Bekki the Fairy – beautiful black fairy princess

A Fairy in the Family is my book about a black fairy princess who has somehow ended up, not in fairyland, but living with a total normal family. She is an urban fairy inspired by my neighbours in South London. I wanted to create a book with a black girl on the cover for girls to identify with.

a black fairy princess has done a magic spell on her cat
New updated cover shows Bekki and Fluffypuff

And my wish came true – The book has traveled the world and kids in London, ireland, America, Jamaica, South Africa, France. Grown ups call the book “a mirror”- girls says “she looks like me”

This is the new 2020 front cover of A Fairy in the Family – this book first came out in 2009 and the new cover shows Bekki looking the part of a black fairy princess.  

Fun and empowering colouring books with natural hair for black girls and boys

Fun and empowering colouring books with natural hair for black girls and boys

Here are a few of the colouring books  that I have come across recently that celebrate diversity and feature black characters.

Colouring books can be cheap and cheerful.  However if you want colouring pages with black kids or natural hair then you may have to pay a bit more.  The books I have chosen here are high quality products created by named authors and illustrators.  Some have special features like activity and journalling pages.   All are designed to be empowering.

Oh Boy! by Chiquanda Tilley

This 64 page book is full of boys getting into things like footballs, fireflies and fishing. Cute and cheerful drawings of little dudes will encourage small guys to get the crayons out.  Chiquanda also has a sweet book for girls.

The STEM Colouring and Activity Book by J.D. Wright

It was hard to pick a favourite from this author’s appealing selection of books but I went for the STEM book as it features a multicultural cast of cute girls who cry out to be coloured in.  There are also questions for the child to answer so a very endearing souvenir can be created.  JD Wright has free pages to download on her site showing black kids with cool hairstyles.

Dream Big!  More than a Princess Colouring book by Stephanie Tabashneck

My absolute favourite page in the set of images of girls with big dreams shows a woman strolling barefoot along a beach   She asserts that she wants to be  a mom and will foster, adopt or have her own kids. 

The drawings of multicultural young women doing valuable work   make this a fabulous career guidance book.  Is she can do it so can I!

Colour My Fro; A Natural Hair Coloring book for Big Hair Lovers of all Ages  by Crystal Swain Bates

I’ve blogged about this book before because I just love colouring it in.  Cheerful , gorgeous women with natural hair are shown in a range of activities.   The drawings by Janine Harrington are printed on one side of the paper only and cry out to be framed.  Crystal Swain Bates has many great books.

The Colorful Adventures of Cody & Jay: A Coloring and Activity Book by Crystal Swain Bates 

I was complaining about the shortage of books for boys and author Crystal Swain Bates drew my attention to this fun filled 40 pager.

Cody and Jay are two lads who  love to have fun.  The book has activity pages, drawings to complete and a positive celebratory attitude.  Spaceships and cars feature.

Swift Walker: World Geography Coloring Book: Coloring Books for Kids by Norma Andriani Eka Putri and Verlyn Tarlton

As I mentioned earlier I was complaining about books for boys in Instagram and Plum Street Press drew my attention to Swift Walker – a chirpy little characters who stars in many books for the 4-8 age group.  Swifts loves travel and adventure.  The drawings of Swift with his natural fro and just doing a little bit of work for representation.

 

Write On Girl : A Fun Guided journal for teen girls by Jillian D Bradfield

I have been watching this one on instagram for a while as the author jilleybeanbooks showed off pages and details of the project.   I don’t have a copy yet but I can see from the reviews that as well as having  drawings that girls will adore, the book deals with all the topics facing girls. 

What really caught my eye was the pretty pre-teen saying a prayer and having a chat with God.  I was impressed as a lot of books talk about empowerment without acknowledging spirituality.

The STEM Lovin Baby-Sitters by Avril O’Reilly

The characters from my book A Fairy in the Family Again have their own colouring book.  The book was developed in London.  It shows Jada-Kai, Keysha and Ruby as totally cool baby-sitters.  The idea is that the child colouring the book is learning from these kind-hearted big girls about what big kids love to do. Those things include science, baby-sitting and black hair.

African wax print pattern with cartoon of three schoolgirls
Get your crayons out

Girls will get to colour in pages with science, geckos, hairstyles, braids, unicorns, natural hair and even an African Princess Fancy Dress Party.

Little People BIG Dreams Colouring Book

15 Big Dreamers from a wonderful Multi-cultural series by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara – Vegara has turned her book production into an efficient factory of inspirational stories and loveable art. On ya go, Maria. You can ask a kid to imagine/draw themselves in this style- and ask them about their BIG dreams.

Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara has a coloring book!

Back Homehttp://www.avriloreilly.com/

Bekki the Fairy meets Zolie Zi

A photo of Bekki the Fairy and a drawing of Zolie Zi are accompanied by the words Bekki the Fairy talks to Zolie Zi. A butterfly decorates the page.
Will Bekki and Zolie have anything to talk about?

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: It is good to meet you. My name is Bekki the Fairy and I can do magic. Tell me, what is special about you?
 
Zolie: Hi Bekki! Nice to meet you! Wow, you do magic, that sounds cool!! You will have to show me some of your magic one day! Well, what makes me special is my love of Science. My teacher says that the science that I like is called, Metaphysics and Astrophysics. I would like to build my own space ship one day so that I can travel beyond the light barrier. I am fascinated with space and I want to travel to different planets to see how other kids live.
 
Bekki: If someone tries to bully me or my friends I do a spell to turn them into a slug or frog for few minutes, how do you deal with bullies?
 
