April is School Library Month and we have some new brands that are changing the literacy game. Representation truly matters and it’s even more vital in the literary world. As we celebrate School Library Month, let’s shift our attention to some amazing literary brands that honor diversity. It’s important for children to see portrayals of themselves in what they read. To further diversity narratives it’s important to have more visible literature that offers diverse characters, authors and illustrators.
The following brands are committed to offering diverse literary works for children of color everywhere:
My Well Read Child Book Fair: Founded by children’s author, Toni Settles, this unique book fair brings diversity to a school near you. Their specialized book offerings are available to showcase minority authors, characters and illustrators that represent their target audience. The Well Read Child Book Fair can be offered at a local school or through their online bookstore. Subscription boxes are also available for purchase. Follow their efforts online here.
My New Book, Inc.: My New Book, Inc is a Baltimore non-profit organization that is striving to provide children with new books while inspiring them to read. They specialize in offering diverse titles that mirror the youth and families that they serve. Support their online efforts here.
The Literacy Shop: This mega brand is offering diverse children’s literature through their online bookstore, virtual youth events and more. This unique brand also offers a writing program for youth. Connect with their brand online here.
I’m Book’d Box: This infamous brand offers diverse literature to both youth and adults. Literature is available through their subscription box service, book club and mobile book boutique. Follow them online here.
There are various ways in which you can also support diverse literature. You can support these literary brands by doing the following:
Make a Purchase
Share the Opportunity with an Author or Illustrator of Color to Join
Donate to the Literary Brands to Support their Efforts
Share these Literary Brands with your Networks on Social Media
So with each given day, literature makes the world go around. Literature fuels imagination, creativity and diversity beyond our frames of thinking. Support these brands who have made a commitment to furthering minority literary efforts.
(Courtesy of @alyssasieb of Nappy Co)
Writer, C. Scott, is a mother of one; author, social worker, early learning advocate and entrepreneur. Follow her on Instagram as @curls_coils, @beautifulshadeslc and @mysweettealife.
Emilie: Emilie Rawlings is a natural Idealist where she suffered from anxiety most of her life. During the breakdown, Emilie realized she didn’t know how to listen to herself to determine what she needed. This empowered her to determine what the real issue was and address it once and for all, never to return to this place in her life. Now, Emilie has devoted her time and energy to helping others who have suffered similar instances in their lives with her self-care strategy program. Emilie is determined to spread self-love and care through her books and courses that have changed many lives.
Patrice: What makes you a pretty woman that hustles?
Emilie: I have been at my lowest and still didn’t give up. Your strongest enemy is yourself, and I went 12 rounds and won. Now I am reaching back and helping female entrepreneurs with self-care tips and strategies to successfully combat anxiety, imposter syndrome, and depression.
Patrice: What is the name of your business, and what does it intel?
Emilie: My book is called “Foundation book,” a book of hope and a book of new beginnings. Are you ready for this to be your year? The year you go from wanting, wishing, and hoping to be, doing, and having. In this book, I speak on my experiences and my 8-point strategy for self-care and self-love as you are pursuing your goals and dreams.
Patrice: Have you faced any challenges in your business?
Emilie: Of course. The Mental battle, self-worth, self-love, organization, and being in tune with my intuition and determining what I wanted in my business and life. It’s a daily battle and something female entrepreneurs juggle in their everyday life.
Patrice: Are you currently working on any current projects right now?
Emilie: I am currently working on my next book and courses to provide more help and understanding for women entrepreneurs and their success.
Patrice: How do you face diversity as an author?
Emilie: I am a huge advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community. I am a firm believer in acceptance and understanding. We are all humans and should be seen as equals without prejudice, bias, or stereotype.
Patrice: Is balancing your personal life, work-life, and business life challenging for you at times?
Emilie: It gets complicated at times, as I am sure any full-time wife, mother, father, and entrepreneur goes through. But honestly, it’s about listening to what your body and spirit need and keeping those needs fulfilled. You can’t pour into anyone if your cup is empty.
Patrice: What does being an entrepreneur or business owner mean to you?
Emilie: It means impact. I am a natural enthusiast and believer in helping others actually ends up helping yourself in the long run. Running a business at the most primal level essentially means you are solving a problem or providing a solution to an issue. If that isn’t making an impact and the world a better place, I am not sure what else is.
Mark A. Edwards began his journey as a writer 5 years ago and has self published 6 poetry books on Love, Romance and Sensuality. His first 2 books (“You,Me, and the Paper”, “Morning Coffee”) were strictly poetry that was written from him to the ladies in hope to reignite a woman’s inner fire so they would understand how a man should treat them and connect to them before the physical connections.
