Host of the syndicated BACKtalk podcast and live stream, Janice Robinson-Celeste interviewed author and literary advocate, Carylee Carrington about “Black Children’s Book Authors You Don’t Know About” and we had a great time talking about our favorite children’s books, including her two books feature below as well as my two board that you can also find below. And you can find more information about little know Black children’s books in our corresponding article, “Black Children’s Books You Don’t Know About, Yet!” and at our online shop, The Black Family Bookstore.
“I really would implore our Black parents to please support our Black authors, because, you know, if we’re not getting support from you, you know, it’s gonna be hard to get support from anyone else.”
– Carylee Carrington, author
“We are sending our children there [to schools and libraries] and, you know, our tax dollars are paying for that. So we have the responsibility and we have the opportunity to be able to go to our schools, go to our principals, and the librarians and say, you know, can we get these [black] books in our schools?”
Books FEATURED in the BACKtalk podcast
Available on Amazon.com
Janice Robinson-Celeste: [00:00:01]
Welcome, everyone, and thank you for listening to BackTalk by Successful Black Parenting magazine. The podcast talk show for parents. I’m Janice Robinson-Celeste, your host and publisher of Successful Black Parenting magazine. I want you to tell all of your friends and followers about the show. So go to our Facebook page for Successful Black Parenting and share the link with your followers right now and let people know you are joining us. Even better, you can click the options and start a watch party. That’s what I’m about to do right now. In addition, you can comment on Facebook and I will post the best comments live on-air and know that it can take a while for your questions to populate in the backstage area. So ask any questions early. Don’t wait. Know that our hashtag for the show is #Backtalk. Today we are talking about black children’s book authors you might not know about and I have a special guest today who is an author. Her name is Carylee Carrington. Now, Carylee is a children’s book author, arts and literacy advocate and host of the Read with Carylee Show. She is a proud black mom of two boys living in Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C., on a mission to introduce children to diverse children’s book authors and help children develop kindness and courage. It all started when her son came home upset about hearing a racist remark on the school playground in Kindergarten. Since then, she has written two books, “Everyone Just Like Me” and “Pretty Hair.” She teaches children to embrace their differences and treat others with kindness. In the fall, she began hosting the read with Carylee Show available and Soul Vision TV, YouTube, and Facebook that features indy and upcoming children’s book authors, the majority who are black, but also from a wide variety of races and backgrounds. So welcome, Carylee.
Carylee Carrington: [00:02:09] Thank you for having me, Janice.
Janice Robinson-Celeste: [00:02:12] Well, tell me, why is this topic of Black books and Black authors important?
Carylee Carrington: [00:02:19] Well, this topic is truly important, especially in this time. I grew up, of course, with having, I just actually grew up in New York City and I had access to a lot more diverse books. But of course, there are so many books and authors that I did not have access to. And I know, you know, children depending on where they are living. They may not have access to those diverse authors, especially authors who are of the same skin color or who may speak about or write about things that they may encounter every day, especially with what’s going on right now. Having black authors is very important. You know, it’s hard, hard sometimes to find in either libraries or even in bookstores. Authors who are speaking to a diverse culture, authors who are speaking to brown and Black children. And, you know, having those authors write about those topics and having books that have faces and pictures of people that look like brown and Black children, that’s very important. And I embrace those authors in everything that I do because, you know, there are so few that are mentioned. There are many that are out there, but there are so few that are mentioned.
Janice Robinson-Celeste: [00:04:07] Absolutely. I think the statistics show that only 10 percent of the books in bookstores have Black main characters. Is that right?
Carylee Carrington: [00:04:16] That is absolutely correct. And in some areas, even less.
