Inclusivity has been a major talking point in 2020. While the world seems to be on pause, it's given organizations time to address some issues when it comes to equity in representation. Our dreams reflect our realities. David and Teresa Baker, a husband and wife publishing team in Kalamazoo, knows just how important this topic really is. Their mission is to publish works featuring children of color.

It all started with a book Teresa wrote herself called Josie's Bedazzled Shoesa story about a girl starting at a new school who is having trouble making friends until her talent for fashion impresses and intrigues her peers. From that one book, Brown Boy Brown Girl, LLC was born. In an article for Channel 8, Theresa said of the business, quote, "We’re not only impacting our children by having this business, but that we’re also impacting other children and other families that may look like us or may not look like us."

 

The Bakers also publish learning materials, like notebooks (which are so stinkin' cute, by the way), as well as inspirational and uplifting books on the ABCs. They know it's not enough for children of color to see themselves represented in the books they read and write in, but it's important for all children. “People of color are not a threat," Theresa told Channel 8, "so when they are no longer cute, they become 20 or 30-years-old, we don’t want society looking at our kids or children of color as a threat."

When a child can connect with the protagonist in a story, they engage more with the text and become readers; not just literate, but people who enjoy, and seek out, reading as a hobby. On the flip side, when a child is reading a story featuring a character from a completely different background, they learn compassion and empathy, to put themselves in someone else's shoes. We sure could use a lot more compassion in 2020.