LaTashia M. Perry: Empowering Young Minds One Book at a Time | The GOODS

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Q&A | Catching Up with Children's Author, LaTashia M. Perry

Flint, Michigan native LaTashia M. Perry has been adding to the culture of her hometown and beyond since the release of her debut children's book "Hair Like Mine" in 2015. As a mother of five, the accomplished author/entrepreneur understands the importance of positive influence and proper representation which is the main theme of her company, Kids Like Mine

All of the products under the company's brand are geared towards teaching young African-American children to love and respect themselves, and accept unique attributes like their hair, skin complexions, imaginations and dreams. With that in mind, it's no surprise that LaTashia's books found their way onto the shelves of Barnes & Noble and Target. 

In addition to books, she also added other empowering items to the Kids Like Mine brand, including shirts, bags, puzzles, greeting cards, party decor and a collection of African-American dolls which are all sold exclusively on her website.

We got a chance to catch up with LaTashia to learn about her creative process, the inspiration behind Kids Like Mine, the unexpected success of her books, and advice to aspiring writers with a mission to make a difference like herself. 


The GOODS: So when did you start writing? 

LaTashia M. Perry: "I started writing when I was really young, like 7 or 8 years-old. I started out writing poems and then moved into short stories. I had quite the imagination (lol). I kept all of my writings in a Trapper Keeper (throwback, right?!). As I got older and life happened, I kind of forgot about my love for writing and pushed it to the back burner."

TG: Who are some of your favorite authors and why?

LMP: "My all time favorite author is Shel Silverstein. I have read Where The Sidewalk Ends so many times! I love other works of his as well but this is definitely my favorite! Looking back, I honestly believe his writings are what sparked interest in writing for me. I love his writing style, it’s “rhyme-ie” but not cheesy. He also has this ability to draw his readers completely in!"


TG: What inspired you to establish your company, Kids Like Mine?

LMP: "My inspiration to start Kids Like Mine came from my children, mostly my daughters. When my boys were little, I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t really think about self-esteem or body image until I had my girls. I now realize that both boys and girls struggle with self-image and it’s so important for them to see themselves represented in a positive way. It’s important for them to love who they are. 

When my daughter was 4 years-old, she was teased about her natural hair in an all-white ballet class. That’s when I wrote Hair Like Mine. From there, each time we would go to the store, if they asked for a puzzle or shirt or doll and we couldn’t find one with black children on it, I would go home and research how to create it. I figured if my girls were asking for this stuff with characters on it that they could relate to, I’m sure “Kids Like Mine®️” all over were experiencing the same feelings."

TG: You have so many amazing products within the "Like Mine" brand like books, dolls,  greeting cards and puzzles. What is the process like when you come up with the idea for a product and create it?

LMP: "So again, most of my ideas come from my daughters. If they ask me to create something, I immediately research how to do so. When I come up with different ideas, I always run them by husband and all of our children first. I figure if they love it, everyone else will too. I always ask for complete honesty and believe me, they are very vocal and honest about what they love and what they don’t."


TG: The "Like Mine' books have recently started selling in Target stores. Did you foresee the success of the series or did it take you by surprise?

LMP: "Yes,Target! It’s still crazy to even hear those words come out of my mouth. My books are available at one of my favorite places on earth! They’re also available at Barnes & Noble stores as well as online at Walmart. I started out with a mission to empower my daughters and little girls with hair like hers. Turns out the universe had a much bigger mission for me that would completely blow my mind! 

I’m still in shock every time I’m tagged by a new customer with my books on social media. I still get the same flutter in my stomach that I got with my first sale when people buy from me today! My books are now sold all over the world. They carry them inside stores in Paris, California, Washington and many other places. I’m forever grateful for the love and support that I’ve been shown."

TG: Will there be more installments in the "Like Mine" series down the road?

LMP: "We have so much more in store for the Kids Like Mine brand. More books, more dolls and many other things. Our current and biggest project is our Mobile Book Boutique. I’m so excited to get it on the road. Once it’s completely renovated, we’re going out on the road to have story time, crafts, and people can actually get on the truck to look around and purchase all of our products as well as products from other black children artists."


TG: What advice would you give to an aspiring writer who's looking to make a difference in their community like yourself?

LMP: "The best advice I can give is to be open! Be open to the impact that your gifts have the ability to make. Don’t limit yourself! When I first started, I assumed that I was writing solely for black children. Turns out I was writing for all types of children all over the world. I’ve had white moms, Asian moms and others tell me how reading my books made a difference for their children."

TG: Any shout outs?


LMP: "My hubby is always my very first shoutout! He is my number one fan and I couldn’t move the way I do without him. And of course our 5 babies. Well, they’re 17, 15, 9, 6 and 3 but they are all still my babies! Shanise Ollie, owner of Belle Rebel Boutique, this woman has helped me with so much. From helping me set up my website when I first started to helping me find ways to get funding and just being there as a friend when I needed to vent about entrepreneurial life.

I also want to give a special shoutout to James and Adrian from Flint Soup. I’m forever grateful for the support and love they show me. They have hearts of gold and truly care about the entrepreneurs in Flint.

And last, a huge shoutout to the city of Flint! The love I have for my city is endless. We are some of the most talented and resilient people ever. I’m grateful to have been born and raised here and to now grow a business here!"

 

Stay up to date with LaTashia M. Perry by visiting her website: www.4kidslikemine.com

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