demanded my full attention at the first page and held me tight to the end. I read it again and again. As I identified with Florita, I burst with pride at the amazing forefathers whose work ethic and attitudes were indeed wonderful examples to follow. Folks whose priorities helped establish their family’s values. I was surprised as I saw sides of family members I had not seen before. I laughed with them.

It is easy to take comfort in knowing you personally have no part in painful historical facts. Your heart breaks, your stomach turns, you want to scream about what you perceive as unjust acts. But you were not there and played no part…. nor in your own pitiful way can you be held accountable. When you finally see the light and realize you lived there and through parts of Florita’s story, unaware and foolishly so into your own life, your heart aches and you hang your head for any part you may have unknowingly played, any oversight, any hurt, any time you could have said or done something to make things better and did not recognize the opportunity.

From my own life I am learning about grieving, mourning and the wilderness journey that we must go through. I am also grieving and mourning for Florita and her dear family and for the place where unjust acts happen and can so easily be overlooked.

This book looks so innocent with its cover photograph. It is not thick, there are not thousands or even hundreds of pages. The type is not small and the pages are not covered with footnotes. I say all of that not to criticize, but to say: the power I found in this book that looks so unintimidating convicted me and brought me to my knees.

Chica, (Amazon UK), rated it 5 of 5 stars
Amazing! I was engrossed in this book from start to finish and when it ended, I swiped frantically hoping to see more. That was my only disappointment. You will experience a range of emotions while reading this book. You’ll get angry, you’ll be horrified, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry but most of all- you’ll be inspired.

Andre P. Malone, rated it 5 of 5 stars
Somewhere in between the disciplines that define people and the circumstances that shape people comes a WOMAN. A little girl, a little flower formed by hard circumstances and tragic events that grew into a woman of extreme depth and character molded around a heart of shining gold. Among many consumed with compromise stands a proud black woman, a fading element in modern society carrying a light that does not dim in the midst of a storm. I had always been curious, the origins of this light and how to it came to be.

After having stood with such a woman on the battle fields of life, it was noted that she had no diffident attributes, she had not a repressive nature and most of all she had no fear. “The Queen” as I came to regard her while quietly admiring and respecting her disciplined and stately all be it “uppity” manner will stand with you in the fire until the rain comes.

For all that you think you know about someone, for all the communication and conversation you had with them it is no effort to presume you know them until, emerges a writing. A writing small in volume, massive in content, revealing only a portion of one person’s life and yet it is the essence of who they are. And in such a moment your questions have answers and you realize, of all you thought you knew about this person; the halves were never told.

ALL HAIL THE QUEEN!!! Dr. Florita Bell Griffin

Bryan Beatty, rated it 5 of 5 stars
Dr. Griffin’s book tells the reader of her own childhood and family history with insightful and meaningful stories while also capturing the essence of life for a Black girl growing up in a small town in the American South just as legal racial segregation was ending. This book should be read by every student of United States history for its accurate and unflinching description of our society during the 1960’s and 70’s as remembered by a woman who was obviously a very observant and precocious child.

Angela Ross Bell, rated it 5 of 5 stars
This book is immediately captivating! It reignited in me a sense of pride in being a woman of color and a descendant of persons who did not allow racial prejudice and racism to stop their progress or stunt their self esteem. This book is written in such a way that it captures your attention and pulls you into the world of Little Flower. You will not want to stop reading until you are finished! You will then reflect on your own heritage and legacy. I am thankful to be a part of this family of survivors and that my children have strong, Christian role models. Thank you, Florita, for capturing these life-defining moments, which have contributed to your becoming the bold, courageous, and faithful sister that you are!

Janet Humphries, rated it 5 of 5 stars
This book is simply wonderful! It is inspiring and encouraging! Through it all the author Dr. Florita Bell Griffin and family always had God as their foundation. This all started of course with the Patriarch of the family and the Matriarch was right there with her husband. This is a family story of love for God and love for one another. I loved every story and could not put it down! This is a book I highly recommend. It will encourage and bless you.

