23-Year-Old Howard Grad Tasked With Leading the Charge
NEWARK, NJ – Kiana Nichols is too familiar with the fact that less than 3% of all books published annually for young readers feature a character of color. She grew up with this dilemma as a child. Unfortunately, this has become the status quo in the publishing world but with her leading the way, that’s all about to change.
The Howard grad is President of Girl Talk Publishing, a New Jersey-based startup company with their signature character named Jayla. The company’s first release in their “Written by Jayla” series is an anti-bully book titled She Thinks She’s Sooo Cute.
Although it was due out on March 21st, 2015, Girl Talk has already accumulated hundreds of orders from school districts across the country. (www.girltalkpublishing.com)
“The number of pre-orders is proof that this is a much needed resource,” says Ms. Nichols. “This book will help kids of all races and ethnicities realize that they, too, can be a voice of reason, an engineer of conflict resolution.”
Girl Talk has started a crowd funding campaign on www.gofundme.com/girltalk5000. The goal is to raise $20,000 to print and distribute some 5,000 copies of She Thinks She’s Soo Cute to children in underserved communities across the country.
“Most inner-city and rural communities are without book stores,” Ms. Nichols points out. “Those are the communities we’re looking to serve. The best part of this campaign is that not only do we promote literacy but we’re taking a stand against bullying with a book that encourages children to do the same.”
Girl Talk’s Vice President of Educational Services, Jasmine Alves, who is responsible for developing the curriculum associated with the book, rejects the notion that She Thinks She’s Sooo Cute is just for girls.
“With it being named ‘The Written by Jayla Series’ and having a girl on the cover, it’s almost natural to assume it’s just for girls,” says Ms. Alves, the 23-year-old Columbia University grad. “However, there are two male characters in the book who add a lot of personality and intrigue…”
First-time author and grad student Lavosha Kern, also 23 years old, is pursuing a master’s degree at the Savannah School of Art and Design. “She really brings the characters of the fictional Clemont Middle to life in a very colorful way,” Ms. Nichols says. The entire first chapter of She Thinks She’s Sooo Cute can be read atwww.girltalkpublishing.com.
For program descriptions, workshops and book signing info, call 973-220-0344. •