L.L Leatutufu loves to gallivant around the world to eat, play, and explore other cultures with her family. After having her son Ehsan, she recognized there was a need for Black, Indigenous children of color to be represented in books as the main protagonist; especially African American males. Ehsan goes to Paris is the first book from her children’s series. The inspiration came in 2018 after she and her family traveled to Paris to celebrate Ehsan’s 1st birthday. She believes her stories celebrate and represent Black children as well as foster the imagination of children who have a wanderlust spirit. Through her book series, she wants to normalize stories and imagery of Black children/families traveling and exploring the world. L.L. Leatutufu is a working mom from the Bay Area, she works with justice-involved youth with the intention to dismantle broken systems and radiate light where there is despair. Working with youth who have never left the city or town they reside in, also inspired her desire to be a part of exposing children to a world outside of the radius they are familiar with; even if it’s only through her books.
Patrice: Thank you so much for coming on to The Riverz Report Show and for Pretty Women Hustle Magazine.
Laneka: Thank you so much for having me!
Patrice: What led you to write your children’s book and what was the motivation behind it?
Laneka: In the year 2018, we took our son to Paris for his first birthday and the inspiration came from that. I remembered that I always wanted to write a book ever since I was a kid. Early one morning I was doing my meditation at four in the morning and I was speaking to the Spirit and I was saying that I wanted to write a book and the title ‘Ehsan Goes to Paris’ pop in my mind. I wrote the book in one day!
Patrice: When the Sprit speaks to you, we have to be ready to listen. I love the title and the concept. And the fact you wrote the book in a day shows real dedication. I definitely love the cover! It’s very unique!
Laneka: Thank you! I was super detailed with my illustrator. She was laughing stating that the project could have been out already. (laughs) I wanted things to be in divine order.
Patrice: What message do you want readers to get when reading the children’s book whether they are kids or parents?
Laneka: Don’t let this road limit you. The road is your playground and you are welcome to play. There aren’t enough imagery black family travelers enjoying the rituals of life. I want to normalize black children and families traveling aboard, representing black love, and in addition to promoting my book on diversity, but for black families to venture out.
Patrice: Absolutely and I can agree on that message for all the black families out there wanting to venture out and travel. Why do you think it’s important to talk about multicultural and traveling within kids in general?
Laneka: I want to say that it goes back to representation. It’s so much right now of us getting killed, a multi generation of trauma. Sometimes you have to detach and take the time to live; learn to play. Also exposing our kids to cultures, different cuisines, different languages, and to venture out. I think that is very important.
Patrice: With the pandemic still going on and businesses and families are still affected by this, what type of tips can you offer business owners during this time of need?
Laneka: For me I practice self-care and meditation. Getting tuned with yourself is important as well as getting out. I get out by going outdoors and taking my son to a trail or a beach. You can also do some research and figure out what you like to do and where to go. There are still some countries that you can go to; even traveling locally and getting out just to get air. Staying cooped up in the house can create those mental health issues. Journaling is good, for moms who aren’t able to get out, run yourself a bubble bath; do what you need to do to take care of you! My mom used to say “You don’t have to spend money to have fun!” There are different creative things that you can do. Hear more of this interview by visiting www.anchor.fm/theriverzreport