Velva McWhinney, rated it 5 of 5 stars                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was relaxing, funny, and expressed some serious experiences in a manner that evoked acceptance and respect of an era that brought change. I really haven’t figured out how to express how much I enjoyed this book. I know that I am hopeful that the author will continue to write books I will share with children and adults alike. I gave one to my daughter who is very interested in the past challenges and life of African Americans. She enjoyed the book immensely. Great job.

Ebony Griffin, rated it 5 of 5 stars                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This book is phenomenal! This story is written in a way that provides historical reference and insight for both adults and children alike. It offers the reader a chance to view African American education from a unique perspective, while experiencing a piece of American history.

Sandra Dent, rated it 5 of 5 stars                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is a very good book. A true story, told in the voice of the little girl that experienced it. Little Flower, a precocious child trying to grow up and develop her own strengths. While at the same time, her father, a minister, was deeply involved with the Civil Rights Movement. Besides watching Little Flower grow, the book also gives it’s readers a bird’s eye view of some of the activities going on in the country at that time. Thank you Florita for sharing your life.

E. Dent, rated it 5 of 5 stars                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Excellent book!! What a blessing to have read this book about Florita’s journey through the many challenge and hurdles she in order to become to become the person she is today.. As Ministry Leader of The Church Without Walls Angel Tree Ministry, for which Florita is over Christian Education for our members, I must truly say the book was not only excellent but made me proud of the fact that Florita is part of my life experiences. The book is an easy read, very informative and would be an inspiration and suggested reading for Middle and High School students. I’m going to make sure my grandchildren have a copy.

Great job and I’m looking forward to reading and hearing more about Little Flower.

Asa L. Bell, Jr., rated it 5 of 5 stars                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Brilliant! I am amazed at how accurately Florita was able to capture the childhood that I shared with her. I laughed, cried, and re-evaluated the meaning of life and relationships as I read the pages of this must-read book. Each chapter captivated me as I relived my childhood days with the “Little Flower” who made sure that my name made it onto the 5th grade excellence recognition bulletin board and who was also so stubborn that she refused to cry when being punished, even though it would have reduced the severity of the punishment. Thank you Florita for this gem.

Toney C. Tolbert, rated it 5 of 5 stars                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 This is a very good book, so good I could not put it down until I read the entire book.

Highly recommended reading.

Great job Florita

Evadne Smith, rated it 5 of 5 stars                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 I have known Dr. Florita Bell Griffin ALL of my life and this book vividly and accurately tells “her” story. I could not put the book down and could visualize Dr. Griffin as she was writing this story. I read the book in one setting and have now read it twice over. My 15 year old daughter read the book in one setting and was so proud of her Aunt Florita. Last month, as I was riding with my 10-year old son, he said, “Momma, I love Aunt Frita’s book.” I immediately asked him what book was he speaking of. He started to tell me facts from The Little Flower Vignettes and my mouth flew open. He used his Amazon account to purchase the Book and stated that he had already read the book once and was reading it again because he enjoyed it so much. I could not wait to contact Dr. Griffin to let her know how she had impacted the life of my son. This is a read for everyone. I look forward to her next installment.

Amazon Customer, rated it 5 of 5 stars                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

The Little Flower Vignettes, Story Behind the Story was truly an enjoyable book that keep me spellbound. I found myself page after page wanting to read more about Little Flower and her next life adventure. Some of the vignettes made me cry and some made me laugh but each story was truly entertaining. After reading the book I immediately informed family and friends that this is a MUST READ book. Great job Dr. Griffin!

