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Introducing Diverse and Empowering Books for Young Readers

Introducing Diverse and Empowering Books for Young Readers

Jacquitta A. McManus is a name you should remember if you are passionate about reading and representation in literature. Her books are a perfect blend of adventure, empowerment, and diversity. As a writer, Jacquitta understands the importance of representation, and her work is proof of that. Her passion for writing started when she realized the lack of representation of girls of color in fantasy adventure stories. Her debut book, Anyi - Dream of a Warrior, received five stars from Reader's Favorite. She followed it up with her first picture book, Baby Princess and the Lost Doll, and her first comic story, Anyia - Warriors' Challenge. Her work empowers young girls to believe in themselves and their dreams. Jacquitta's writing is an inspiration for young readers who are looking for stories that celebrate diversity and inclusion. Her stories feature diverse girl characters who face challenges and overcome them, inspiring children to believe in themselves and their dreams. As an author, Jacquitta is committed to creating engaging and empowering stories. Her books are perfect for parents looking for books that represent their children and inspire them. Jacquitta's books are a great way to introduce children to diverse characters and help them learn about different cultures. If you're a bookseller or a store owner, Jacquitta's books would be a perfect fit for your store. Her work proves that representation in literature is essential, and her books are a great way to introduce young readers to diverse characters. Jacquitta's passion for writing and representation is inspiring. She proves that you can achieve anything if you believe in yourself and your dreams. Her books are a great way to inspire young readers to do the same. So, if you're looking for books that celebrate diversity and inclusion, Jacquitta's books are a great place to start.

Free Downloadable Coloring Pages for iPad Procreate: Learn to Import and Color with WorldsToDiscover

Free Downloadable Coloring Pages for iPad Procreate: Learn to Import and Color with WorldsToDiscover

I enjoy sharing free downloadable coloring pages on my website, especially when I have new characters or pages to offer. If you prefer coloring on your iPad using Procreate , I've outlined some simple steps for you to follow. Keep in mind that Procreate is a paid app that costs under $13, but it's an excellent tool for coloring on your iPad and an app I use all the time. 1. First, visit my website at WorldsToDiscover.com on your iPad and go to the Downloads page. Select a coloring page you want to download and click on it to open the PDF. Then, click on the sharing icon located in the top right corner of the screen (the square with an upward arrow) and save it to your files. 2. Next, open Procreate and click on Import in the top right corner of the app. Locate the downloaded coloring page in your files and tap on it. Procreate will then open with your PDF as a new canvas. 3. Once you have the coloring page in Procreate, adjust the PDF layer (Layer 1) to maintain the outline of the coloring page while coloring. To do this, tap on the layers icon in the top right corner of the screen, and then tap the 'N' on Layer 1. Change the layer from Normal to Multiply, which is located at the top of the list. 4 .After that, create a new layer by clicking on the plus icon at the top of the layers window, and drag it under Layer 1. Now you can start coloring on the new layer and create additional layers to separate colors or add effects. 5. When you finish coloring, you can export the image as a PNG or another file format. If you post your artwork on Instagram, tag me @WorldsToDiscover . That's it! You can now download any PDF coloring page and import it into Procreate to color on your iPad.

