A Message from Keisha Aimiuwu Ehigie:
With all that’s going on, I thought now would be a good time to speak about my project Imagine Me Stories, a monthly children’s subscription box featuring books with black main characters and fun African/black history activities.
Before I had my little girl, I admit I had never given much thought to diversity in children’s books. I knew there weren’t many books that reflected my reality but it wasn’t really an issue for me, that is until I became a mother.
My little girl would make off-hand statements like ‘I want to be ‘pink’”, or “I want my hair to be ‘down’. She was barely three at the time. We were playing a game on our tablet once and she needed to choose an avatar. She insisted on choosing an avatar of a white girl with long hair, when I asked why, she said “because she is beautiful mummy”. She got quite upset when I tried to change it to a black avatar. It broke my heart. I realised even at such a young age she was internalising all she was seeing in the media.
Everything in children’s media from books, to dolls and toys, to cartoons and fairytales, to superheroes, even to birthday cards represented a reality that was very different from hers. She was only presented with one version of beauty and goodness and naturally she wanted to fit into that.
I felt that I had to do something affirmative to help her and other black children see that beauty has many faces and their reality is also beautiful, despite what society is indirectly telling them.
In addition to monthly boxes we also work with UK schools to diversify their libraries as ALL children should be reading diverse books.