Crystal Y. Granger, rated it 5 of 5 stars                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

 I truly enjoyed reading this book as I found myself reading the entire book in one sitting with time to go back and revisit a few vignettes with which I connected. Little Flower Vignettes takes the reader on a personal journey that is not only relatable, but very inspiring. Dr. Griffin graciously invites the reader to experience a vivid account of life lessons, struggles and endearing moments that invoke a range of emotions from laughter to moments of pause and reflection. Perseverance, love, forgiveness and faith are illustrated through examples of observation and personal experiences. She reminds us to look beneath the surface of life to understand and to gain a perspective on the threads that weave the structure of our journey —- a journey with milestones undergirding the pathway of purpose. According to Dr. Griffin, we ALL have a narrative or “Story Behind the Story” that can reach someone in a powerful and positive way. In doing so, we continue to grow and serve as a beacon of light for others. I enjoyed it so much that I have purchased additional copies in an effort to pass on the blessing of her beautiful testimony of pivotal moments in life.

Kevin G. Bell, rated it 5 of 5 stars                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Excellent book. Read it with great interest. Couldn’t put it down! Humorous and down-to-earth. Move over Cosby Show. Dr. Griffin has lived what you acted and a lot more!

Yolanda Porche, rated it 5 of 5 stars                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         In this collection of beautifully written vignettes, Dr. Griffin expresses her humanity in a way that helps the reader see and connect with the beauty in their own life. She manages to touch something that resonates with and stirs the reader in a simple but profound way. While her life experiences are uniquely hers, she writes about them in a way that illuminates a common human experience of brokenness, suffering and, ultimately, triumph and serenity. The Little Flower Vignettes is an authentic and important book that should make its way to every serious reader’s bookshelf.

Senator Sharon Broome, rated it 5 of 5 stars                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This is an inspiring family saga! The story of the Bell family is an authentic part of African American history. After completing the book, I was eager to read more about their journey. Kudos to Dr. Florita Bell Griffin!

Cleveland O. McLeish, Christian Playwright, Author  rated it 5 of 5 stars                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

This book is not a fiction. The stories told are not a figment of the author’s imagination. The emotions and scenarios described are facts embedded in history and the memory of one little girl. This is the medium chosen to share these facts. This book is based on real life. It really did happen, though hard it may be to believe. It is not a story of abuse, but love. It is not another piece of literature that highlights the weakness and frailty of black people, but it is one of hope. This is not a book that supports a mediocre mind-set, but it speaks to the strength within each of us and what happens when that strength is fully realized in one person.

You will be greatly inspired and challenged to reach higher, and remove the limits you have placed on yourself. We are all born to be great, and to overcome every obstacle. This is a testimony of that truth.

You may be forced to question the title “Little Flower.” The only thing little about our main character is her physical body, but that was a long time ago. Little Flower is the interpretation of her name, and rightly so. She loves flowers. But more so she adds a level of beauty to our history that flowers do in gardens. She has overcome impossible obstacles, and achieved much. She has experienced all the pit falls of child hood and the glory of adult hood. This author simply wants to tell her story. You will laugh, cry and applaud as you flip through these pages. It is by no means an easy read and when you get to the end, you may find it difficult to pull yourself out of the chair, or bed…but the time you spend on this journey will be worth it, and you will want to take it over and over again with and without your children.

This is literary art at its best. It uses words to provoke, inspire and more importantly paint a vivid picture that will last for many generations to come. I am not trying to sell you this book. I am telling you that this is a rare gem that you most certainly need to own.

Dr. Florita Bell Griffin has taken small snippets of her own life and weaved a very interesting tale of faith, love, honour and the experiences that eventually made her who she is. It is very easy to make the connection between these ‘vignettes’ and the Author who pens them. It is very clear that these are her most treasured memories, and I can’t help but feel that there is still more stories that need to be told. So consider this book only an introduction and expect more from this author. After all, how else can we preserve our glorious history, if not with books?
Her writing style is simple, which makes her a very good children’s writer. So this book is an introduction to her first children’s book. Is it strange that as an adult, I also enjoy reading it? Maybe that speaks to the diversity and multi-cultural appeal of this book. It was so easy to become engrossed in the story from the very beginning, which is good in that it makes a very easy and emotional read, but it is bad as your emotions will be escalated to unforgettable proportions at the end. This is a story you won’t know until you read it, but you will never forget after you have read it. As a matter of fact, you will want more.

