About the Author, Deedee Cummings
As a therapist, attorney, CEO of Make A Way Media, and author of fifteen children’s books, Deedee Cummings has a passion for ensuring equality, inclusion, and social justice for the next generation. Since her first book published in 2014, Cummings has been on a mission to help young dreamers and doers “see themselves” in the pages of the books they read.
Cummings has spent more than two decades working within the family therapy and support field, and much of her writing shares her experiences of working with kids in therapeutic foster care.
By the end of 2021, this #OWNVOICES author will have fifteen diverse children’s books to her credit, including the Rapid Release of her Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess five-book series. All fifteen of Cummings’ diverse picture, poetry, and workbooks for kids reflect her professional knowledge and love of life.
Cummings is also the founder and creator of the Louisville Book Festival, a literacy-based celebration in Louisville, KY, celebrated on October 22nd and 23rd, 2021.
About the book, Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess
The Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess series of #OWNVOICE books is for Dreamers and the Doers of all ages. This diverse picture book series is a heartwarming look at the importance of family, speaking our truth, dreaming freely, and knowing our worth.
The story also reveals the special family dynamic that Kayla shares with her mom; a hard-working woman who struggles with the guilt of not being as available for her young daughter as she would like. But as the story progresses, Kayla and her mom realize the impact of valuing the time they have together as well as the importance of seeing each other acknowledge (and pursue) their individual dreams. For children ages 5 and up.
The first in a five-part series, this diverse picture book shines the spotlight on a little brown girl who loves musical theater and never lets anything get in the way of her dreams. Everyone else has an idea of who she should be, but in the end, she discovers that she is the one who gets to decide.
Parents, Caregivers, and Educators: By investing in this series, you help every child see that Black and Brown girls can be leaders, princesses, and the stars of their own stories. Children need to read stories that include characters who look like them. Offering these types of books to young readers is an essential part of building self-esteem, cultivating empathy, encouraging tough conversations, and letting children of color know they matter.
The Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess series is inspired by real-life budding Broadway Star, Kayla Pecchioni: a young Black woman who has always lived her life by believing in herself while letting nothing get in the way of her dreams.
Review of Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess, by Deedee Cummings
There are many reasons to read a book; a well-rounded reader tries to find books that cater to these many reasons. When it comes to reading to children, bar the principal reason of raising a reader, books serve to open their eyes at the many different realities that surround us, thus equipping children from a young age with an ever more profound understanding of reality. This helps them as they enter a life of service to humankind.
It is with this in mind that I accepted to receive a copy of the books in Deedee Cummings’ series, “Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess”. Representation matters not just to the kids who see themselves in books, but also to every kid, who needs to see what the many faces of humanity look like. Featuring a Black little girl, the series gives visibility to two often underrepresented types of characters.
This is the type of book to read when one has time to answer the multitude of questions that it offers the opportunity for parents to explore with their children. Why does the mother work so hard? What is a promotion? Can I really be anything I want to be? The neutrality, almost, of the storyline makes of this book a safe space for parents with different beliefs, religious or otherwise, to explore these questions within the framework of their personal belief systems.
Further to the story itself, the illustrations–bright and captivating–are bound to generate a lot of conversation, from identifying and simple enjoyment to curious exploratory questions. “Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess” shared the warmth of the bond between Kayla and her mother in the way it wraps the parent and child perusing its pages with the opportunity to connect. A sweet addition to any library
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