Janice Robinson-Celeste: [00:04:21] Let me show the audience this statistic. I’m going to grab it here about children’s books and diversity and the gap so they can get an idea of how low it is. So I have on my screen right now, it’s called the Diversity Gap in children’s books. A period of 24 years from 1994 to 2017 and it says as a percentage of children’s books by and or about people of color and native people. And it’s way down here. It has increased over a period of time. We’ve went from 10 percent to 14, 20, 28, 30.percent. It’s still very low. But we are starting to see more people of color enter the children’s book market, especially with the onset of print-on-demand and things like that. It says, thirty seven percent of the U.S. population are people of color. However, 13 percent of children’s books in the past 24-years contain multicultural content. And are we already talked about only 10 percent of that has African-American children as a main character or an antagonist. Right. It also says, did you know that Black, Latino, and native authors combined COMBINED, wrote only seven percent of the new children’s books published in 2017. Out of 3700 hundred books. Only 276 of those were by people of color. Coming back to you, Carrie. That is so low! How is that? Like, how can we change this?
Carylee Carrington: [00:06:08] Well, you know, that’s one of the reasons why I created my show the Read with Carylee Show. I knew that they were there were a lot of diverse authors out there and there are a lot of authors in my area. And that’s how it really started. I was looking for authors that were in my area because we actually used to tape the show live at a Black-owned coffee shop in Manassas, Virginia. And since COVID happened, we were forced to, you know, kind of, well, we were forced and blessed to expand the show into a Zoom’s show, and I’ve been able to connect with other a lot of other authors around the world. But, you know, we, I saw an influx of, of course, Black authors, you know, gravitating to me. And I was able to really have them come on the show. And they were local and they were authors that some I had actually heard about, the many of them I’d never heard about. So having this show and being able to promote authors that are, you know, indie authors, authors that are pub publishing on Amazon, and there are still some that are publishing their books, that they’re self-publishing their books because honestly, getting into a publisher and being able to get your book out there and have your book be based on children of color sometimes is very hard unless you’re a celebrity.
Carylee Carrington: [00:07:52] But now, you know, we are getting the recognition. I’m seeing a lot of authors, you know, write about girls’ hair. And I actually have my book that’s about girls’ hair and loving your natural curls and then a natural texture of your hair. So having those authors is, you know, I know I still haven’t even cracked the surface. I actually saw on Instagram and forgetting the handle right now, but this person, they started, you know, giving all of the Black books, you know, about Black children written by Black authors. And I was even surprised to see that there were so many that were there that were out there. So I’m really interested in showcasing a lot of other authors. I’ve had authors on my show. And coming up that are doing bilingual books. And like I said, you know, we have, we were able to have a whole Black History Month. And thankfully, Black History Month had five Saturdays this year. So we were actually able to showcase five stories by our local Black authors. And that was amazing. So it’s really, you know, trying to be that catalyst and be that driving force with my show and with other things that I’m doing to be able to showcase authors of, you know, diverse backgrounds and especially of Black backgrounds to be able to teach our kids.
Janice Robinson-Celeste: [00:09:43] That’s fantastic. Black authors need support, you guys. We really need your support. We will talk about that a little bit more. You know, you talked about some celebrities getting attention. It’s so hard to get the attention of a literary agent or a publishing company when you’re writing about Black books. We started our own publishing company here at Successful Black Parenting, and it’s called SBP Publishing. And eventually, you know, I had just so many ideas for children’s books that I decided to do it myself. And we produced two board books this year. I’m going to show, this my shameless plug, but I’m gonna show you we “Miles Stuffy Nose” is our latest book, and it’s about an African-American boy. And all of these books, I’ve got to say, are based on my grandchildren. So I have a grandchild named Miles. And it teaches them how to blow their nose because if you’re ever tried to teach a toddler how to blow his nose, you know that they will blow out of their mouths. They’ll run away from you. They will inhale. They do everything but blow their nose or they’ll blow it ever so gently like an angel. Nothing comes out. So this book is about a little boy who goes to his family for advice. And they keep telling him to pretend to be this and pretend to be that. And in his head, he actually turns into these things. They tell him to be. And then at the end, his older sister helps him to learn how to blow his nose, and he does it. So that’s a that’s one, you know, here’s my other shameless plug, because kids go through so much, even at a young age. I want it to empower them, but very subtly.
