Olivia: Hello Imani. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Imani: I am a nine-year-old girl who loves to dance, sing, do art, play the violin, and play with my friends. I also love fairy tales, myths, and animation. So far, I love to write! I also love my new book!
Olivia: What inspired you to write a book?
Imani: My baby brother inspired me to begin to write and still does! One day, I was sitting on my porch and I saw my brother watching a show about planets. And that is who inspires me and why.
Olivia: How did you come up with the title?
Imani: At the moment, I was thinking of something fun. Like a party. That's how I came up with "Disco balls of the Universe".
Olivia: What inspired you to write this book?
Imani: My teacher, my brother, and my mother. When I was in third grade, I had an assignment where I had to write a poem for each season. Then, one summer day, I was sitting on my porch and my mom told me to write a poem for her. Then, when I was thinking about what to write, I saw my brother watching a show about planets. That's when it all started.
Olivia: Are any of your characters based on real people?
Imani: The main character is me!
And Venus was based on Venus, the tennis player. It was just funny that the planet named Venus and the actual tennis player Venus had similar speed lol!
Olivia: Where do you write?
Imani: In the summer, I love to sit outside and write, read, or play with my brother. When it's cold, I like to sit in the family room because that is where everyone gets together. I like to sit outside because I get a good view.
Olivia: What is your favorite book?
Imani: Well, I don't have 1 specific favorite book, but I do love mysteries, science, and funny books.
Olivia: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself, your book, or your family?
Imani: I love my family a lot. I also love my book and so does my brother. I am also the owner of Magitots and I am currently learning how to run it. Magitots is an online store that features children's fashion and educational toys and books such as Disco balls of the Universe.
Olivia: Will you have a party to celebrate?
Imani: Yes, Saturday March 3rd 2-4pm at The Harvesters located at 54 Granby St. Bloomfield, CT 06002. Here is the event link.
Olivia: I am so proud of you, Imani. You are going to be a very successful author. You can be anything you want to be. Just keep working hard at school and building your career as an author and entrepreneur. Thanks for accepting this interview. Lauren Simone Pubs wishes you the best of luck!
Imani: Thanks Olivia.
Title: When I grow up, I want to be myself
Author: A. Cole
Publisher: Self-published, 2016
Pages: 24 pages
Genre: Children’s picture book
Author A. Cole urges children to be themselves! When I first opened the book, I immediately loved it looking at the beautiful illustrations of a happy, little, African-American, confident, girly girl. I loved what I saw. But as I read, I wondered, would this be another self-esteem, love your hair, Black books? Not that it isnt an important message, but don’t we have enough of those?
But I was pleasantly surprised. As I read I really enjoy the story and I think children too (girls, especially) will enjoy the story because of the way it is written. It flows and shows a character with lots of personality. Children can relate to her pondering and self-reflection. I think what I like most about this book, is the author's ability to accomplish so much in so few pages. First, it covers the topic of IDENTITY. She lets children know that they should find out who they are and what they like. They should be proud of who they are and own their choices.
Second, it covers the topic of occupations. It teaches that there are lots of different jobs and no matter what you look like, you can be whatever you want to be. Don’t allow gender, race, ability or socioeconomic status to deter you from your dream. You have as many options as you believe are open to you.
Third, it covers the topic of the SUCCESS. Very early society tells children to pursue jobs that offer stability, status, and wealth. Success is often considered to be something external such as material gain, rather than an internal sense of satisfaction.
However, the author challenges the third notion with three main principles:
The last principle really stuck with me. We are so busy offering our children every opportunity to be successful such as a good education, a safe home, a million extracurricular activities, and teaching them about financial literacy. In an age of rampant bullying, harassment, and professional misconduct, it is very important that we as parents and educators try to foster and raise decent human beings for generations to come.
How often do modern day parents take the time to teach the children the importance of being kind, giving, respectful, dressing with pride, and listening to your heart above the noise of the world with its naysayers and comparison makers?
The author concludes “Think about what type of person you want to be when you grow up” instead of what you will do to earn a living. “Being the best you” would really ease some of the anxiety and depression that I see amongst the college population that I teach. Thank you so much A. Cole for sharing your wonderful words of wisdom and encouragement with our young people. They really need to hear it. We really need to hear it. I also loved the diversity of the classroom scene. I give this book 5 stars.
Title: My little ol grassy waters
Author: Rickeria Lendale
Publisher: Smashwords, 2017
Pages: 14 pages
Genre: Children’s picture book
Have you ever been to the South? More specifically, have you experienced grassy waters? Perhaps you have taken a swamp tour or swam in a lake? What images come to mind?
My little ol grassy waters is a children’s book where the main character reflects on life living near grassy waters. She recalls sugar cane, rabbits, alligators, dogs, children playing, and Southern charm. It is a sweet memoir of “home sweet home” and I love the melanin richness of the many characters in the story. If you are looking for books with African American characters, this one has plenty!
Although the author never states where this grassy water was located, it took me back to New Orleans. The language as seen in “little ol grass waters,” “my mind going back” and “Yes ma’am” reminds me of southern dialect. The main character yearns to be home. If you watch and enjoy Queen Sugar, I think you would enjoy reading this book to your children. It is short and to the point. She misses her grassy waters.
As a teacher I would have liked to see a lesson at the end of the book. Maybe the author could have describe locations where grassy waters are found. Or have a discussion about types of habitats with one being the wetlands. Or maybe a lesson on Southern charm. The story and the illustrations were beautiful but something felt missing. I give this book 4 stars.
Lauren Simone Publishing House has had a very exciting first year. They announced on their instagram page, @laurensimonepubs, with a display of photos highlighting their achievements that they had garnered:
1 Spanish translator, Tanesha Bramwell-McKen
2 interviews by @kaesani and @fashionista_milan of @kiddustry
3 published book series called He and She, More2Learn, and Olivia Lauren
4 kids authors: Brazil Dowe, Princeton Dowe, Alyssa Simone, and Olivia Lauren
5 youth illustrators: Niquey, Leo, Simonne-Anais, Zachary-Michael, and Simona
6 published books: Days of the week, Siblings fight, Occupations A to Z, Guide to becoming an actor, Olivia travels, and their latest, Olivia Connects (described below)
7 book events (Book readings, story time, and book signings in NY, NJ, and CT)
Over a dozen book reviews on Amazon
Published essays and art in The Evolution Project
Online presence on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and Createspace
Found in local book stores in Florida and Connecticut
Over 200 website visitors
Over 500 social media followers
The past year has been hard work, dedication, and determination. They anticipate increase in the coming year.
On the anniversary of its inception, they proudly release Olivia Lauren book series' fourth volume entitled “Olivia Connects”. Written by Olivia Lauren’s older sister, Alyssa Simone and mother, Dr. John, the book is about modes of communication. In a fun and engaging way using bright colors, interesting locations, and diverse characters, children learn about different communication styles and devices used for communication. The characters also explore communication devices used before the age of technology and those used by those with physical challenges (blind or nonverbal). They had a great time collaborating with youth author, Lionel Emabat, who they will continue to work with in the future.
This book is recommended for children aged 6 to 9. Available in print and kindle online at Amazon.com, bn.com, and Createspace. Enjoy! Share pictures with @laurensimonepubs on Instagram and please write a review.
The book can be purchased immediately at https://www.createspace.com/7376669
Get the insider scoop and see sneak peek photos in the gallery.