Chicago, IL — Frustrated because she couldn’t find books that her six-year-old African-American niece could relate to and enjoy, a Chicago-based entrepreneur created a company featuring a library of ebooks whose storylines, characters and uplifting messages mirror the lives, families and communities of Black and Latino children. It is the first time in publishing history that a minority firm has created an interactive digital platform whose offerings are specifically written for multicultural children ages three to eight.
This interactive digital library of ebooks will be published by KaZoom Kids iStory Books, a division of KaZoom Digital Publishing. Award-winning marketer, Donna Beasley, is founder and president.An official launch of the KaZoom Kids iStory Books digital platform will take place on July 16th. Billed as a subscription based service for children’s books, those interested in accessing the books can subscribe starting July 16, 2016 at their website www.KaZoomKidsBooks.com. The library features ten titles; two additional ebooks are offered per month.
A sampling of KaZoom’s titles:
- Alyassa Marissa and Her Magical Hair – a picture book celebrating being true to who you are. Alyssa’s hair can do a lot of things, but can it help her make friends? She worries if she’ll be liked in the first grade class of her new school. Written by Angela Williams and Illustrated by Janine Carrington
- Born To Dance – an engaging story based on the life of dancer and dance teacher Doris Humphries. It is written in poetic verse that flows with fun and energy. The story is written by her daughter Kathleen Humphries in celebration of her mother’s life. Doris is still teaching tap dancing and tango at the age of 91. Illustrated by Rich Lo.
- Nana Anna Series – Follows the life of Henry in 4 picture books including, Hard-Headed Henry, Uncle Lester’s Teeth, Henry’s Tonsils and Visit to Miz Roberts House. Each book has read-along audio. Written by Nana Anna and Illustrated by Pamela Rice.
- Kason’s Kite – Kason’s makes his own kite and attends the neighborhood kite festival with his dad. Then a dog gets loose and starts chasing a cat kite. That’s when the trouble begins. This story shares the bond between a son and his single dad. Written by Donna Renee and illustrated by Teddy Lu.
- According to Beasley, books that depict the multi-cultural experience allow kids of color an opportunity to see themselves reflected positively. Elaborating on the purpose of the company, Beasley said, “Our mission is to bring greater diversity to children’s literature. Our books will engage a child with read-along audio, sound, music, touch and animation.”
With the KaZoom Kids iStory App, each child can read the story or have the story read to them at the touch screen with words highlighted for the read-along option.
Filled with whimsical characters and illustrations that delight, and fascinate, the stories are fun but also touch on multiculturally-sensitive issues like black hair and single parenting. Other stories chronicle inspiring tales of successes.
Educators, parents and children are hailing the series for sparking an early love of reading and learning that could have lifelong benefits. Beasley says this is another positive by-product of the series. “The series helps improve a child’s reading skills by taking advantage of interactive technology,” she declares.
Vera Smith, a teacher at Miles Davis Magnet School, was shocked by the lack of diverse books for her students. Because of this, she often has to create her own materials. She says, “It is important for children to read stories with characters that look like them. It builds their self-esteem and lets them know they are not alone with things they struggle with like bullying. It also shows that they can overcome adversity. Like the characters, it gives them hope that they can achieve their dreams. I am super excited to become one of the first subscribers to KaZoom iStory Books.”
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