Janice Robinson-Celeste: [00:11:29] So the book, “BIG Kid: For When You’re Feeling Small In A BIG, BIG World,” helps kids to feel big, like some of the creatures and things that are in this book. And it has this repetition, so it helps them to read ahead of time. So it’s prereading skills, right? Because just like one of my favorite books, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Yeah, that’s one of my favorites. It repeats the same phrase over and over again, but it changes the character on each page. So I didn’t realize I was doing this when I created it, but after it, I was like, hey, these are kind of similar, you know? So that’s so I noticed my two-year-old granddaughter was able to read this book, I say read in quotes, read this book because she knew the character on the page and she knew it had the same saying over and over again. So as a parent, you just point to the words and they start to recognize the words. So “BIG Kid” and all of these are available on Amazon.com. So as far as the celebrities that you mentioned, just today, I went on Twitter and asked Gabrielle Union if she would come on our show and talk about her new book. God, I can’t think of the title right now. But she has a new children’s book out welcoming a new, baby [Welcome To The Party]. And I really want her on the show, so guys, if you’re listening, I’m going to ask you to do some social media tapping and ask Gabrielle to come on to our show and talk about her book. I really want her. And I love her and her family. I would love to have her on the show. So with that said. Tell us, what are some of your favorite children’s books?
Carylee Carrington: [00:13:17] Well, you know, I do have a couple of shameless plugs of my own. I have this was my first book, “Everyone Just Like Me.” And this one was the one that, thank you. That was the one that was that sparked this entire journey. I wanted to teach my son that it is okay to be different because like you said in my bio, he was told by one of his classmates that he should be playing with children that are of his similar skin color and skin color and race was not anything that we had spoken about. And my mother, my mother is very light-skinned. And, you know, he used to refer to people as peach or brown. So, you know, I would say to him, well, what color is grandma? And he said, peach. And I said, what color am I? And he was like brown? So I said, OK. And she’s my mother, so we can all play together. We can all be in the same family. Even having different skin colors. So I used glasses to be able to kind of breach the subject a little bit because he was five-years-old. I really didn’t feel that it was a good time to be delving into skin color and race with a five-year-old. So I use glasses to be able to show him that, you know, we may be different, but we can all actually, it’s good to be different. You know, if we all like the same things, if we all wanted the same things that we all did, the same things, it would really be a boring world that we would just be clamoring on top of each other to try to get everything done. So that was my first book and my next book, actually, that came out in December, actually, “Pretty Hair”, this one was, I actually started writing this well for “Everyone Just Like Me.” And I didn’t know what I really wanted to do with it. I wanted I have, you know, two nieces who have very pretty long curly hair. And of course, I dyed my hair blonde. So one wanted to be blonde. And the other, you know, she had long hair all the way down to her back. And she just she wanted to cut it because, you know, her hair was different from everybody else in her class. So I started writing this book, you know, basically for the two of them. And after writing everyone just like me, I said, you know what? I wanted this book to be more of a unifying book. So we have these two girls. You see, you know, the African-American girl with her hair braided. And we have the other girl, the Caucasian girl with her hair is blonde and straight. And they go through basically liking each other’s hair and not knowing that like through misunderstandings the African-American girl thinks that she is being made fun of. So we see how that all plays out. And I was telling a friend of mine about this, about the book before it even actually came out. And she was just like, oh, my gosh, Carylee! That’s like that was my life. And to preface this, she was a Caucasian, straight, blonde-haired girl, as you said. You know, she had a friend of hers and I think they were all through grade school that she always sat in front of her and she was African-American and she always had her hair in different styles and everything like that. And she said that her hair was so blonde, it was almost translucent. And she wanted to have the hair of the black girl. So it’s just, you know, so many different things that we go through. And both of my books are available on my website, ReadWithCarylee.com. So those are my shameless plugs. And I know these books that I’m going to introduce, this is another hair book, “My Kinky Coily Hair” by Aisha Rice. And she was actually on my show. You can go to my Web site as well to be able to see her read this book. And, you know, she brings the book to life. It’s it’s it’s amazing. And she, this is a very well written book about how some African-American girls may feel about their hair. And