When I was pregnant with my daughter, I wrote a children’s book in her honor. I’m a writer and I knew that one day, I would write a children’s book. For years, I postponed it because I feared the legalities of entering an agreement with an illustrator at a time when I was just starting my publishing venture. I knew that I could not generate the income needed to sustain an amicable share in revenue, so I held off.
Finally, I got the nudge that I needed when I became pregnant. As I visited a local bookstore to begin building my daughter’s library so that I could read to her while she was in the womb, I was shocked to find that there were no picture books featuring Black babies. I had an urge to complain, but the urge was immediately silenced by my affirmation to do something about it. After all, I thought, I AM a writer. And so, one night while in my room to retrieve something, I dropped to my knees on a sudden urge to write this book that I knew that I would now write.
I grabbed my journal from my nightstand and I wrote the first book in a series of children’s books that I now write in honor of my daughter, Ava. In the first book, I tell a beautiful story of how God hears the prayers of a woman who asks for a child to bless her family. When God hears, he answers by selecting this beautiful Angel named Ava. God assigns her to join this family and she cheerfully replies, “Yes God, send me, I will go …”
The name Ava means breath of life. My daughter, as all daughters of the world do, has breathed life into mine. She has brought my husband and me a world of joy. And, she has filled us with laughter as we watch her dance, live and experience the world through brand new eyes. The seven books that I’ve now written in this series that captures the adventures of the character, Ava Lillian, have touched people’s lives. They are enamored by the beautiful illustrations and how well they capture the essence of our family.
When I wrote the first book for my daughter, I had resolved to make an investment into making sure that my daughter saw herself, a Black baby in a picture book. Afterwards, I committed to ensuring that she saw herself in a new book every year of her life as she continued to grow. When I made this commitment, I didn’t care if the only person who read those books would be my daughter because I knew what a difference the books would make in her life and how they would elevate her self-worth. Now I see that these books are not just for her, but they are for all daughters of the world.
To my daughter Ava whom I have immortalized in print, thank you for bringing life back to me when I needed it most. And, to the daughters of the world, I hope that you are inspired.