Zolie: I usually tell my mom, a teacher and I confront the bully. It is isn’t always an easy thing to do, but somebody has to do it. My mom said that my voice has POWER.
 
Bekki: Who do you think smells nicer, you or your brother?
 
Zolie: Definitely me!!!

A smiling little boy in a tshirt with arms folded
Zylee smells fine from here

 Bekki: I come from London but I am a mixture of Nigeria, Ghana, Brazil, Portugal and Scotland.  Are you a mixture?
 
Zolie: Yes, I am a mixture of two tribes from Africa, the Bushmen and Zulu and I am also African American.
 
Bekki: Wow! No wonder you can take on the bullies! Tell me about your doll mommies. Do you have many of them?
 
Zolie: Yes, I have so many doll mommies. I think about 500 or more by now.
 

 

Two pictures, one shows a Zolie Zi plush doll. The other shows a cute little girl holding her doll tightly.
The doll mommies enjoy cuddling Zolie

 
Bekki: How do school-kids in America react when they meet you?  Who was the best person you met?
 
Zolie: Kids get really excited when they see me. It always amazes me to see boys who are really happy to see me, sometimes they even try to cut the line in front of the girls to get to me. The best person that I met was a little girl named Yakini. Yakini was so shy to meet me, but she was my biggest fan, she has everything Zolie Zi.
 
Bekki: What about boys? Do you like boys? And do they like you?
 
Zolie: My mom doesn’t allow me to even think about boys. She says that I will have plenty of time for boys and that I have to focus on my books. No, I don’t like boys right now, I think they have the coodies!! Yes, boys like me all the time. Ewwwww…
 
Bekki: Is it true you have been to the Bahamas? What other cool places have you told your stories?
 
Zolie: Yes, I have been to the Bahamas two times and I am going back again this year. I have told my story in the Netherlands and Canada.
 

Beach scene in the Bahamas
Zolie has been to the Bahamas….jammy!

 
Bekki: My baby-sitter Rose watches Dallas on the TV. Is your life like that? Do you ever wear a cowboy hat?
 
Zolie: No, Dallas has changed a lot. They are building a lot of houses and apartments in the country where I live. Oh yes, I am a true cow girl and I have worn a hat before. I love wearing hats, they are pretty cool!!  
 

Bekki: Is it true your story was on the radio read out by a very special presenter. Tell me about that, please.

Zolie: Yes, my story has been on the radio several times, but one little girl named Wynter Avery reads my story every Saturday. She read my first book on air and now she is on my second book.
 

A little girl DJ sits next to her Zolie Zoi doll while preparing to read a story on air.
Look who is in the studio with Wynter Avery

 
  
Bekki: I live in London and I’d like to be a doll mommy. Where can I get Zolie doll?
 
Zolie: You can order a Zolie doll on Amazon.com or on my website zoliezi.com

 

Bekki: My mum gets the fabric for her dresses in the Netherlands. I hear there is a shop called Coloured Goodies  where people can buy your things. What can they buy?
 
Zolie: Yes, you can buy my things at Coloured Goodies. They carry my book in Dutch, my new drawstring bag and my doll.
 

A backpack decorated with Zolie Zi's face and name
Don’t leave bananas at the bottom.

Bekki: What do kids in the Netherlands think of you?
 
Zolie: The kids absolutely love me. I can’t wait until they read my book.
 
Bekki: Who wrote a book about you and why?
 
Zolie: My Author Sonya J. Bowser wrote a book about me after being bullied on the job which resulted in her being fired. After being fired, she felt powerless and discouraged. It was the first time that she felt like her voice had no power and was silenced.
 
She decided to use her niece Sariah Martin as my face and Sariah also inspired my lisp because she also has a lisp. When she wrote the story she had Sariah in mind because she noticed that Sariah would be a target for bullying because of her lisp so wanted to use my story to encourage her and other girls/boys to love themselves for who they are.  You must never let anyone bully you to make you feel powerless.

A flyer for Zolie Zi's book.
Here’s how Zolie looks in her book.

Bekki: Would you like to come and hang out with me in London? Kids over here would love to meet you. We can go to the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton together and visit the library next door.
 
Zolie: I would love to come. Just let me know and I am there!!!!!
 
Bekki: Thanks for chatting Zolie.
 
Zolie: Thanks for having me Bekki!!
 

 

A video showing drawings of the book character Zolie Zi
Zolie Zi is always up to something

 
Bekki hopes you liked her second ever interview.  Now she wants be be a helpful fairy and tell you where you can find out more about Zolie Zi.
 
The Zolie Zi website with games and things to buy is here.
 
There are pictures of Zolie and her author and her doll mommies  on Instagram.
 
People in the USA can go to Amazon to get the books 
and and a dolly
 
Here is where UK and Ireland readers can get the latest book –

Bekki the Fairy meets Raffi from “Made by Raffi”

The words Bekki the Fairy talks to Raffi accompanied by images of Bekki and Raffi

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.

A scene on a school bus. A little boy is knitting a long scarf while behind him his classmates are playing with the long colourful garment.
Raffi is concentrating hard

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!

Drawing of little boy in a yarn shop holding balls of wool.
Balls of yarn are just so cuddly!

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!  

 

A book cover in Taiwanese with a drawing of Raffi knitting on the front.
Raffi looks the same in Taiwanese but check out those letters1

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.  

A stack of copies of the book "Made by Raffi" in different languages
See all the different ways of saying “Made by”

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