two more, this is of “The Girl Who Carried Too Much Stuff,” by Marc Boston. And Marc is a very great writer out of Charlottesville, Virginia, and he writes about his daughters. So this one was about, his second daughter and it shows children, you know, about holding onto things. And it’s actually even a good lesson for adults as well. And the last book that I would recommend right now also is “The Achievers Alphabet” by Christian Boldon. And all of these authors were actually on my show. And this gives the ABC of achievement. And, you know, the characteristics of achievers like one is “R” for Responsibility. And it really like he’s a young black author out of Washington, D.C., originally out of New Orleans, Louisiana. So those are some authors that I definitely recommend. And one of the, one of the books that stood out to me, you know, for teenagers, I read this in I think, I was possibly going to middle school and it was Roll Of Thunder Hear My Cry and that was that’s a book that, you know, has stayed with me for so long. I don’t have mine right here, but I, that’s one of the first books, you know, first non-picture books, chapter books that I really remember reading cover-to-cover and enjoying. And of course, that is about the Black experience. As well. So, you know, and I know a lot of people, you know, you have your favorite authors like Dr. Seuss in Stan and Jan Berenstein and those are my favorites as well when I was growing up. But of course, I was always into Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and those were the books that I grew up with. And you know, we need, that’s why we need to foster, the, foster our children learning about these Black authors, because it wasn’t until I was in high school that I really started reading more than Maya Angelou’s poems. You know, I read I’ve read most of her books, and it really helped me to understand the African-American experience. I’m originally from Jamaica. So there are certain things that I did not understand growing up. But reading books like “The Bluest Eye” and like I said, “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” and the books by Maya Angelou really helped me, too. And it really helped to shape who I am today. If you don’t know, you know, where your ancestors have been, you really don’t know where you’re going. And you really can’t really forge a path forward without understanding that. And those books helped me to understand the passage of African-Americans, especially in this country.
Janice Robinson-Celeste: [00:22:05] You know what that’s the Sankofa principle to know your past in order to be able to celebrate your future and know where you’re going. So we’re talking about that yesterday with Juneteenth. So that was very appropriate. And you were talking back about “Roll Of Thunder, Hear Me Cry,” yes, I remember that very well. Very well. I want to also reference an article that we wrote for Successful Black Parenting magazine about children’s books, B”lack Children’s Books That You Don’t Know About Yet.” I just kind of want to share the page now. It’s no longer on our main page or home page, but you can always search for it. And these are just some Black children’s books, you might not know about “Your Own Kind Of Beautiful,” “Little Black Girl,” “The Warrior In Me,” “Grandma’s Little King,” “The Rumble Hunters,” “Little Miss Is Designed For Greatness,” The Adventures of Gigi and Mimi: Mommy Works Too Much.” Of course, I have my books there too, BIG Kid. “Tulsa: A True Tragedy” for older children about the Tulsa race massacre, which is Black Wall Street. “I Know I Can,” “Dream Sweet Baby,” The STEAM Chasers,” And “Have You Thank An Inventor Today?” “Kumba am Ndey And Her Halfsister.” So those are just a few books that you probably have never even heard about. And they’re on our website, Successful Black Parenting.com.
Janice Robinson-Celeste: [00:23:47] And the title is “Black Children’s Books You Don’t Know About Yet.” So please go there and you will be able to find that under the search bar. Now, you told us a lot about your favorite books. I just want to hold up and show some books that I’m going to be giving away later on Twitter. So you guys, you know, join us or if you don’t have Twitter, just come join us. I’m going to be giving away these books. Look and say I got to get right in camera. “Sulwe” by Lupita Nyong’o. This is a great book about skin color and her accepting herself as who she is. We were talking about hair books. Of course, one of my favorite people, Matthew Cherry, “Hair Love.” He backed our book for “Miles Stuffy Nose”, my book. He actually backed it on Kickstarter. So he is one of my favorite people in the world right now. “Parker Looks Up.” of course, this is the little girl who went to the museum and saw Michelle Obama’s portrait and was just in awe. She wrote a children’s book with her mom and she has her own book. So those are some of my favorites. They’re all hardcover books. So if you’re interested, I’m going to make a post later on Twitter where you can win those three books. So that’s that. So let’s talk…
Carylee Carrington: [00:25:06] I would like to you know what? I’m going to add my two books in that so you can definitely have the winners win my books as well. Yes. So that we can actually help people to learn about more Black authors and indie authors and, you know, empower those as well.