How to Overcome Writer's Block: Using Character Journals to Explore Your Story

How to Overcome Writer's Block: Using Character Journals to Explore Your Story

If you're like me, you've experienced writer's block. It can feel like a wall you can't seem to break through, no matter how hard you try. You might stare at a blank page for hours or write and rewrite the same sentence over and over again. Maybe, you're like me, and you leave the story for weeks, months, or maybe years before you go back to it to work things out. It's a creative rut, and you can feel defeated and hopeless. The struggles of writer's block are real, but there is a technique I use that can also help you work through this challenging time and come out with renewed inspiration about your story.
Writer's block was something I faced when I first started writing. I was working on my first novel and hit a wall. I rewrote the beginning several times, but it always stalled around chapters 3 and 4. I was frustrated. I had done a character questionnaire on all my characters, but I soon realized I didn't know them. And that was key for me. I'm not an outliner. I've tried it although it can give me ideas about how the story can go, I've never stuck to one. For me, it's best to start writing the story once I know the opening scene, the main characters, and the conflict. Everything else develops as I go. It's a style that works for me, but it also means writer's block has become too close of a friend. To overcome writer's block, I had to stop and get to know my main characters, and one of my ways of doing this is through character journals, which is how the first story of Anyia was developed. Anyia is part of a bigger story, and I couldn't get a handle on who she was, so I started her character journal. Now, most of my character journals are rambles. Most of it won't make it into the story, but what it does for me is open me up to be free with my writing while testing situations with my characters. It might start with the beginning of their day and mid-paragraph jump to a different day and problem. And I let myself ramble. Explore the character and the world. Find out what they see when they wake up, where they hide when they're scared, and why something bothers them. I put them in front of their nemesis and see how they react, especially when they're not ready to face them. By doing this, I get to know my characters and see their world, which helps me work through my writer's block.
Here are some steps to work through writer's block using character journals: Identify the characters in your story that you're having trouble writing about. Make a list of their names and any key details you've established in your story. Write in the journal from the character's perspective. Think about their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. You can use prompts like "What did I do today?" or write a scene about where they hid when they were scared or didn't get something they wanted. Don't worry about writing anything that's directly related to your story. This is a chance to explore your character and their world without the pressure of moving the plot forward. Keep writing in the journal for as long as you need to. You might write a lot in one sitting or just a few sentences. The important thing is to keep showing up and writing consistently. After a few days of writing in the journal, go back and review what you've written. Look for any insights or details that could be incorporated into your story. Repeat the process with another character from your list. You might find that writing from a different perspective helps to unlock new ideas and move your story forward. By using character journals, you're able to explore your characters in more depth and gain a better understanding of their motivations and perspectives. This can help to break through writer's block and generate new ideas for your story. I hope this helps. :)

Breaking Barriers: Why Representation Matters in Children's Fantasy and Adventure Books

Breaking Barriers: Why Representation Matters in Children's Fantasy and Adventure Books

For generations, children's books have been a staple in households worldwide, introducing children to new ideas and perspectives, expanding their imaginations, and helping them develop essential skills. However, these books have not always been inclusive, with black and brown children often excluded from these stories, particularly girls. As a parent searching for books to read to my kids at bedtime, it became evident that there was a significant lack of representation in fantasy and science fiction books. It was disappointing to see that our experiences were not being represented and we were not being seen. I wanted to share these stories with my children, but as a black family, we had no options. But representation matters. Children need to see themselves reflected in the stories they read, feel validated, and develop a positive sense of self-worth. And that's why I'm breaking barriers with my children's stories. By creating diverse characters and worlds in picture books, early reader chapter books, middle-grade books, and graphic novels, I hope to provide representation for children of color in fantasy and adventure books. My stories featuring strong, empowered girls of color offer a fresh perspective on the traditional hero's journey while challenging stereotypes. I want all children to see themselves as heroes and know their experiences are valued and celebrated. Together, let's inspire a new generation of young readers and storytellers! If you're looking for children's books celebrating black characters, check out my website, WorldsToDiscover.com . My books include Anyia, Dream of a Warrior, Baby Princess and the Lost Doll, Talee and the Magic Flower, and more. All are available in print and e-book formats and are perfect for children of all ages. Whether you're looking for an adventurous chapter book for your young reader or a colorful picture book for story time, my stories offer a fresh perspective on traditional storytelling. Help your child discover the magic of diverse storytelling and inspire them to become their hero with my books. Also, join me on social media and become a part of the WorldsToDiscover community! Follow me on Instagram @worldstodiscover for updates on new releases, behind-the-scenes looks at my creative process, and insights into the diverse stories and characters that inspire me. I also share fun and interactive content to engage young readers and encourage them to explore their creativity. Together, let's inspire a new generation of readers and storytellers and promote the importance of diversity and inclusivity in children's literature. "Representation in children's stories is more than just a character on the page, it's about validating a child's worth and inspiring them to be their own hero. By breaking barriers with diverse characters and worlds, we can empower children of color to see themselves as the heroes they truly are." - Jacquitta A. McManus

25 BIPOC Publishers

25 BIPOC Publishers

I put in a lot of work to publish my books, so it's always great to be included in a list of publishers and/or authors to checkout. Cobbs Creek Publishing created a list of 25 BIPOC Publishers , and I'm one of them. Yeah!
Click Here to check out their list.

