Geeky Mikita was very flattered to be invited to do an interview for the STEMINIST website.
The STEMINIST website interviews women who work in STEM. If you ever wondered what jobs a girl might do in Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths then have a look at some of the things these women get up to. You are gonna be impressed- and maybe even a little bit envious but inspired too!
Just for example; Melissa works with sharks. Judith went to Jordan to teach girls about water in their environment, Islin is a “weather junkie” in Alaska and she has very good advice for girls picking a career,
Here is Mikita’s quote about her heroes:
“Stephen Hawking is an impressive multi-tasker and so is Beyonce. Stephen Hawking is a cosmologist as well as a theoretical physicist and Beyonce is a mum as well as a musical genius. They are like me cos I had to babysit and do my homework at the same time.”
I have always loved long curly hair and as a teenager I used to draw girls with flowing tresses (we did not have he phrase “slayed tresses” in Ireland back then). My own hair is fine, uber-straight and incapable of holding any kind of curl or kink. So drawing curls was the closest I got. And photographing Barbies for BlackHair magazine.
But not everyone who is capable of curls wears their hair curly. There are plenty of reasons for that – which I won’t go into here – but part of it has to do with confidence.
If you think your child might be a naturalista who would like to wear their hair in a natural afro then a book featuring BIG HAIR might guide their journey. When kids are young it’s all about self-image and empowerment. And that’s where books come in. Some books are not specifically about hair but feature a character with a natural style. Most are in the 3 and upwards age-range.
So let’s go. Here is a list of the Top 15 best big hair books for children.
1.Big Hair Don’t Care by Crystal Swain-Bates
Most of my book choices feature a child of African descent living outside of Africa and therefore surrounded by European hair. In this book a chirpy little girl faces that situation head on with her poem.
“I’ve got big hair and I don’t care
And even though the kids may stare
I lift my hands up in the air
And smile and say…
I love my hair”
I’m mentioning Crystal Swain-Bates again because she has made natural hair something of a cause. Let Amazon guide you to books like Naturally Me, Black Fairy Tales, SuperMommy and many others where the covers depict fabulous fulsome black hair
The artwork by Courtney Bernard is beautiful so I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
This book has a sister book called Daddy Do My Hair-Hope’s Braids. Art is by Rahima Begun. The author does book readings around London and has her very own blog called My Long Hair Journey.
This book has a Jamaican little girl with Afro puffs on the cover. On the back cover the same girl in her contemporary clothes is seen slapping away happily on African drums. As part of the Irish diaspora I appreciate books that make other people feel at home in all the countries they identify with.
The companion The Alphabet with Bella has artwork of her taking part in what I think is the Notting Hill Carnival waving her British and Jamaican flags and wearing a glorious feather crown.
Check out the gorgeous mother in this book with her skinny jeans and natural fro. There is a sweet picture off the little girl sleeping with her hair in a silk scarf as she dreams of an exiting future visiting the Paris, Cuba and Africa. Daveia Odoi is the illustrator.
“We mixed you perfectly, and got you just right.”
10. Happy Hair by
Anyone who knows me probably knows that I own far too many dolls for someone of my age. My collection of Christie, Wesley, Madison, Nikki and other black Barbie dolls is a guilty pleasure. I tried to share a few with my niece but only managed to set one doll free.
With Christmas coming I thought that now would be a good time to do a round up of some of the sources of dolls of colour. Visitors to my site come from all over the world so my list of sources will too. I’ll start with a few alternatives to Amazon and then I’ll do a few guidelines on finding the best Barbies on Amazon.
- Black Beauty Dolls – Fun, Pride and Self Esteem
This website has a mixture of baby dolls, best-friend dolls, boys’ toys, accessories and books. Many of the dolls listed can be bought directly from the site which I think is UK based. Some of the dolls have sold out but this site is all about sharing the info so the listings and picture remain online.
They want black kids to have black toys and nice childhood memories so they seem happy to share info even if it means people shopping elsewhere. Good on them. The photography and descriptions on this site really show off the charms of each doll.
Taofick Okoya is the Nigerian entrepreneur who created this range of dolls to give African girls dolls that “reflected their culture and heritage” – in other words, dollies rockin’ a Naija look. The Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba dolls have royal ancestry. Maybe you do too?
The story is a good one. Local women hand braid the girls’ hair and sew the modern and traditional outfits. Recently the company was proud to announce the fact that they outsell Barbie in Nigeria! The website – which is full of lively African content – gives links to where the dolls are on sale globally. There are storybooks too.
- Zolie Zi – the girl who stands up to bullies
Our pals Zolie and her author, Sonya J Bowser, recently visited London so I’m sure parents and kids , and of course Santa Claus, will want to know where to get the gorgeous, plush doll. Girls and boys really bond with Zolie Zi (who is an unusually likeable character) and want to be ‘doll mommies’
US doll mommies can head to Amazon. The doll is not yet on Amazon UK so for now either head to Zolie’s store on her website, ask your friends in the US or try Coloured Goodies in the Netherlands. More on them below. Zolie Zi is back in London next year and I am sure the merchandise will become easier to buy.