Janice Robinson-Celeste: [00:25:32] All right. We have several people watching right now. We have Melody and I just put her comment up, she says, “white same-sex family mom here. Thank you both for sharing so much in this interview. I’ll be ordering all of these from my kids 16-months and four-and-a-half-years-old and getting them for the school where I work.” Know what? Thank you, Melody. You why? Because there should be diverse bookshelves. When I was growing up, all I had were books about white children and books about animals that it! I didn’t have any books. I didn’t know about John Steptoe’s books until I got to probably grade school as an older school-age kid. I had no reference to any diversity. So diverse bookshelves are very, very important. It’s important for children of color to see themselves represented. Because if you’re only showing them images of rap, you know, gangsters, girls shaking their butts. That’s all they want to aspire to be. That’s all they know. So we have to always start from a very young age showing them positive images so that they know that they are positive people and that they will grow up to be great citizens. And it starts from birth actually it starts before because you’re going to read to your child in the womb, but once they’re able to see and recognize images, it’s so important. So I want to thank you for that. I really appreciate that. So let’s talk about different age groups, OK? Can you recommend children’s books for each age group? Let’s talk about infants and toddlers because Melody, she had two different ranges of children. She has a toddler and she has a preschooler. And then about school-age and teens as well. What do you recommend?
Carylee Carrington: [00:27:26] Well, like I said, for school age and teens, I definitely recommend “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry,” for just like you, I just lost, Sorry. Just lost my train of thought for the books for younger children, but definitely, you know, sorry. “Pretty Hair” as well. You know, I love. Mr. Cherry’s book and being able to have, you know, “Hair Love” and there are so many books that are out there for a different Áge ranges. And I will definitely be willing to share those books on my website and get those for children that are looking for different books of different ranges. And this is probably another shameless plug on my web on my show, we had author Tasha Fuller. She was actually a local author and friend of mine and she has had some books for children from, you know, going from toddler all the way up to she just wrote a chapter book for teens that’s called, “Making the Squad.” And you can get her books on TarshaFullerBooks.com. She has a book for boys. Well, quote unquote, ‘for boys.’ You know, it’s talking about different athletes. It’s called, “Little Freddy’s, I’m sorry, it’s escaping me right now, but, yes, definitely you can check out the Little Freddie’s [In A Zone]. It’s a book sorry about that.
Janice Robinson-Celeste: [00:29:31] There are so many titles. It’s very hard to remember all the titles of, do you remember who the author is perhaps?
Carylee Carrington: [00:29:36] Yes. It’s Tasha Fuller. And she also has this very cute book. I believe this was her very first book and it was “Bath Time for Baby.” And but most of her books are about her children as well. And you can go to my website and check out her book that she reads on on-air. And, you know, she has some great and I hope to be actually having her back on my show this summer so you could check that out as well. But she has books for all age ranges, especially her latest book, “Making the Squad.” And it’s a very great book about, you know, these little girls that are trying out for cheerleading and they’re little brown girls. So that’s an amazing book as well.
Janice Robinson-Celeste: [00:30:30] Ok, well, we have Shanny and she has a question. She asks, do we do books for teen males and and under? So they’re Blackboy books, right. But both of my books that I showed earlier for toddlers, have Black boys as the main character, you know “BIG Kid,” I’m going to show it again. So “BIG Kid? Well, we also have “Miles’ Stuffy Nose,” which I’ll show you again, “Miles’ Stuffy Nose” just for those who came in late. But besides that, I’m going to share with you my screen one more time here. We have a bookstore, it’s called the Black Family Bookstore by SBP Publishing. And if you go to S B P for Successful Black Parenting SBPpublishing.Com, you will see that. And here is my screen and we have children’s books, books for parents, toys, accessories, and of course The Reading Quilt Blog. So what you will see is that, you know, it starts in alphabetical order but on the side, you can see books for teens. You can click on that or you can search by here alphabetical order. You can put in the search bar. Teen boys. And when I click on teens, it’ll take a second to come up. You’ll see some books that are recommended for teens, boys, and girls here. And there are at least six pages that you can go through. And this is an Amazon affiliate site, so when you go to checkout, it will take you through Amazon. But we do have that. And you can see there are different types of books here. “Young Brother,” “Letters to Young Brother,” “Makes Me Wann Holler,” “Miles Davis” book, “Miles Morales” is the Spider Man “Michael Jackson.” There’s so many “Nat Turner.” So, just peruse through SBP. You can see it. I think up here I think you can see SBPpublishing.com. You can also get to it from our website. So hopefully that will help you. And you can find some books for your sons there as well.
