Posts in #diversebooks4diversekids
Podcast: Justice Makes A Difference
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Thank you so much for tuning into our brand new podcast for #diversebooks4diversekids.

This week we have a special podcast for our Instagram Giveaway winner, Dr. Artika Tyner. Her incredible book, Justice Makes A Difference, is about a brave little girl named Justice who is inspired to change her community by advocating for equality. Justice was inspired by inspiring leaders she read about in books given to her by her grandmother. Justice feels the pressure of bearing a name that has such an important meaning and seeking ways to find how she can make a difference as a little girl. She bravely chooses to become her own superhero in a fight for justice so she can uplift her community through social change.

Follow children's book author Dr. Artika Tyner on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

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Bravery

It takes a lot of courage to be a voice for your community. You can do your part by volunteering to help those less fortunate than you!

Black History Month Podcast: The Biracial Butterfly
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Happy black history month to you all!

Welcome back to #diversebooks4diverse kids which are podcasts dedicated to sharing stories about diversity from independent authors from around the globe.

Today, I’d like to share with you a special podcast for a book called The Biracial Butterfly by Lennox Benson. The Biracial Butterfly is about a mixed-race boy who was born to two loving parents, an African mother from Kenya and an Caucasian father from England. This story is told from the perspective of a boy who was able to appreciate and find value in both cultures that are unique to who he is.

This book is wildly important, like a lot of the books shared on diversebooks4diversekids podcasts, because many biracial children and adults feel marginalized like they have to choose a race to “fit in” to society. What many people forget, is that race was an idea that was socially constructed to make people feel different or superior to one another. This book is a fantastic reminder that each of us is different and born with unique genetic makeup, but that is what makes all of us so beautiful, like little butterflies!

Listen to the audiobook of The Biracial Butterfly.

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What I’ve learned…

Reviews can make or break a new author, especially on huge platforms like Amazon. Take a minute and share kind feedback about the story you heard today.

Why I Care About Diverse Books, and You Should Too!
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Diversity in books. I talk about it all the time, but why

Well, it's about inclusion. What does it mean to be included? Doesn't it give you a sense of fulfillment and confidence in yourself if someone invites you to participate with them? Have you ever been that kid- the one who didn't receive an invitation to a classmate's party? How would that make you feel to be left out?

That's precisely the feeling that people of color have had with books, especially with children's books. It wasn't until recently that there was a major push to create and distribute books that represented cultures from around the world. Now, it's becoming a fad to add characters of color because many authors are seeing the need when it's always been apparent for people of color. 

I'm African-American and our culture overall has often been limited to family scrapbooking and a love of soul food. Our culture has been lost with name changes, poor record keeping, and familial displacement from slavery. The only books with a black girl on the cover I can remember from my childhood was the "Addy Series" from the American Girl company.

Addy was a character raised during the Civil War period. Books about African-Americans have historically been based on slave narratives and escaping hardships. They were sad, often limited in pictures and filled with somber tales. Our kids are fortunate because they are growing up in a time when kid literature is changing and becoming more inclusive. Also, they are not only "African-American", they are African from their paternal side. Their paternal ancestry is Ethiopian and Ethiopia is a country rich in culture, language, and amazing tradition. 

For me, creating diverse books is about creating characters that represent my kids. I want them to look at the books they read and see dark skin, natural hair that's worn in afros and braids, and the kids have smiles on their faces. I want them to see books and think, "Wow! She looks just like me!" I want them to see happy, beautiful children who teach them to be kind and encouraging people in an often discouraging world.

Why should you care about diverse books? It's simple. Our country is a diverse place, our WORLD is a diverse place. The books that our kids read influence them just as much as the shows they watch, the media that's in their faces, and their kids they spend their time around. Kids books give children a visual of what the world around them looks like around them.

