“What’s Your Story?” is a new, guest post feature on BCBA web. Authors-traditional and self-published-are invited to write about their books, writing journey, creative process, inspiration, rewards and challenges of publishing, etc. They can go in whatever direction they choose. We are excited and grateful for their willingness to share, and we hope you enjoy our guests’ stories.
After I had received my first sample copy of my book in the mail, I thought of the quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” The quote was truly the scenario of my journey of writing and publishing children’s books and manufacturing toys. Everything came full circle when a few weeks ago, I sat down with legendary civil rights leader Reverend Jesse L. Jackson and shared my story.
“I am inspired by my 3-year-old daughter and also turned off by the lack of diversity in the toy and publishing industry,” I explained to Jackson, “I am determined to make a positive impact and influence on the marketplace that is not reflective of the changing demographics of this country.”
After having my daughter in 2013, like any other loving parent, I was excited about being able to share dolls, toys, and books with her as a developing toddler. I was very disappointed to learn that African American girls were not represented well in those areas. I wrote to toy makers, engaged with them on social media, and sought out resources. Finding few options, I opted to do something about it.
Over a year ago, I began the process of researching toy manufacturing and book publishing, and in 2017, I released my first children’s hardcover picture book, I Did it! I Did it!: Zoie Learns to Potty with the main character being my daughter Zoie. Also, the first design for a Zoie Adventures doll is in the works.
I understand that the introduction of the right books during the preschool years is essential to the developmental success of any child. Furthermore, it is extremely important that all children see themselves reflected positively in their community and the world around them. Additionally, research has shown that social skills are learned behaviors. Exposing your child to books that will encourage empathy, generosity, and problem-solving can enrich their social learning. And, exposing your children to cultural books and toys will start the journey toward increased self–awareness.
Rev. Jesse Jackson knows all too well about the lack of representation of minority businesses in the marketplace. He has fought for equality and equal representation of businesses for over 50 years. I told him, “My goal is for black and brown children to walk into any store and they don’t have to search far to find characters that look like them. It’s more than time.”
Monique T. Joseph is well-known for her long-term career as an award-winning public relations and marketing expert. Over the past few years, she has become a leading advocate in developing early childhood education initiatives in underrepresented communities and fiercely promoting the advantages of diversity in early development learning. Visit here to learn more about Monique’s story and her journey into publishing and toy manufacturing or here if you are interested in an author’s visit or sharing Monique’s story with your readers.
A portion of this guest post originally appeared here as, “Local Phoenix Children’s Author Shares Her Entrepreneur Story with Rev. Jesse L. Jackson”