Carylee Carrington: [00:32:35] Yes. And also an author who has been on my show as well. B.K. Fulton, he is actually the CEO and chairman for Soul Vision TV, which just some of the Read with Carylee shows are actually airing on. And he has a series of seven books that speak about his childhood and gives little life lessons, especially for boys. And the series is “Little BK’s Adventures of Little BK” and they go through different books and different topics that he that young boys can really relate to.
Janice Robinson-Celeste: [00:33:17] Ok. All right. And Tiffany also responded. She said she can’t wait to check out these books. Her son is six and he loves to read. However, her daughter is nine and has trouble reading. And would these books encourage her more? Well, you know, you really have to find out what interests her and try to get her books in, you know, those genres. My daughter was interested, one of my daughters was interested in fashion, so I got her some fashion books in her level when she was a young pre-teen. And now you sitting with her and reading with her and pointing to each word, even at that age, will help her to read and have her read aloud to you. That’s how we learn, right? When we start trying to teach others. We tend to learn and retain it. So have her do that for you. And then you will see a difference in her reading and it will get better and better. Now, Tiffany, also I saw you asked about Black hair books and you have it Black hair book, Cary. So if you missed that, here it is, “Pretty Hair.” And we also know that you have the bring it up here again now about hair is called, “Hair Love” by Matthew Cherry. There are so many books and we have those in our bookstore, too, as well about hair. And I’m going to add your books in there, too, Carylee so that those as well. So check out the bookstore, SBP Publishing.com. I’ll put that up on the screen so that you can see the website because sometimes a B can sound like a V. So I want to make sure you guys get the right e-mail for SBPpublishing.com. I want to show you. And there you go SBP publishing dot com. And if you have any questions, you guys can always e-mail me from our website. And I’ll be happy to answer any questions. So Carylee, what is one of the hardest things about being a black author?
Carylee Carrington: [00:35:16] Oh, wow. One of the hardest things about being a Black author is, you know, getting that notoriety, getting known, getting out there. I am a self-published author. So I actually self-publish out of the self-publishing arm of Simon and Schuster, which is Archway Publishing. But a lot of authors, you know, I think they’re we’re really just getting into the self-publishing realm and getting our books out there and getting known. I really would implore our Black parents to please support our Black authors, because, you know, if we’re not getting support from you, you know, it’s gonna be hard to get support from anyone else. We sometimes don’t have the backing of big publishers or, you know, we do have some celebrities who have published books. Now, some Black celebrities who are publishing books, Taye Diggs, which I’m hoping that he will be able to be on my show soon. So, yes, you could also tag him and ping him to have him be on The Read With Carylee Show. But, you know, we have such so much that’s kind of going against us, we need to support each other to be able to get our books out there. And I would say definitely, you know, talk to your children’s librarians, you know. Request for more Black books to be featured in your children’s libraries at school. We are sending our children there and, you know, our tax dollars or are paying for that. So we have the responsibility and we have the opportunity to be able to go to our schools, go to our principals and the librarians and say, you know, can we get these books in our schools?