Unlocking the Process: 5 Simple Steps for Writing and Self-Publishing a Children's Book

Unlocking the Process: 5 Simple Steps for Writing and Self-Publishing a Children's Book

First, you should know that some frustration is part of the process ... and it’s going to take time. If you're entering into the publishing industry for the first time, you'll have to expect that you’ll face a lot of unknowns. But all of those unknowns can be worked through and figured out … one unknown at a time. With that being said, here are the basic phases I use when publishing a book. STAGE ONE Research... research... research When I decided to self-publish children’s books, I grabbed a notebook and started writing down all the questions I needed to know to be successful. Then, I began on a journey of finding the answers. This led me to read a lot of books, blogs, and the beginning of my collection of children’s books for reference. I read about self-publishing and storytelling. By doing my research, I have strengthened my foundation in self-publishing and storytelling while also providing myself with a source of inspiration. Some of my favorite resources for story structure are Eric Edson - The Story Solution: 23 Actions All Great Heros Must Take and Brandon Sanderson's lectures on YouT ube. If you don’t already have a story idea or plot in mind, research can lead you to one. P.S. One of the things I do when I come up against writer’s block is read. Sometimes, I read books in the genre I’m writing in, but other times, I will read or watch the making of a series... movie, book, etc. Seeing how others tackle storytelling can be very inspirational regardless of whether it’s a written or visual medium, especially since we work in both as children's book authors. The 2nd and Charles store has a large selection of used books if you want to start a collection. STAGE TWO Stage two of the process is getting to a strong rough draft that is ready for a final edit. Rewrite it as many times as it takes to get it right. First drafts are never final drafts. Ensure you have a good story structure: beginning, middle, and end. Make sure your book is speaking to the target audience. Children’s books are short stories. You have about 1000 words in a picture book to tell that story. So keep the story focused—one plot. The problem you start solving is the only one that should be solved. Any sentence that doesn’t drive the story to solve that one problem must be deleted. As writers, we have a lot to say, but all of it doesn’t need to make it into the final draft of a book. Keep your book focused and moving along. Use the rule of three to build anticipation. While working on your rough draft, make sure you’re using appropriate words for your target audience; word choices for younger readers are very important. Make sure you have a list of sight words. Reach out to beta readers for feedback. Send your story out for a critique. I recommend that when you get to the editing stage, you have someone do a line edit with annotations first, and then once you make all of your corrections, have a copy edit done for a final polish. Also, remember to write the dedication page, back copy, and synopsis and start working on the copyright page. It wouldn’t hurt to write ad copy to use for marketing your book. Send all of it to have edited with your book. In stage 4, you will need to have your ISBN#, which will be included in your copyright page, so leave space for it. STAGE THREE You can look for an illustrator once you have your final edited draft. Note: Don’t start illustrations until you have a final draft and have finished editing; otherwise, you could spend time and money on illustration changes. This is also the phase in which you’ll pick the size of your book and the printer. Most picture books are 8x8 or 8.5x8.5. When looking for an illustrator, I would suggest you look for one that works in the style you want your book to be illustrated. If they can also lay out your book, that’s a bonus. If they can’t, you’ll have to find a graphic designer to do that for you. Note: The turnaround time for illustration work will vary, but you should expect anywhere from 1 to 6 months. This will depend on the number of illustrations, the level of detail, and the speed of the illustrator. STAGE FOUR Stage 4 is your book layout stage. This stage aims to take your text and illustrations and turn them into a final book. A graphic designer will use fonts, placement, etc., to further bring your book to life. Don’t underestimate this phase. The layout of your book plays a big part in the reading experience. Note: The layout of your book should be considered during the illustration phase. You’ll have to know your page breaks and the placement of your illustrations so that it all flows together.
Note: This is also the stage where you’ll need your ISBN# and barcode. If you print with Ingram Spark, they will use your ISBN# and create a barcode for you. E-books do not require a barcode. All printed books need an ISBN#. If you plan to print a hardcover and a paperback copy of your book, you’ll need at least 2 ISBN#s. You can get your ISBN# at www.myidentifiers.com . STAGE FIVE Stage 5 is the printing, marketing, and distribution phase. Note: Although this is stage 5 of the process, you should know who you are printing with and how you plan to distribute your book in stage 3. You have to decide if you’ll be using a print-on-demand company or are going to offset printing, which will not come with any form of distribution, but the print price will be better because you will have to print in large quantities. What you don’t want to happen is that you decide to print a hardcover 8x8 book and can’t get it printed with the company you selected. Make sure the printer has the ability to print the size and cover type you have chosen. Also, make sure they offer distribution if that’s something you want. Now that your book is printed and you’ve set up your distribution, it’s time to start marketing and selling. Build a website, grow your reader base, and start writing your next book. Also, Ingram Spark doesn’t have the best print quality, in my opinion, but they do have distribution. So, they are worth considering if you want to see your book on Amazon, Walmart.com, Target.com, etc. I wish you much success on your journey.