Florita was born and raised in the era of the civil rights movement. Her Father was a pastor and a civil rights advocate, so you can imagine what she went through as a child. The book takes us through an unforgettable journey from the time when J. F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated to a very pivotal time in the life of the author, a time none of us are ever seemingly prepared for, and very few survive. The Author remembers vividly being at both funerals for those two great men killed in the line of duty, so to speak. They were our advocates; our eyes, mouth and ears in a society that struggled to accept men of colour. She captures the essence of the times, and the emotional atmosphere of those unfortunate events. These events begun to shape her life, and she was very young. How she remembers is a miracle in itself.

Her father was a strict disciplinarian who had one rule, “Always follow my rules.” Of course PKs (Pastors Kids) are known to break rules, and “Little Flower” was no exception. She did her best to follow the rule, but every so often a situation calls for an independent decision that may be considered breaking the rules. Sometimes the good we do, goes against the grain and is usually accompanied by some serious consequences, but men never cease to do good. After all, this Author has a heart that is bigger than simply submitting to self-preserving rules. As children, we can all agree that we obeyed to avoid being spanked, which was our version of persecution as children. But isn’t persecution worth it, when it is administered because we did good.

Florita is a success story that America needs to hear. If you spare the rod, you will spoil the child. In her case, the rod was never spared but try to compare her life to the kid who was never spanked? Don’t be deterred or fall prey to the pity you may feel when reading such portions of the book. The author never undermined her experiences, but adequately highlighted that she learnt from each of them.

The flow of the story is also very good. It follows somewhat of a chronological or linear order with snippets of events and emotions that happen momentarily over several years. We are forced to fill in the blanks as we read, and there are many gaps to be filled. Each chapter is a turning point in the life of the author and we don’t necessarily need to know the details of the in between. Remember the title of the book is “snippets” which can be interpreted as the life changing moments in time that shaped the future and character of the author.

Florita has lived a very eventful and interesting life, and her experiences may not be any different from anyone born and raised in America during the civil rights movement, but how many had a chance to tell their stories. I am sure their children and grandchildren may have heard, but most of us haven’t, until now. It is good to note that Florita’s father excelled in a time when blacks were still considered to be slaves. He owned a car company, and may have even been the first black man to drive a limo. Well, maybe this is a fact in the world of “Little Flower.” She did see the world a little differently from most little children.

That is the true beauty of this book. We see the world and all that is going on through the innocent eyes of a child. At no point are we given over to any other perspective but her own. It is her interpretation of the world that we read, her interpretation of the actions around her, her interpretation of the death by assassination of two of the greatest men who ever lived, her interpretation of life, love, faith, resilience and death.

In Little Flowers eyes innocence exist, and those who stand up for those who can’t defend themselves are her heroes. Every mistake she makes is an opportunity to learn something new. Her Father’s strict, disciplinary characteristic drives her to succeed in all she does and inspires her to attempt the impossible. For her, there are no limits except that which one puts on themselves. If you can believe it, it can be achieved.

Every adult will enjoy reading these stories. Every child will enjoy reading these stories. Every child will enjoy being read these stories. I see this book at the bed side of every black American child. It reminds us of where we are coming from. It highlights our rich history, and some of the very people who gave their lives to make freedom and equality a reality. The beauty about it, more so the best thing about it is that we are given this unique opportunity to see it all through the eyes of a little girl, a Little Flower.

Paige Turner rated it 5 of 5 stars                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is a wonderful book, the story behind the story. It is about the inspiration for an upcoming series of Children’s books. It is so inspiring and Little Flower truly has the soul of an angel. I was so moved by her life, her family, her story. It is so well written and has a smooth and wonderful flow. I did share it with my 9 year old daughter and she was moved to tears as was I a few times. We are both looking forward to reading this series once it is available. I strongly recommend this book, it opens your eyes to the world of inspiration and Gods love that Little Flower shares. It is a delightful read.