Janice Robinson-Celeste: [00:37:29] Right. As well as bookstores when they open back up after COVID, opened back up. If you don’t see any of our books that we just talked about, go to the front desk and ask for it. They will actually order it for you. And that’s good because then it puts our title in their heads and the author’s name in their head. So they’ll look for future books from us. So make sure that you have to be the advocate for your favorite authors. You have to be the advocate for your favorite books. Make sure that they have on the shelf. If you see the Black books in the back area, ask them why they’re doing that? Why not feature it and put them in a front area. They don’t have to do that just for Black History Month. So it’s up to you to be the advocate for the change you want to see. Now, let me ask you said, OK, buy the books. Is it better for people to buy books from authors webites when they have them available rather than a place like Amazon or Barnes & Noble online?
Carylee Carrington: [00:38:25] Well, it’s all, it’s all the preference of the author. I prefer to sell books from my website. Any books that come that are requested from me and are bought from my website. I personally, I try to personalize each one, but I definitely sign each one. So and, you know, you’re kind of cutting out the middleman. There is a percentage that you get from Amazon, but there’s a higher percentage that you get when you actually buy the book from the author’s website themselves. Or, you know, if you see them at a community show or something, you know, buy support, the authors patronize them. We know that this is an open marketplace and we just really need to support each other. If you know that the author is out there, if they have a website, if they’re selling on their website. You may have to pay shipping, but the cost of paying shipping in the long run is so much less than you know if you are not supporting that author fully.
Janice Robinson-Celeste: [00:39:41] I agree 100 percent. However, I am in a contract with a distributor, so unless I’m at a book signing, for me, I have to sell on Amazon. Besides, I just don’t have the time to do shipping and things like that. So I prefer that my customers get our books from Amazon. So that’s why we have the Amazon affiliate site. That’s why we have to click on our books on our website it takes you back to Amazon. I just don’t have the time to ship and mail. But one day I will have my own store that is not an Amazon affiliate and you will be able to buy directly from us. And I’m hoping that will happen within the next two years where I will have time because I have people helping me with that kind of thing. But I really encourage everyone just for me. I’m one of the rare ones, though, that you just Amazon is best for me right now. And it helps me so. But the thing that really helps me a lot, where Amazon and Barnes Noble and all those places, is when you go back and put ratings there. Just go and do a ratings blitz. Right? That helps black authors a lot, because the more ratings you have, the higher you rank on those websites. Is that right?
Carylee Carrington: [00:40:51] Absolutely. Yes. And, you know, if your favorite author is on Amazon and you so happen to get it, get your book from their website, you can still go on to Amazon and rate that book. You know, it doesn’t have to be if you bought the book directly from Amazon, if you bought the book and bought my books from me on my website, you can go to Amazon and rate that. And that will, you know, do a lot for those people who don’t know about me that can go ahead and get my book on Amazon. My book is on available on Amazon, Wal-Mart.com, and many other online book retailers as well.
Janice Robinson-Celeste: [00:41:38] Ok. Absolutely. Great information. Excuse me. What are some tips that you can give Black children book authors?
Carylee Carrington: [00:41:49] I would say, you know, there are many authors that may be looking at trying to get into a traditional publisher. If you can’t get your book and through a traditional publisher, go out there and find out how to get it self-published. If you need illustrators, you know, contact your local school’s art teacher, you know, I know a lot of people who have had their books illustrated by art teachers in their local public schools. Really, just get your book out there, because we definitely need it. Our children need it. And as parents need to see those black books out there so that we can buy them for our children.
Janice Robinson-Celeste: [00:42:44] Ok, any last tips for parents about buying Black children’s books?
Carylee Carrington: [00:42:51] Well, definitely. Go out and try to support those Black authors and books about Black children. We are in kind of a crisis right now. And children need to know about their ancestors. We need to know about Black books. I, I for one. You know, I live in Northern Virginia and I realized that my children may not be getting taught as much as they need to know about Black culture. So I actually, personally went out and searched for the Black books and, you know, books about Black inventors and Black artists is to be able to have that for my children. And, you know, we just need to really be vigilant and be purposeful in what we are selecting for our children and be purposeful in supporting Black authors.