5 - Stars from Readers' Favorite

5 - Stars from Readers' Favorite

When I started writing, I didn't know how my books would be perceived. Sometimes I get in my head, especially after spending months... sometimes years working on them. So, it's nice to see the 5-star reviews from Readers' Favorite.

Transforming Sana - Last Day from a Prologue to a Stand-Alone Novel: My Writing Journey

Transforming Sana - Last Day from a Prologue to a Stand-Alone Novel: My Writing Journey

I've been looking at the Sana - Last Day cover for months now. The illustrations were completed over a year ago, and I even shared some on my Instagram. I also have a sticker of the family that I give out at events. It'll be my next book, although it was initially written as a prologue to a different book that I thought would be my debut. However, the prologue was too long at over 14,000 words, and I struggled with what to do with it. I cut out thousands of words, but that didn't fix the issue. Then, while working on Anyia - It Begins, Sana appeared, and I realized that her story was the real focus of the prologue. I developed her character and revised the draft to create a standalone story that connects to the rest of the series. My challenge was to ensure that Sana's story arc remained coherent with the pre-existing storylines and history of the published works while also providing readers with an exciting standalone novel. I solved that problem by rewriting and adding scenes and adding a feisty new character. I'm currently in the final phase of working on the final draft before sending it for editing. Sana - Last Day is a crucial anchor to the series, providing insights into the characters and world-building. It will connect some of the dots for readers interested in learning more about the series. Note: Sana - Last Day also sparked the idea for my first picture book, Baby Princess and the Last Doll. Sana is the mother of Baby Princess, and I was inspired to write the story after creating a coloring sheet of Sana and Baby Princess. You can find the coloring sheet on the downloads page .

From Digital Animation Degree to Children's Book Author and Illustrator: My Creative Journey

From Digital Animation Degree to Children's Book Author and Illustrator: My Creative Journey

After high school, I thought I would attend ITT Tech in Nashville. I passed the entrance test and was approved for student aid, but then I found out about the Digital Animation degree at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). The degree fascinated me, and there was no turning back. At that time, I hadn't realized that I would also have to have an art minor. Surprise! Even now, the thought makes me laugh, but I got through it. I came out with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mass Communication with an emphasis in Digital Animation and minors in Art and African American Studies.
Fast forward years, years, years, and more years later, I decided that I would become a children's book author. It wasn't until after my second book, Talee and the Fallen Object, that there was even a thought of illustrating. A friend at the time kept asking me why I didn't illustrate my books. I don't remember my response to her, but I remember that the idea kept nagging at me, especially since I inked my Talee book. So, I brought some sketchbooks and started sketching. My stick figures were awful, but I was determined! Determined to get better, I began watching youtube videos, signed up for a few online classes, and then worked with an online art teacher. Years after pushing myself, I illustrated my first book for another author, and Wacom reposted one of my images on their google+ page. Then I decided to start illustrating the next books in the Anyia and Talee series but trying to match the first two illustrators' styles was impossible, so I decided to work with an illustrator. The style isn't the same, but the feel is similar enough that it works. Now that I have an illustrator to work with me on those series, I'm about to start the journey of illustrating a story I've had in my head for months—a book about a young girl that is the sister of the new emperor and the trouble she gets into. Here's a rough sketch.

Join Talee and Her Friends on an Adventure: The Story Behind the Children's Book Series

Join Talee and Her Friends on an Adventure: The Story Behind the Children's Book Series

One of the things that attracted me to the Talee adventure was the floating landscapes. Most stories, for me, start with a character, but this series started with the world. And then Talee came, and she brought everything to life for me, a curious character that loves exploring her world and going on adventures with her best friends Cora, her next-door neighbor, and Nola, her animal friend.
The crazy thing, for me, about the Talee adventures is that it started as a coloring book adventure, and I wrote it through images. I planned out the adventure and then wrote down the description of each image. It wasn't until after getting the rough illustrations back that I decided to write an early reader chapter book. In the first release of Talee and the Fallen Object , the early reader chapter book, I didn't color the illustrations because I still wanted the coloring book feel, so I left the illustrations for the readers to color, but after talking to some parents, I realized it wasn't a good idea. There was no need to buy both if their child could color the illustrations in the early reader. So, for the 2nd release, I changed the cover and added full-color illustrations.
If you've read Talee and the Fallen Object, I would love to hear your feedback to see what stood out to you. And if you don't mind, I have a quick favor to ask. If you don't mind, please take a quick moment and leave a review on Amazon; that would be amazing! It's one of the best ways to help an author grow. Thank you so much for your continued support! 😊 (P.S. I'm starting a review team for my books; if you would like to be part of the team, please contact me and let's talk.) Book Synopsis: Meet Talee! A fun, curious little girl that goes on adventures around her planet Gala, which has two moons and landmasses that float. In her first adventure, she travels out to find out what falls from the backpack of a mail flyer. Join her on this fun adventure in this great early reader chapter book with an easy to read, engaging story for ages 6-8. Please Note: To leave a comment, you have to be logged in.