His 3rd book (“Afternoon Devotion-Two Hearts One Soul”) was his way to bring the fellas back into the fold, it is what he calls the ‘His and Her’ poetry. It was written so the man and woman could sit and read to one another, the perfect sensual literary enticement for couples. The 4th and 5th book (“Love & Trust- A Poetic Novel”, “Loves Retribution-A Poetic Novel”) is as the title states… his very first poetic novels, these two books are a series that is narrated by poetic stories that brings out of Love, Drama, Romance and Suspense, when trust between a man and a woman is no longer an option. Book 6 (“Mattress The Story Holder”) was Author Mark Edwards way to tell over 30 poetic stories that are all based around the mattress, whether your mattress is in an abandoned building, a cardboard box, or the the iron seats of the mass transit system, that place where you lay your head is your mattress, and the mattress has found a way to tell everyone’s secret.
Mark Edwards has brought the reader deep into his world to be one with his thoughts. We can only imagine what else he has in store as we patiently wait for more jaw dropping poetry and or poetic novels.
What inspired your passion for writing?
Truth be told, I wrote my first poem about about 7 years ago. It was a dare at work between a coworker and myself, the problem is the coworker never wrote her poem, so I showed up with a poem called the “the grass is greener”. I have to say it was badly written, it didn’t flow properly. I edited the poem several times until it rhymed and flowed with what I thought was perfection. Since that first poem, I would randomly write poems in my phone, and from time to time I would read them at work during lunch time to my coworkers for fun. Before I knew it, I had well over 60 poems written (all sensual poems on love and romance). The overwhelming sentiment was that I should put my poems into a book. You are a poet, which of your six books resonate with your soul the most?
Though a writer’s first book would always be his or her favorite book because it is the book that officially made them an author, in my case the book “You, Me and the Paper”. This book was my way to bring back ‘Black Love’ mentally without the physical connection. But, I have to say since that book I continued to write sensual poetry directly directly to the ladies in my follow up book “Morning Coffee”. But, I felt I was leaving the fellas out of the mix so my third book was for the men and ladies called “Afternoon Devotion-Two Hearts one Soul”. This book was written with the intention that a couples could read to each other and strengthen their relation in what I call… poetical foreplay. Still with all that was written, I felt like I wasn’t able to truly give the readers what was the best of me. So, to answer your question, the book/s that resonates with my soul the most is…”Love & Trust-A Poetic Novel”, and “Loves Retribution-A Poetic Novel” (a two book series telling one story). These two books allowed me to write more than just sensual poems, I was able to combine my sensual poems with poems of the street, poems that was religious, poems that told a story of life entwined with a short novel.
How would you describe your writing style?
I would basically describe my style as narrative poetry. My poetic writings are told through a single narrator, so no matter how many characters may be in my story line, it is the narrator who speaks for all characters 4. What has self care looked like for your since the pandemic has started?Self care for me was mental strengthening, by focusing on my writing. Pre-pandemic I found myself getting tired of writing and I thought about giving it all up. But, the pandemic made me realize that so many people (including myself) have lost love ones and many didn’t know where their next meals would come from or if they would have a mattress to sleep on. This pandemic had hit so many of us in ways we could never have fathom. It was because of these pandemic issues I decided to write my six book “Mattress The Story Holder “. This book allowed me to tell poetic stories that affected each and everyone of us. Not knowing where we could lay our head at night for various reasons of hardships, the only one item in our life that knew our story would be the Mattress, even if the mattress was in an abandoned building, the seats of the mass transit system or the comfort of our own home, I knew this was a book that had to be written.
What message do you hope readers gain from your work?
The message that love isn’t only physical, but it must first be mental, and before it become mental, you must first love yourself and understand what you want from love and to not sell your self short. Never settled for lest than you deserve, while simultaneously allow yourself to be strong but not to strong that you push the right person away due to the mishaps of a previous poor relationship.
What is next for you as a writer?
After writing six books, (releasing one every year), I will definitely take a mental break and hopefully start another book within the next two years. I have an idea for my next book, but I do not want to rush it, so I plan to write towards it whenever the urge hits me or time allows.
\ How would you describe in your eyes A “Pretty Woman Who Hustle’s” ?
