One of the greatest gifts that 2019 has bestowed upon me is the opportunity to publish two self-love children’s picture books, Mother Africa, and The Universe Within. The writing, editing, printing, and distribution processes of each book has offered me great enlightenment about the publishing industry, children’s book market, and about myself as a writer. Below are four wonderful lessons that writing children’s picture books have taught me during the year 2019 and beyond!
Inspiration is limitless.
From a self-love poem to a self-published children’s book, the inspiration for The Universe Within sparked while writing alone in a coffee shop during my lunch break. The writing process for The Universe Within taught me so much about life and creativity. Like all living creatures on this planet, we are all born of the same creative and supernatural spark that formed this universe. This creative spark exists in everything, and if you open your heart wide enough you’re able to see this sacred spark of consciousness undulating through all living things.
Writing children’s books helped me tune into the divine creative fire deep within my soul, thus activating my creative awareness and story-generating abilities. Throughout my world-building process, I was able to create many stories for children that where about virtually any concept. That’s the beauty of children’s books, the imagination is endless and inspiration can come from anything. The sky was never the limit!
Our childhood reflects our imagination.
One of the most valuable lessons that writing children’s literature has taught me is that real-life writes the most magnificent stories! Living in the world of children’s picture books has taught me to not just narrate my life, but to also create it. Most importantly that same act of creation is happening all around us whether we are aware of it or not.
Speaking of creation, the concept for my latest children’s book, The Never-Ending Homework, manifested from a funny interaction with my niece Samirah while working one lovely Sunday morning during a thunderstorm. The story came to me so fast! I was writing a short story for a local publication when I heard a special knock on the door. To my surprise, it was my niece Samirah, and like most kiddos, she wanted to play!
Through the half-cracked door, Samirah peered at my writing desk and smiled before entering. “Auntie Tay Tay, wanna play dolls with me?” She politely asked. I smiled from over my laptop screen and told her sure, and before I knew it Samirah was already making her way over to explore. She began to question why I sit behind my computer desk all the time and soon revealed that she wanted to play more often, but we couldn’t because I’m always doing homework.
After explaining to her that I was actually writing a story and how much I truly enjoy writing, she became more interested in the writing process. It was at that moment when I suggested to her that we should write a story together about homework and thus The Never-Ending Homework was born! Stay tuned for more information on this lovely little book in May of 2020! Did I forget to mention that my niece Samirah Shareef will be doing the illustrations!!
The Universe has a plan for your stories.
As a writer, I don’t know if anyone has ever told you that your stories and experiences matter and that the universe has a plan for you and every book it inspires you to create and share with this world.
This lovely lesson really touched my heart at the end of this year when I was able to pitch both of my children’s books to my local library. Thankfully my job as a library specialist gave me a platform to share my stories with the world. I’m so blessed to have this experience and most importantly share it with others.
Creativity is power.
The inspiration to write my second children’s book sparked in January 2019. Perhaps from a miracle within the universe, I was given the inspiration to create The Universe Within for a reason, despite the challenges within my life, and I was convinced that the story would inevitably go on to inspire young readers worldwide. Building self-love and confidence in young readers has always been my goal, especially in a world full of so many hurdles.
When I found out that The Universe Within would eventually circulate through other libraries and into a wider audience, I felt as joyful and bright as the sun. The entire experience from a self-love poem to a self-published children’s book has truly empowered me as a story-teller and I’m very excited to create more children’s books in the future. My message to you is to keep creating your stories because you never know whose life they will change and who your stories will reach!
Vulnerability Leads to a Masterpiece.
My very first children’s book, Mother Africa taught me a great deal about vulnerability. You’ll never know how beautiful your art is until you put it out into the world to be experienced by others. While writing Mother Africa, it felt like I was naked and somewhat exposed to the world because this was my very first children’s book and prior to its publication, I didn’t have any publishing experience. Self-publishing in so many words can feel like jumping headfirst off of Mt. Kilimanjaro and into the sky! At first, the jump is scary, but the more you give in to the fall, the quicker you learn to fly. Despite the fear of flying, I continued along my publication process and in turn, my children’s book came to life!
I received the first copy of Mother Africa by mail and couldn’t be more thrilled to see my story bursting with life. My first children’s book had finally materialized into form and from here the process of self-publishing became my creative spark. My mission is to help ignite this spark in others along the self-publishing journey.