Hi everyone, I want to let you all know about an exciting next step in my journey. My second book is now in pre-production. Joshua’s Amazing Adventures is the current working title. This story, like the last book, follows Joshua as he overcomes a big decision we all face each morning. Should we stay in our cozy bed and continue to dream or seize the day and the adventure that awaits us.
To produce this new book I am using a Crowdfunding model. Kickstarter is the platform I have chosen to partner with to make this dream real. So look for more information on the project in the coming months. I am offering great awards including opportunities to make donations to schools, and other learning institutions. If you know someone who you feel would be interested in supporting this project, please share this post.
Books Reviewed for 2016
Celebrating Daddies Doin’ Work
By Doyin Richards
I feel like this book is broken into three sections. The first section I’ll call the conversation. Next, you have “The Lesson.” The final section is the “refrain.” is My son and I enjoyed reading this book together. As we read through the scenes he kept saying, “Daddy, you do that with me.” We really enjoyed the pace of the book and felt it really captures the moments that are special for you and your children. You may not notice the moment because you’re in it, but children remember them. Thank you.
ADA TWIST SCIENTIST
By Andrea Beaty and Illustrated by David Roberts
This is a memorable little mystery wrapped in a wonderful lesson in self-directed learning. The story follows a little girl as she tries to solve riddle of an odd smell. She tests her theories and her family in the process. My son and I enjoyed the journey tremendously. One humbling surprise, my son is was the first person in the family to figure out the mystery. My wife and I have read this story with my son for the past three months and he was the only person to figure out the mystery. It just goes to show you how incredible children’s minds are. Well done Author.
MARVELOUS ME (Inside and out)
By Lisa Bullard and Illustrated by Brand Brandon Reibeling
This is a tail with several superb layers. It’s about a little boy named Alex who imagines all of the things about himself that he is proud of. His imagination is boundless. There are some surprises in the story. However, I won’t be dropping any “Spoilers.” My son enjoyed the main character’s energy throughout the story. He seemed to relate to Alex. Finally, the illustrations are excellent; they capture the story moments perfectly.
Daddy Calls Me Man
By Angela Johnson and Illustrated Rhonda Mitchell
First of all the beauty of the illustrations immediately strikes a chord reminiscent of the Harlem Renaissance. They are marvelous. The book has four short stories that feel like poems. It’s amazing how the phenomenal pictures capture the stories perfectly. In fact, as I read the stories to my son, he began to make up his own stories within the book. This is a sure sign of a hit, in my home.
Thank you to the wonderful children of Bright Star Kids Academy for making my first book reading so much fun. We sang! We laughed and it was great.
Like most artists, I can usually find inspiration in other art forms, but everyday life provides an interesting experience too.
Last week, my son and I were at the park. He was climbing on the monkey bars and the jungle gym when a little girl and her friend walked over clutching their dolls. The first little girl turned to the other children and announced, ”Girls don’t play on the monkey bars,” and pulled her friend away. Her father and I smiled at each other. Being the provocateur that I am, I asked my son “Do girls play on the monkey bars too?” He said, “ Yes Daddy.” On his own he went over to the little girls and said, ”I’ve seen girls play on the monkey bars.” They looked at him as if to consider his comments. Then they went back to their dolls. Five minutes later I saw those little girls climbing on the monkey bars and I thought to myself good for them. Then the first little girl came over to me and said, “I’m going to go climb on these brown monkey bars. They are like the ones at my school except they’re brown and my school’s are blue.“ I smiled and said, ” They look fun.”
I inferred that she always wanted to climb on all the monkey bars, but somewhere or somehow she believed couldn’t because she was a girl. Sometimes, all any of us need is someone to tell us a thing is possible for us to imagine ourselves doing it.
I thought that this was an inspirational experience for a children’s story. It was an interesting situation to witness. I’m hoping when this little girl goes to school on Monday, she’s going to “Lean in” to those blue monkey bars.
One day my son came home and would not take off his shoes. When we asked him “why,” he said some other children had told him his feet were dirty because they were brown. It was a reminder that how we needed to reinforce the positive self-image. Moreover, I think the other children’s development could benefit from more developmental exposure. So we decided to search for more children’s books that featured diverse characters. In this part of the country, finding these types of books proved to be very challenging. At one point, we asked a sales woman if she had any books with diverse characters, to which she replied ” I have some books with animals from Africa.” This didn’t help. Next, we searched the web and friends sent us books. For example, we found some Sesame Street books focused on appreciating differences and similarities. However, the options remained limited and dated. At this point I decided that I would Self-publish a book.
My brother shared a great organization called “ We Need More Diverse Books.” The main focus for this organization seems to be to provide a vehicle for authors like myself to connect our content with readers interested in stories which feature diverse characters. I was encouraged to find like-minded artists.
To develop my story “Joshua’s Amazing Gift,” I attended Diversity in Books workshop sponsored by an organization I joined called the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. One of the speakers said the number of books which feature an African American Character has largely stayed flat for more than 20 years. This is mostly true for other groups in America. Another audience member commented on the lack children with disabilities being represented in stories as well. So I am going to continue to encourage representation of everyone. If you agree that Diversity and Inclusion in Children’s literature is an important goal, please add comments.