When they go to school they are surrounded by children from ethnic backgrounds who speak different languages and are immersed in widely different cultures at home. Exposing your kids to these backgrounds early empowers them with knowledge of the world. It helps them understand the culture unique to their peers who speak a variety of languages and celebrate holidays that reflect the religions they practice at home. Reading diverse books can teach kids the about geography and regions of the world they've never explored. Heck, reading about the world can even encourage your child to be world travelers and see the all the places they've learned about one day.

Books are just tools parents can use to educate their kids in an engaging way. I found that reading books with positive messages can open up dialogues between parents and children that is different from lecturing to them or instructing them. The reason why I encourage reading diverse books is for everyone-including parents-to have a greater understanding of the colorful world we live in.

I'm sure we all can agree that this world can use a lot more love and understanding. That's why I've started the initiative to share 1000 days of diverse books. 1000 days of diverse books will give families amazing book ideas to order for their homes or check out from the library. Each book will have characters that depict uniqueness or promote cultural understanding of different ethnicities.

If we can learn about each other, we can learn to love each other. 

Do you read diverse books to your kids at home? What are some of your favorites? Share with me below!

Help us encourage this movement by using the hashtag #1000daysofiversebooks and follow @acolebooks to see these awesome titles everyday for the next 994 days!

Say 'Ahoy' to William Hoy!
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William never got much taller than five-foot-five. He couldn’t do anything about that. But maybe they’d give him another chance if he aimed better and ran faster.”
— The William Hoy Story, Nancy Churnin

As most of you know, one of my favorite fellow children's book authors is Nancy Churnin. She tells the tales of magnificent, gifted heroes whose names have been forgotten over time. One of her most notable books is The William Hoy Story which is a book about perseverance and courage.

Her books almost portray historical stories that is beautifully executed so children ages 3-9 can understand and enjoy. Nancy's books focus heavily on diversity and giving characters with marginalized backgrounds a place to shine. This book The William Hoy Story was illustrated by Jez Tuya who transported me back to the 1880's when William Hoy was becoming a Major League Star. The illustrations are a wonderful combination of hand drawn illustration and digital imagery. 

You can get your own copy of The William Hoy Story on Amazon and from the Albert Whitman & Company.

Book Summary

Hoy, was a deaf baseball player who aspired to play in the majors. He practiced his aim on his farm by making targets for himself and using rubber balls to hit them. His parents communicated to him with American Sign Language. His loving mother supported his aspirations while his father scolded him for being unrealistic. He had to practice hard because he was extremely short for a ball player. His skills caught the attention of people in the neighborhood who were not able to communicate with him because of his inability to speak.

When he was finally able to play, he proved he could not only throw well, he could hit well too! He finally earned an opportunity to play for a team and his lack of speech limited him from getting paid equal to what the other players made which did not sit well with him. On other teams, his teammates would gossip and speak badly about him. Pitchers would even play pranks on him in front of the audience. 

He had a brilliant idea to teach the umpire signs for commonly used baseball terms like 'strike' and 'out'. Soon, players used signs often to signal phrases discretely on the field. The happiest day of his life was the day the crowd signed a silent applause to him. It showed William that he had changed the game of baseball forever!

Follow children's book author Nancy Churnin on Facebook and Twitter

Charlie Takes His Shot is a HIT!
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Within a year, Jackie’s teammates and fans of every race cheered for him. Could Charlie do the same for golf?
— Nancy Churnin, Charlie Takes His Shot

Nancy Churnin is a fabulous children's book author who has taken the world of literary non-fiction by storm! Her dynamic children's books are filled with the greatest historical figures that have been lost in American history. These were not the heroes that wore capes, but the ones that broke down cultural and barriers for people of color and those who were considered different.

Nancy knew she had a HIT when she wrote Charlie Takes His Shot. Her historical research into the life of this character showed, and allowed this story to feel authentic and true. The text was perfectly arranged so that the font and the story was together on one page without clashing with one another. The storyline was well-paced so it was exciting, but read it fluidly, which is very important to keep the attention of new readers and young listeners. I would highly recommend this book to parents and educators who are looking for dynamic and diverse books. It is perfectly suited for ages 3-9 years old.

