Reading with our children while they are young helps them to become more articulate as they age. More author’s are realizing this and creating books that are not only fun for the kids but interactive for the parents as well. Caribbean author Nikko FungChung has released her Anya’s World children’s book series.
I recently interviewed her where she chatted on her inspirations to start the series. Check it out below.
Please tell myself and the readers about yourself and your upbringing.
I was born in the Bronx, New York in 1987. I am the product of Caribbean Pride and Louisiana Soul. I was raised with strong ties to African Culture and History. I grew up in the city of Mount Vernon, just steps outside of New York City.
Mount Vernon, though one of the most urban and poorest cities in the richest County in New York, was rich with culture and diversity and this played a huge role in molding the woman, entrepreneur, and author I am today.
What inspired you to be a writer?
I love to share information. I used to blog and I had a podcast for a few years so I guess you can say this was just a natural progression. There are few creative mediums that last forever; books are one of them so my books are a gift to my children that will always be here.
What influenced you to write children’s books?
I believe children are the best audience you can have. They are sponges that absorb and retain endless amounts of information and their thoughts are not confined by the reality of life like adults are. Imagination is such a powerful tool and as adults we tend to lose touch with it. I also know that any change we want to see in the world starts with the young people. They are the future leaders and creators so if we want to encourage change then we need to guide them in the right direction.
Is Anya your daughter or a character symbolizing your daughter?
Yes, Anya is my daughter. My children have very diverse families and it was important for me to teach them about each piece of their puzzle. These books and stories were my way of doing that. Travel is something I want them to be comfortable with so that when they get older they won’t be afraid to venture out and embrace new countries and cultures.
What message or feeling do you hope your books give to people?
I wish to make the world a smaller place. Distance can make us desensitized to what someone else may be going through and I believe it’s important to bridge the culture gaps as much as possible. In each story Anya meets a friend and goes to their home, spends time with their family. She realizes that they share many similarities and she celebrates the differences such as the cuisine, fashion, language, music and games. Acceptance – I think that is the best way to summarize the message I want these books to carry.
When we take trips as a family we always go use Air Bnb instead of resorts or hotels because getting the full cultural experience is so important to us. I want my children to engage with the people who live in the places we visit.
Please summarize some of your prior work and projects for us.
I recently started Fiwi Imprints, a publishing imprint that focuses on diverse literature with Afro-Caribbean representation and stories. The first book from this imprint is “A is for Ackee” Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
What new upcoming projects should we be waiting on and on the lookout for from you?
In addition to “Anya Goes To Nigeria” I have a new online bookstore called Colors Bookstore, which specializes in multicultural children’s books. I’ve had the honor to enlist a number of wonderful authors whose work will be available when the store opens December 18.
Is there any advice you would like to share with an upcoming writer?
Follow your purpose and write books that mean something to you and remain genuine. Surround yourself with a network of fellow self-published authors. Protect your work by copyrighting and trademarking. Take your time because quality will always be better than quantity.