How did you get TARGET to put your books in their stores?
People often ask me that question with a curious surprise in their tone of voice. Then they go on to add,” That is HUGE!!” My answer is always, simple, “Belief and determination”. And yes, any new unpublished author starting their own publishing company with the first book to get Target as their first client IS huge, indeed. But, beyond that, the most wonderful aspect of the story is the Target team themselves. I was invited to visit the Target Corporate office with my books, apparel and dolls not once, not twice — but five times. And each visit was a total joy because Target has managed to hire the most innovative, smart, tech savvy and ultimately cool team of young professionals that really know the pulse of “what’s up”. And also to mention, that they are way fun to join with in a meeting. This was all handled by a phone call to a CEO through a good friend of mine who wanted the Target Team to see the brand that I had created (yes, I am blessed with some awesome friends). THE I’M A GIRL COLLECTION was created from my desire to show girls, particularly girls of color — the real beauty of themselves in storybooks. Simplified.
It all started one fall morning while watching “The Today Show”. Julienne Moore had created a lovely book, FRECKLE FACE STRAWBERRY, about a little pale-skinned girl with bright red strawberry colored hair with skin that was covered in freckles from head to toe. I adore her work as an actress, so I was intrigued with this new offering she was promoting. As I listened, I realized that though it was a cute little book , that it did not reflect me as a girl — and when I was growing up in the south, I certainly didn’t know any freckled-face strawberry’s in MY neighborhood! That got me to thinking about colors. And with that, I realized that Black girls are a bounty of beautiful shades in every hue! I sat down to write, in about 45 minutes, the first words of I’M A PRETTY LITTLE BLACK GIRL!, describing the many shades of colors and hair textures of each girl. I then got curious to see if there were any books particularly for little Black girls that celebrated us in a fun and bright happy manner.
There were none.
There were no books for little black girls as the lead character in their own joyful story.
Not one book on the Barnes and Noble shelves for little Black girls as the lead character in her own cute story the way the Fancy Nancy books presented the character, or the Pinkalicious books, or ANY books.
And it was this discovery that made me realize that I had to do this. Imagine yourself, a little 4 year-old Black girl going to the book shelves and all you see are picture books of civil rights, slavery, struggle and history. All painted in dark hues of burgundy, dark blue, brown, deep green and muddy browns. Where is the fun in that?!
I’M A PRETTY LITTLE BLACK GIRL! is just what the title says, celebrated in girl-fun with bright happy colors and celebrating little black girls with the idea of a future filled with brilliance.
So stand by, there is more to come. But for now, this is a step in showing our kids that they are LOVED, and that they are worth every effort I can make in letting them see themselves in a glorious and fully illustrated picture book – created just for them!!!
TARGET led the way to get I’M A PRETTY LITTLE BLACK GIRL! placed in their stores — and now, other retailers are following their lead. TARGET’S motto is CELEBRATE DIVERSITY. And with this book, they are doing just that.