Artislyfe rated it 5 of 5 stars                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

What a great book by Dr. Griffin. I had heard about this story from a friend and I decided to give it a try. I will note that it is not a children’s book, but I read it with my daughter who is 10 years old and she absolutely loved it. The book follows the main character Florita as she goes through her journey in life. The book starts out 75 years past Florita’s birth and then gives details about her life. Both my daughter and I enjoyed the lessons that were learned throughout her book. It’s well-written and beautifully put together. I really enjoy when author’s use their real lives as inspiration for books. It felt authentic, real and eye-opening. My daughter had a hard time putting this one down and I did as well. I would love to read more books from Dr. Griffin and I am hoping she will come out with some more soon. My daughter and I are very excited about her children’s book that is coming out.

Skylar Greenstreet rated it 5 of 5 stars                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

On first appearance I wasn’t entirely sure if the book would be for me, thinking that it would probably be geared more towards a younger audience. What I found however was a touching personal history that will capture the imaginations of adults rather than children which was my initial worry. The book is full of anecdotal stories about life in America during the 20th century and charts the changes through the author’s personal experiences in an interesting and engaging way. What perhaps most fascinated me about the book were the lessons that are still applicable in today’s society with their messages of forgiveness and patience. I would definitely recommend the book and the beautifully crafted short stories within make for a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Love rated it 5 of 5 stars
This is a book that truly touched my heart. Today, My 11 year old son and I read it together. It is not a children’s book but, he did not want to put it down. As we read “The Little Flower Vignettes – Story Behind the Story” I could feel a connection that made me visualize and experience the main character Florita’s life. The story takes you on a journey 75 years before Florita Bell Griffin was born throughout her many life changing experiences. The part that stayed vivid in my mind was the lesson she learned from hurting her sister in chapter 15. It is a lesson that teaches forgiveness and the power of a calm response. My son loved the short chapters, they were like reading short stories to him. We were both pleased and will be looking forward to reading more books from Florita Bell Griffin PHD., a very inspiring author.

Nickalouswalsh rated it 5 of 5 stars
Amazingly, this is a very interesting book. The author has done a superb job by recreating her own history in a very detailed manner. This well written book captures the Life of Florita Bell along with her unique culture and attributes. Indeed I was embarking on a fascinating journey. The characters were well crafted.
Certainly the story line is smooth and intriguing. It revealed the delights and struggles of Florita and her family. I had a stimulating read. This compassionate tale has left me totally awestruck. I enjoyed every millisecond of it. Thumbs up

Ryan rated it 5 of 5 stars
This is a great book about the power of forgiveness. The story takes you on a journey 75 years before Florita Bell Griffin was born throughout her many life changing experiences. The author shows within this book no matter how challenging, frightening, or difficult experience may seem, you need to let go in order for you to grow and learn from your experiences. I was pleased and will be looking forward to reading more books from Florita Bell Griffin Ph.D.

clefmeister rated it 5 of 5 stars
“The Little Flower Vignettes” is an amazing journey through the life of Florita Bell Griffin, who grew up during the Civil Rights movement. She shares a number of snapshots from her life, some sad and some very uplifting, but all emotionally charged and moving. Through the vignettes, you will watch a young girl grow into a young woman, and beyond. You will get a glimpse into the types of life events that build and shape our characters, and be inspired by the difficult times and happy events of Florita Bell Griffin’s life.

The stories are short and to the point, each self-contained and very readable on their own. Each has its own nugget of inspiration to be found, and each tells a story of someone overcoming the odds to make the best of their situation and leave a positive impact on the world.

The vignettes are written as the backstory for the fictional character Little Flower, who will be featured in an upcoming children’s educational series of books and transmedia projects. The writing of this collection of vignettes is crisp, clear, and powerful, and it makes it obvious that Griffin is an experienced writer with a lot to say. I look forward to further works by this author, and think that the upcoming “Children of the World” storybook and educational series will make a lot of positive changes in the world.