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.
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.
I will be explaining how I am customizing Barbie dolls to make them into my book characters, Bekki the Fairy and Geeky Mikita. I will be using Chelsea and Skipper to make my characters. I want STEM companies to see the importance of diversity – all my girls are science superstars as well as baby-sitters. STEM does not have to be dull and Bekki have a laugh mixxing science and magic.
It is important for children to see themselves in books, toys, TV shows and popular culture. I love what Barbie does to represent as many girls as she can in this multicultural world. Barbie also does her bit to show girls doing science and STEM jobs. My book A Fairy in the Family Again – the School Science Competition is about babysitters doing STEM. Girls of African descent star in the book.
I have got some Stacie and Skipper dolls and I will be customizing them to make them look like my STEM Lovin’ baby-sitters book characters. I am especially happy with a Stacie doll who is dressed for science. i got her on ebay and she is in Compton now! She left Redondo Beach a few days ago, so the tracking info tells me. She will arrive in ireland to do her bit to represent black girls in STEM.
Diverse books are needed as much as ever. Dolls and books have a very important role in REPRESENTATION. Imagine reading a book like “The Sugar Plum Ballerinas ” and then having a ballet doll to act out the scenes! Heaven!! Imaginative play, books and dolls all work together.
I am going to kick off with a post about Farming and Urban Gardening to tie in with the new Sweet Orchard Farm Barbie dolls. I have a FABULOUS global list of Multi-Cultural Farming books that I am linking to. The list is from America so there’s a rich mix of cultures and plants. Barbie dolls are multi-cultural and affordable.
I used to live in London so I want to share the idea of gardening in small spaces and urban settings.
Here come the dolls.
I am showcasing the Sweet Orchard Farm series of dolls, animal and play items. I live in a rural Irish village so I love that Barbie has a tractor as well as a truck.
To pair with Lola Plants a Garden and Green Green I think Chelsea is perfect. Chelsea in Barbie’s little baby sister and she comes with a little yellow chick.
Barbie gets the best accessories but her pals and siblings have some sweet outfits, animals and props too. The brown skinned dolls, apart from Chelsea are adult sized, with one male and two female dolls in jolly coloured wellies. I have linked to US Amazon where possible.
International Book Giving Day is on Valentine’s day – here is a guide to donating multi-cultural books. Everyone named is on Instagram.
Many children do not see people who look like them in books and this creates problems. My own book A Fairy in the Family was created to represent black kids in London but one book can only do so much.
With International Book Donation Day coming up I wanted to list some of the people who are doing their bit for diversity in books by accepting donations and then finding an audience for the books.
There are quite a few options when it come to donating books with children of colour. One woman referred to herself as a “Book Fairy” so I will borrow that term for my list.
Book Fairy One – Marley Dias(@iammarleydias)
Marley Dias is the schoolgirl who was encouraged by her mother to DO SOMETHING when she complained about the shortage of books featuring black girls on the cover.
Marley Dias started her #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign in 2015 and has collected well over 1,000 books. She shares the books with children in Jamaica and has created her GrassROOTS resource that lists her donated books here.
Book Fairy Two – Olivia (@blackgirlbooksmatter)
Olivia is a little girl who does lively book reviews under the handle @blackgirlbooksmatter Her feed is full of books and other artworks showing black girls.
Book Fairies Three and Four– Madison and Barrington (@50tates50books)
With help from mum, this sister and brother team has the goal of donating boxes full of 50 books to each of the 50 US states.
Book Fairies Five and Six – Jeannie and Bianca (@ColorfulPagesProject)
With the Colorful Pages Project educators Jeannie and Bianca are getting picture books into schools in their area of North Carolina. They look for books “featuring characters of color”.
Book Fairy Seven – Devon (@isemeinc)
Devon Frazier wants to dismantle the ‘school to prison pipeline’ by addressing problems with literacy in vulnerable children.
Book Fairy Eight – Trinity (@theyouthwillbeallwrite)
Even after kids have wound up in detention centres 16 year old Trinity has not given up on them and she donates staple-free composition journals to kids so that they might have a place to write.
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.
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.
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.
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 bea 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!
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.
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.
I have been watching this one on instagram for a while as the author jilleybeanbooksshowed 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 havingdrawings 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 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.
Girls will get to colour in pages with science, geckos, hairstyles, braids, unicorns, natural hair and even an African Princess Fancy Dress Party.
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.