Insight into Anyia, Dream of a Warrior: A 5-Star Epic Adventure Book

Insight into Anyia, Dream of a Warrior: A 5-Star Epic Adventure Book

I hope you're having a great new year. 2020 was a year of a lot of downs but some great ups as well. My plan for 2020 was to publish four books, and I ended up published six, two of which were journal books. As I start planning my books for 2021, I want to take a moment and share some of my insight into the books I've already written, starting with my first book Anyia, Dream of a Warrior. It was published in 2010, reissued with a new cover in 2017, and has received a 5-star rating from readers' favorite and has a 4.8-star rating on Amazon with 38 reviews. When I first started writing, my focus was to write an epic adventure book with characters of color—something I would have loved to have read when I was a child. So, I began writing a book about friends who would have to come together to defeat an enemy. While writing several drafts for that story with a different main character, I hit a point where the story wasn't working anymore. To break through my writer's block, I began writing character journals. It was during that time Anyia stood out to me. I began to see her... to see a character that grew up being told who she should be but a character that would also have the courage to go on a journey that would allow her to become who she was meant to be. It was a character arc I could relate to, and I was excited to write about it with the hope that readers would connect with her drive and fearlessness, which are the characteristics I love the most about her. She's a warm, loving character looking to find her place in her world, which is her series's overarching theme. If you've read Anyia, Dream of a Warrior, I would love to hear your feedback to see what stood out to you. And if you don't mind, I have a quick favor to ask. If you don't mind, please take a quick moment and leave a review on Amazon, that would be amazing! It's one of the best ways to help an author grow. Thank you so much for your continued support! 😊 (P.S. I'm starting a review team for my books, if you would like to be part of the team please contact me and let's talk.) Book Synopsis: Growing up in Nagoran Village kept Anyia safe from Empress Zarina, Thor Warriors, and the stolen magic they used. But, being safe also meant she was kept from the outside world. Locked in a tradition that she saw no value in, she was determined to follow her dream of becoming a warrior. To do this, she will disregard the Chief's orders, her father, and venture into the forest to find Amoonda, the only female ever named a warrior. Crossing the border, she will leave the safety of the magic treaty into a place patrolled by Thor Warriors, and her actions will threaten the one thing that protects them all. Anyia, Dream of a Warrior is the beginning of an epic story of a feisty and determined young girl's journey to follow her dreams. She will encounter magic, a Sif, and Thor Warriors. It explores themes of community and determination and is sure to become a favorite in any beginning library. It's perfect for readers ages 8 to 12.

Anyia, It Begins": An Epic Fantasy Adventure of Magic, Identity, and Trust for Ages 8-12

Anyia, It Begins": An Epic Fantasy Adventure of Magic, Identity, and Trust for Ages 8-12

I released Anyia, Dream of a Warrior in 2010 and reissued it with a new cover in 2017. In 2020 I released the first short comic story, Anyia, Warrior's Challenge but Anyia, It Begins is the story I've been looking forward to releasing for many years. I'm happy to say it's finally here. Book Synopsis: For over 14 years, Nagoan Village had been safe from Empress Zarina and her Thor Warriors. The magic treaty, although frail, had been maintained. To help maintain that treaty, Anyia’s father, the Chief, kept magic out of the village to protect them. Anyia grew up not knowing she had magic, but an earlier meeting with Amoonda changed that. With her magic awoken, she was now able to charge her battle stick, a­nd her Kail training was more intense than ever. But it all might have been for nothing. Thor Warriors captured her mother and took her to Thor City to Empress Zarina to break the magic treaty. To get her back, Anyia must go into the heart of Thor City, the place of stolen magic, and face her enemies. The cost will be high, and if she wants to succeed, she will have to give up her identity, trust a stranger, and rely on new friends. Anyia, It Begins is the second book in an epic story of a young girl’s journey to follow her dreams. This book explores identity and trust themes and is an excellent addition to any fantasy reader’s collection. It’s perfect for readers ages 8 to 12.
Pre-order Now: WorldsToDiscover.com Buy on Kindle: Amazon.com

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