Charlie Takes His Shot absolutely blew me away! The illustrations by John Joven are wonderful, picturesque, and packed with deep color values. John Joven's strong depiction of the scenery highlighted the atmosphere that the character would have been surrounded by.

You can get your own copy of Charlie Takes His Shot on Amazon and from the Albert Whitman & Company.

Book Summary

Charlie Sifford was a young man with humungous dreams who grew up in a time and place where only whites were allowed to golf, much less be a part of a professional golf associations! Charlie learned from the sidelines by being a caddie for the golfers while he patiently waited for his turn to play. He dominated tournaments between other black players, but he still eagerly wanted to play professionally.

When Jackie Robinson became the first black player in the Major League of Baseball to become a star, he inspired all black athletes of that era. If Jackie could succeed and win support in his sport, why couldn't he? Charlie seized an opportunity to talk to his idol, Jackie Robinson in 1948. Jackie warned him about the trouble he would face, but Charlie didn't back down from the challenge. 

Charlie traveled the world as a professional golfer and was eventually compensated for his efforts. In 1957, he won the The National Negro Open. Times were changing and other black athletes were pounding down the barrier that barred blacks from professional organizations like the MLB and NBA. Years later, Charlie Sifford earned his right to play in the PGA as the first black player ever admitted.

He dealt with fierce discrimination from hotels, players, and even tournament attendees. Eventually, he won the PGA tour in front of all the people who both supported and hated him. He thrusted open the door for all of the famous black golfers who were able to join the PGA after him like Calvin Peete, Harold Varner III, and of course, Tiger Woods.

Follow children's book author Nancy Churnin on Facebook and Twitter

How To Get Into Barnes & Noble Retailers

Being a new author isn't easy and getting into a retailer won't happen overnight. My juiciest piece of advice for anyone starting on their marketing journey is BE PERSISTENT. Nothing will happen for you without that consistent and often "badger-y" persistency that you need to move your own project forward. 

These are the best steps to take to get your self-published project into a major retailer like Barnes & Noble so you can hold your own author signing and have your books consigned so you can get paid for the copies you sell.

1. Make sure you have a well-edited project. If editing is not your forte, don't cut corners and rush to publish. Find a great editor (like myself) or someone with an English Literature background before you publish anything.

2. Do your homework. Make sure you have your book available on Amazon or another national distribution outlet who can distribute your book online. This just shows that your project is marketable and you can acquire as many peer reviews as possible that will be visible on that channel. Peer reviews are KEY.

3. Get your book reviewed by a professional company. There are tons of review companies, some of them you have to shell out a pretty penny like Kirkus Reviews but the accolades that you get with reviews of that magnitude will do your project wonders. Other review companies I would recommend are Reader's Favorite Book Reviews. You can get your book reviewed for free for a wait or you can pay $50 to expedite that process to a 2-week turn around.

4. Write a killer pitch. Once you're ready to reach out to a retailer like B & N, you need to have a perfectly written pitch that outlines who your publisher is, Your IBSN, genre, what your book is about, where you have had success marketing your project and how you plan to expand. This is a great place to highlight where you have fabulous reviews from, too!

5. Google your nearest Barnes & Noble location. Ask for the contact of their book buyer. Metropolitan areas typically have one large office that will schedule your appearance. First, they'll look at your pitch and then they will offer you a sales request form if they feel your project is marketable. From there, the book buyer will assess the demographics of your area and choose a B & N location that will give you the best platform to sell the most copies. 

Last but not least, be persistent. This process is a slow one and can take months. You'll get as much out of your project as you put into it so always put your best foot forward.

You can purchase "When I Grow Up, I Want To Be Myself" on Barnesandnoble.com, Amazon, Target.com, and my shop.