Janice Robinson-Celeste: [00:44:02] Great, great. I’m just going to put up your books again. There we go, these are Carylee’s books, “Everyone Just Like Me.” And then we have, “Pretty Hair,” which is another one of her books. I’m also going to show you my books too, look at these, these are great. Well, I’ll put up both of mine as well, which are available on Amazon.com, “Miles. Stuffy Nose” by Janice Robinson-Celeste and “BIG Kid” by Janice Robinson-Celeste. Now, when you go to Amazon and you search for these, you’re going to have to put in the full titles and sometimes comma and then my name, because if it’s not ranking as high that day, it will not automatically show up in the search. So you have to actually put the whole title in. Like, sometimes you can just type the first few characters. There are days when that works perfectly. And then there are days like today when I went to search for it and I was like hey it didn’t come up today, as we need more reviews. We need you guys to put the reviews down there.
Carylee Carrington: [00:45:00] Absolutely. Yeah. And if you want to go to Amazon and search for mine as well, I would say go in search by my name. You can possibly find it, find “Pretty Hair” and “Everyone Just Like Me” But there’s not many Carylee Carringtons.
Janice Robinson-Celeste: [00:45:19] Right, but what I’m going to say too about that is, is that maybe not done on purpose but I noticed a lot of Black books on Amazon that aren’t by famous people get pushed way down on their list. So it is very important that you know, the author’s name and the more you buy, the more likely they will show up. Even better than that tell people where they can find you Carylee.
Carylee Carrington: [00:45:42] You can find me on my website, ReadWithCarylee.com. That’s R E A D. Thank you, Janice, for putting that up. Yes. ReadWithCarylee.Com. You can get my books. You can get connected to my YouTube page. You can get connected to all my social media. You can check out all of my YouTube videos. We just aired our 33rd video. So that’s 33 books that you have at your disposal if you’re not able to get to a book reading or even get to a library, or a bookstore, we have those books for you so that you could hear it from the author themselves. We had, like I said, a great run for Black history to be able to showcase all Black authors. So go ahead and check those books out. And, you know, my I would say my theme song is a little catchy. So, if you find yourself singing it all day. I’m sorry, not sorry, but it’s you know, we’re trying to get to a great place. We’ve been called the next Reading Rainbow. And, you know, hopefully, we will get to that status and share books from diverse authors around the world.
Janice Robinson-Celeste: [00:47:08] Man, we have some very rich nuggets out there. If you just dig a little bit, guys. I mean, think about this. He has a whole show for kids for reading. How many of you knew about that? Read with Carylee Show. I mean, golden nuggets, guys, we really have to dig and find out what’s out there for us and for our children. So thank you, Carylee for doing that. And I want to thank you for coming on BackTalk today to talk about Black children’s book authors and books. And thank all of you for participating and listening to BackTalk by Successful Black Parenting magazine. The podcast talk show for parents. If you missed part of the show, no worries. You can just wait a few minutes and click the replay of this podcast. Share it with anyone who needs to hear it. And let’s get the word out. We will be broadcasting every Saturday at 11:00 a.m. throughout the summer and the fall next Saturday our media personalities Cheryl Lacey Donovan will be here discussing African American Child Rearing Practices Rooted In Slavery. This will be a very interesting and hot topic. So don’t miss it when I posted. Make sure you hit that reminder button so that you will be reminded when we go live. Now go to our Facebook page right now and you can sign up for any notifications so you don’t miss it when we go live again. You know, Facebook has that little option where you can sign up for all notifications. One more thing, don’t forget to follow us, too, on Twitter and Facebook. We’re at Black Parenting1, on Instagram is the only one that’s different, we’re at SuccessfulBlackParenting. Our website, you’ll see it below is SuccessfulBlackParenting.com and it’s full of great content to help you to thrive and not just survive as a parent. I work hard for you guys with those articles trying to find experts. And I appreciate it when you go there. We’ve hit in about 3k to 4k website visitors a day. Three to four thousand! I can remember a time when I didn’t think anyone was reading anything. So I really appreciate all of your support. And just tell me what you want more of and I’ll be happy to find someone to do it. If I can’t do it on my own, I will make sure we find the experts for you. Be sure to rate our podcasts if you’re listening. And until next time, take care of yourself and stay safe.
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