Successful Black Parenting magazine is diving into the world of animation and is featuring cartoons with original stories and some familiar rhymes, but there’s one catch, all of the animations feature Black characters. “I look around and I see so much in the world is about white people. Mary had a little lamb, she’s white. Jack ‘n’ Jill, and other narratives we grew up with. The world is craving more diversity,” says Janice Robinson-Celeste, Publisher of Successful Black Parenting magazine, who is a former teacher and who has a degree in early childhood education. “Many of the animations we’ve created teach children life skills, and others are traditional nursery rhymes that encourage repetition and call and response from children.” The idea behind the animations is to give children pride in seeing images that are like them on-screen and in books.
The first animation, Cover Your Mouth When You Sneeze is an original teaching story written and illustrated by Robinson-Celeste that was inspired by a lesson she is desperately trying to teach her own toddler granddaughter. “This animation, that will soon become a book, is written for her and is dedicated to her,” said Robinson-Celeste. “I know other parents feel my pain when you’re trying to teach basic skills to a toddler, like covering their mouths when they sneeze, and they do it after the fact.” The Cover Your Mouth While You Sneeze animation is expressively narrated by 11-year-old, Abigail Little, who has read more than 500 books. “I love her passion. She reminds me of the dramatic oral storyteller griots from the motherland, except she’s a young girl,” said
Successful Black Parenting’s plan is to become a full publishing company. “We have several more animations being released at the beginning of the year,” said Robinson-Celeste. Currently, the only way to experience the animations is through Successful Black Parenting’s YouTube channel. “It is my hope that anyone who ever wished for more black imagery in books and on-screen will subscribe to our channel. That way they will be notified as we release new projects.”