This spring, Queen Girls Publications will be distributing their first picture book featuring brand new fairy tales based on real women. The concept behind their books is to give girls a positive view of life and help them envision their dreams as possible. This is the reason their stories are based on real women.
As their website states, “often times, classic stories highlight the strength, courage and skills of men. Female characters are often stereotyped or one-dimensional: the mother figure, the homemaker, the exotic beauty, the love seeker…We believe that we should be telling different stories to our children. Let’s encourage girls to find their happiness, passions, drive and self-confidence from within. At the same time, let’s help boys to move to a place of equality.”
Their first book, Bessie, Queen of the Sky can be pre-ordered on Indegogo. For every book that is purchased, one book gets donated to a child in need.
Since I’ve made it multicultural week here on the blog, I wanted to include them in this very important celebration. Andrea and Jimena, the voices behind Queen Girls Publications, are able to move forward with their mission due to an overwhelming amount of public support to their Kickstarter campaign. They reached out for our support because they knew that there were people out there who understood the need for books that feature all of us so that we can all be empowered. Now I’m giving them more of a voice to say why diverse books are so very important. In the following interview, responses marked with an A belong to Andrea and those marked with a J are from Jimena.
Please tell my readers a little bit about yourselves.
(A) – My name is Andrea and I was born and raised in Chicago by a multicultural family that always encouraged me to dream big. I graduated with a Master’s degree in Speech Pathology and worked within the Chicago Public Schools. I have spent the past couple of years on the road, exploring different countries and cultures. I define myself as a dream-catcher, special needs advocate, wanderess, artist, and cyclist. I am inspired by traveling, the beauty of nature, and the true feeling of joy — and I am determined to share what it feels like to be driven by inspiration with as many children as possible!
(J) – I was born in Argentina and raised in southern Spain by very young and adventurous parents. They are the type of people who take risks, do and undo things, and keep moving with a smile on their face no matter what the results are! I guess this helped feed my entrepreneur soul. I thrive in the process of bringing ideas to life and dreams to reality. Always passionate about psychology, I am now getting trained to become a Life Coach. I understand that my purpose in life is to help others discover what their dreams are and to go after them!
What inspired you to write new fangled fairy tales based on real life women?
(J) – My son. When he came into my life, I felt this urge of doing something to help make this world he’s inheriting a better place. I feel many parents would relate with me when I say this!
(A) – The children in my life, past and present, have inspired me – I have had a passion for working with children my entire life. Children are curious, they are full of life, and hold burning desires to learn – we can all learn from them! From the moment a child is born, I want them to be taught that they are unique, special, and capable of having dreams. What better way than to teach this through children’s books?
Why did you think that there was a specific need for these stories in the world of children’s literature?
(A) We’ve done a lot of research! We’ve learned that there are a lack of diverse children’s books and that there are more children’s books with male protagonists than female. We’ve also learned that gender stereotypes are developed between the ages of 5 -7 years old, Often times when the female is the protagonist, there is a gender stereotype attached (ie., the mother-figure, the home-maker, the beauty queen).
(J) Yes, at this early age, kids develop perspectives that they are going to hold for life. Really, there wasn’t a lot of empowering content for girls this age.
How have you come up with the subjects for the three stories already in the works and are you working on more?
(A) It was a really fun process choosing our first three Queens. We started doing research on empowering women and were not surprised when our lists quickly filled up. Jimena and I each made separate lists – which we shared with one another – teaching each other about the great women we had read about, combining lists, and choosing those that interested us the most. Once we had a smaller list, we included close family and friends, asking for their suggestions, as well. We want our Queens to be diverse, with a variety of dreams, from different upbringings, and different cultures, so girls from all over the world can relate. We are welcoming of ideas for future Queens from our community and envision opening our collection to aspiring authors and illustrators who may want to write about their own Queens.
What has it been like to have such an overwhelming response to your Kickstarter campaign?
(A) Incredible. This campaign gave us the opportunity to share our project with the world, and the response we received was unimaginable. It has been a wonderful experience watching our friends, family and supporters join the movement. They have reassured us that our beliefs are shared by many and we so excited to watch our community grow.
(J) Definitely empowering! The response has given us even more drive to continue moving forward!
One of the amazing things that you are doing with this series is the one for one donation. Why did you choose to do this and how will the books be distributed?
(J) Thank you! Our mission is to inspire girls to follow their dreams! We want to reach as many girls as possible and the One for One model is a way to help us accomplish this goal. We are in touch with numerous organizations that empower girls and fight illiteracy, and we’ve officially partnered with Read to a Child, Open Books, and Girls Inc. San Antonio to distribute donated books. It is an ongoing process and we are always open to suggestions from members of our Queen Girls community! Independent of this, we are excited to be working with the organization, Worldreader, that distributes digital copies in areas of the world where it is difficult to send hard copies. As you can imagine, this is one of the most rewarding aspects of the project for us!
What were your favorite books when you were growing up?
(A) A favorite book of mine, among many, was “The Little Engine That Could.” It ties in with the Queen Girls mission – inspiring children to dream, believe, and achieve! “I think I can, I think I can!”
(J) I think I could still tell you Three little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood by heart! Classics!
Thank you so much Andrea and Jimena for taking the time to answer my questions.
I was lucky enough to read an advanced e-copy of their book and love it. Not only are children getting wonderful stories with strong characters who believe in themselves and go after their dreams, with each story they can learn about an important woman in our history. I can’t wait for our hard copy of Bessie to arrive and will of course be getting all of the books planned.