Not met Zolie Zi? Our interview with Zolie herself is right here.
This site is a treasure trove of items that kids will love. After you log in, hit translate as the site is in Dutch. They have dolls, toys, books, a useful range of greeting cards and clothing.
They make good use of the famous Dutch wax print fabrics and you can buy dresses for Barbie-sized dolls as well as very sweet head-wraps for baby dolls. They have a wonderful range of baby dolls. There are plenty of baby boys in there. Shanice and Jaylee are not just beautifully dressed but soooo darn cute!!
It is easy to feel daunted when you go into Amazon looking for a black Barbie doll. The prices can be shocking and how on earth do you choose? I’ll give you a few tips.
Don’t look for black Barbies Amazon and Mattel who make Barbie dolls tend not to to use the word black. Barbies come from California so the terms AA or African American are used instead.
Keep it simple You know that your doll will probably spend most of her life in the bath in her swimming costume. Don’t overspend on lavish dresses unless you really want to – or if the doll is for a collector. I have put a few cash-splashing options at the bottom.
Keep it current The dolls are changing all the time and usually to current dolls are the most affordable. They tend to have simple outfits and cost around ten British pounds in the UK.
At the moment the Fashionistas collection seems to be where the new dolls are. For the gorgeous doll at the top of this page type in Fashionista Fancy Flowers. Other dolls of colour are Fashionistas Zig and Zag Curvy Doll, Fashionistas Boho Fringe, Fashionistas Emoji Fun.
Outside of the Fashionistas there are other dolls with more accessories that will make great Christmas gifts for around 20 pounds. Her name doesn’t trip off the tongue but Barbie Careers African American Doll and Play-set is a gorgeous doll who comes with very sweet, tiny babies that she has just delivered successfully. The Made 2 Move Soccer player is a beautiful athletic doll. So is Barbie Endless Moves Doll with Yellow Top. Mix ‘N Color Barbie Doll (AA African American) has hair colours and salon accessories.
In my day Christie was the name to search for but she is now vintage and priced accordingly. In the 1990s I would go to Woolworths in Brixton and pay a fiver for a swimsuit Christie on my way to work. Another doll whose price has risen is My Scene Westley. Better to try eBay for old dolls. That will be my next doll post.
Christmas is coming so hurry up and get shopping.
The e-Book version has taken many, many hours, days and weeks to make. Believe me, you cannot just press a button to turn square pages into rectangular ones. I think the e-Book looks amazing and I’ll be posting when I do my free giveaway on Kindle.
In my day I believe I was responsible for the most expensive children’s book illustrations ever. My “Fairy in the Family” books with their lavish studio photos of real models absorbed all my spare cash.
I was intrigued to hear that I could buy illustrations for as little as five dollars from a website called Fiverr. Fiverr is one of those new ‘gigging economy’ websites where sellers all over the planet offer tantalising art works. The offers are presented in the first person “I will sing your jingle for a fiver”, “I will create your cartoon portrait for a fiver” and so on.
The website has the feel of an affordable sweetshop. I have decided to give it a go for my book “Kei-Ling and the Ivory Princess”. After looking at dozens of drawings I have settled on someone with very cure drawings on her profile page.
The first thing I noticed was that while many people offer a service for a fiver, added extras can bump up the cost. But the sellers vary widely in their pricing. There are bargains to be had but also you can pay what you feel to be fair and right. I would feel bad about paying five dollars for something this good.
I am very excited to think I can have something as lovely as this after a few days wait and a few euro going out of my PayPal account.
I have sent off my own version of a front cover to an artist in the Philippines. I want a cover, not just a drawing and I want commercial rights so the cost is closer now to fifty than five and heading upwards. I think this style will suit my characters and give them a professional, commercial look.
My own cover is here. This labour of love took many hours with hand drawn pictures researched and coloured by hand. I cannot wait to see how the artist reinterprets my drawing.
Bekki the Fairy is very excited to meet Zolie Zi, also known by her nickname “Miss Chit Chat”. Zolie is the narrator of a series of books set in the Helping Hands Academy for Gifted and Talented Children.
Before we start check out the pics of Zolie on this video. She’s a cutie!
Bekki: Is it true your story was on the radio read out by a very special presenter. Tell me about that, please.
and and a dolly
In her first ever blog interview Bekki the Fairy is delighted to meet Raffi the star of Made by Raffi. He tells her why is it cool for boys to knit.
Bekki: Hi Raffi. It is good to meet you. I’m Bekki the Fairy and I am a very helpful fairy. Now i should point out that I am a girl. Are you one of those boys who doesn’t like playing with girls?