That is such a beautiful question. To me there’s nothing more sexy, and I do not say the word ‘sexy’ to demean a woman’s Hustle to a mere sexist terminology, but to say that a woman who Hustle’s is a keeper. She is the mortar that strengthens the foundation for herself, family, and friends. My definition of a woman that Hustle’s is not only a woman with a business mind and the tenacity to make it on her own in a world that tends to down play a woman’s huslte, but, also the woman that hustle’s for the family and receives no payment or accolade for all she endures through the hard times, for being able to put food on the table when there wasn’t a way, for being a nurse when she didn’t have the finance to take a family member to the doctor or hospital, for being strong when no one is there to help hold her up and encourage her to keep on, for being able to smile during times of sadness and hardship. These are the many ways I describe a “Pretty Woman Who Hustle’s”
Connect and support Mark’s work by visiting him online
For the Month of April we are sharing stories of hope and inspiration for National Month of Hope. Sometimes hope is the deciding factor on if we will continue our journey or stop in our tracks. As we share the stories of this amazing individual we hope that you are filled with hope and are inspired to keep on your path of greatness.
Creator and Founder Janyelle Milton shares with us her story.
Janyelle Milton is a Detroit native and founder of J Marie Premium Sneakers and Cashmere Feet. Two companies with emphasis on the feet one created out of poverty and the other created as a solution to a problem- both billion dollar industries. Janyelle Milton is an 80s baby and you can see the many things that influenced her and many others in the infamous era and the one that followed in her businesses. ” Every freaking night and every freaking day”, I remember a lot of the foundation for Cashmere Feet was created as I sat in the middle of my living room floor, no furniture just me , my phone and Jodeci- Janyelle Milton She always had a knack in business and entrepreneurship which is what drove her to get a degree in business and entrepreneurship. ” Growing up I always wanted to do something, create something ” Janyelle Milton. Janyelle Milton is the middle child of 7 children and grew up on the eastside of Detroit. Beauty and Fashion was important to me growing up. She attended Southeastern High School and worked hard to LATER be accepted in The University of Michigan. After College she started a career in customer service and insurance which lends to the impeccable service exuded in both of her businesses. J Marie Premium Sneakers is a Premium Sneaker Brand as an alternative for heels…its conceived in Detroit handcrafted in Italy. J Marie Premium Sneakers are Style| Quality| Comfort| Color. Growing up you couldn’t catch her dead in gym shoes but her health and a quest to be comfortable left her looking for a shoe that was everything a heel was- feminine, artistic…sexy minus the discomfort….she didn’t find anything so she created her own line- J Marie Premium Sneakers. Cashmere feet as mentioned was created in a time where she was in between jobs and needed an income and needed to cut back on what now would be a luxury vs a necessity- A pedicure. She created Cashmere Feet which is a company that boast to give you unbelievably soft feet from the comforts of your home. A company that offered customizable lotions,soaks and scrubs for at home luxury pedicures. Everything Janyelle Milton does is a testament to the core of her being a go getter and a resourceful problem solver. A recent diagnosis of multiple sclerosis has driven her to want to give more Glory to God.
“The whole time I was sick….but I never let it stop me, a lot of my biggest feats was taken or done in most cases after hospital stays, I just want little girls who grow up in places that I grew up in and been through the same things I been through to know- you can keep getting up, that makes you a winner and you can be fly while doing it and while serving God- and that isn’t always a perfect image” -Janyelle
Do you have a story of hope or inspiration? Please share with me.
Yes, I’m losing vision in my right eye, constantly in pain but I smile and God gives me strength that you wouldn’t even know unless I told you.
Her businesses are J Marie Premium Sneakers and Cashmere Feet a luxury pedicure company.
What does hope mean to you?
Proof of something better with no concrete evidence.
What are some tips would you like to share about remaining hopeful or becoming inspired?
Talk to God….if your intentions are pure, sincere and helping others he will somehow make it all work but you have to give him the Glory. So if you want a business pitch yourself to him, lol HD already know but the conversation inspires YOU.
What is your favorite inspirational or motivational podcast? Why should readers listen to them?
I listen to a number of podcast, I wouldn’t classify them as inspirational because that’s not the genre but you can get inspiration from everything.
Share your top 2 inspirational or motivational books and why?
The Coldest Winter Ever- its inspirational because it’s a reminder to me that its young people trying to become successful in ways that aren’t good because that’s all they know, if I can be proof that someone who look like them and been in the same types of neighborhoods and schools can make it in a different way I can be their example. The bible- it keeps me grounded.
Who keeps you inspired or hopeful?
My mom, she has ms as well had it for 10yrs and keep pushing.
How do you remain hopeful?
Striving at my goals.
How important is it to remain hopeful or to spread joy to others around you?
Very, very few people aren’t upfront about the true state of their minds and hearts, but you can change it with joy and being hopeful.
What keeps you inspired?
What does community mean to you?
People who hold each other accountable to be better and maintain an environment to make that possible and hold each other accountable.
What do you feel a community needs to be inspired?
A code, rules of engagement.
What’s next for you in your business/brand? What can readers look forward to from you?