Raffi: Hi Bekki, aren’t all fairies helpful? I like playing with everyone, even adults. The spelling of your name is really cool.
Bekki: Back Atcha! That means ‘same to you’. Tell me, what is so good about knitting?
Raffi: Knitting is really peaceful. I like to be quiet. It’s a great way to pass the time on a long, boring ride to school. I have to concentrate so I don’t miss a stitch ,and the time flies. Another great thing about knitting is “tinking”. that is knitting backwards – you can always go back and “unknit” any mistakes.
Bekki: My granny used to knit. Who knits in your family? Is it only the grannies and aunties?
Raffi: Only me — I saw my teacher knitting during recess and she showed me. My parents were really surprised when I asked them if I could get some needles and yarn.
Bekki: Where did you get those lovely drawings of yourself and the wool?
Raffi: My friend Margaret Chamberlain is a famous illustrator and she made them. Don’t you think it’s funny to see a drawing of yourself? Who made your drawings? How did they get you to sit still? Did you fly all over the room?
Bekki: My mum was at all my photo shoots and she helps me be good. What is your favourite type of sheep?
Raffi: I like the cute black faced ones. I like all kinds of animals, especially dogs. My dog’s name is Scamp. Do you have a pet?
Bekki: Yes, I sometimes do spells on my cat and cat to make their lives fun. Do some sheep have better wool for knitting? Do you use real wool?
Raffi: I do use real wool. I like merino wool because it is really soft, but it is harder to work with because it is so fragile. Sometimes I use acrylic yarn — it comes in the most awesome colors!
Bekki: What knitting project are you doing now?
Raffi: I like to make presents for people. My mother’s birthday is coming up so I thought I would make her some gloves with each finger a different color. My first knitting project was a scarf for my dad. I just started knitting and finally when I stopped i didn’t realise the scarf was soooooo long. It ran the length of the school bus.
Bekki: I am from London but I am a mixture. My family come from Ghana, Nigeria, Brazil, Portugal and Scotland. Where are you from and are you a mixture?
Raffi: That is a mixture! I live in New York but was born in Russia, does that make me a mixture?
Bekki: Of course it does! Congrats! My books are in English and Irish. What languages is your book in and how did you pick them?
Raffi: My book is in eight languages (11 countries) with more coming: Italian, English, Danish, Dutch, Korean, Norweigian, Chinese and Taiwanese. I didn’t pick them, I think they picked me because they liked my story. Isn’t it cool that all over the world people like the same thing? I enjoy looking at the different kinds of writing, but my picture looks the same in every language – haha!
Bekki: I won the three legged race in my School Sports Day. Have you won any prizes?
Raffi: Wow – a three legged race sounds fun. Congratulations! I haven’t won any prizes, but I am not so good at sports. At school I am the person everyone comes to when they want clothing or costumes or any homemade craft things. I once made a pair of shoes!
Bekki: I think you are being modest. i hear you are a Little Rebel. What’s that all about?
Raffi: I was nominated for The Little Rebel’s Children’s Book Awards. They nominate kids like me who stand up for themselves and fight for social justice and equality and even change stereotypes. they narrowed it down to three really cool kids out of hundreds!
Bekki: Ooooh! Props to you! Who wrote a book about you and why?
Raffi: My Uncle Craig. He isn’t really my uncle, he’s my mom’s best friend. He wrote it because some kids at school teased me for being a boy who likes to knit, but I showed them knitting is cool! I think he hoped the story might help some other boys who like to sew and knit or even any kid who feels out of place. Are you surrounded by other fairies? Do you think you would feel out of place?
Bekki: Out of place, me? Never. i am extraordinary and special! Will you be starring in any more books?
Raffi: Gee, do you think I am a star? LOL. My uncle is working on a book about how I like to bake. I might share some of my recipes and show kids how much fun it is to be in the kitchen. I make white chocolate macadamia cookies! and who doesn’t like cookies!!!
Bekki: Yes, you are a sparkly star cos you didn’t let the teasing put you off doing what you love.
Bekki: It has been entertaining talking to you. If you like I can do a magic spell and turn you into anything you like for a few minutes.
Raffi: You are great to talk to, Bekki. You’re the first fairy i have ever met! i think you are great and I hope we can be long time friends. Thank you for the magic spell! I’d love to be a bird for a bit and see as much of the world as possible from the sky, as long as it isn’t raining.
Bekki hopes you liked her first ever interview. Now she wants be be a helpful fairy and tell you where you can find out more about Raffi and his uncle.
Here’s is the website for Raffi’s uncle. He is actually a singer too and his name is Craig Pomranz.
Remember we said there might be music? Well, have a listen to Uncle Craig singing about everyone being Different.
And if you want the book you can find it on Amazon.
And for Ireland and UK here is a link you can click on