Friday, August 23, 2019

Dawn McLaughlin from Positively Publishing Kids

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Today we are interviewing Dawn McLaughlin about Positively Publishing Kids, a multicultural book publisher. 

PPK is a multicultural book publisher. We work with kids to create books. We write and they illustrate our stories. Our goal is to provide kids with financial opportunities through book sales and to help close the diversity gap in children's literature.

What inspired you to start a publishing company for kids who have a story to share?
Actually we have the stories, we look for kids to work with, creating illustrations for us. A few years ago, after over 20 years of trying to get my stories published I decided that I needed to find another way to make it happen.  At the time I was working in Newark, NJ at Big Brothers Big Sisters and had met so many amazing children and realized that there was no lack of talent or creativity, just outlets and opportunities. So I decided to create a publishing company working with kids to get our stories out there. Creating both creative and financial for kids, while helping to close the diversity gap.

You have a unique process for getting the author’s story out there. Tell us about the process of publishing a book, from the initial idea to the published book.
The story is given to the student. It is broken down in pages. The student then creates the illustration for each page. They are given creative freedom. It does take some time, going over the illustrations and tweaking them. From there the book goes to a graphic designer to get designed and then off to print.

Why do you think it is so important for kids to be able to express themselves creatively?
I believe kids have a lot to teach us, but I also believe that as humans we are meant to create. I think today children have limited opportunities to be creative and it is important that they have this as an outlet.

Publishing multicultural kids books is a big part of your publishing company. What made you decide to make diversity a cornerstone of the books you publish?
There is a big issue in children's literature when it comes to diversity. Even though the statistics have changed for the better the last few years, it is still not good. Only 1% of kids books have Native American representation, 5% Hispanic, 7% Asian Pacific, 10% African American, 27% animals and 50% white. I don't think that is an accurate view of the world. A lot of kids aren't seeing themselves in books. Why would they want to read or think books are for them if they can't see themselves? I also think that we shortchange the 50% that are represented because they are not given a fair view of the world. We are doing all of our children a disservice.

Tell us a bit about one of your latest book, “Who do you think I am?”
This is our first book, we are currently working on our second title. However, “Who do you think I am?” is about possibilities. Your child can be anything they want to be. It was illustrated by Hannah Rowe, who was a teenager at the time.
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For someone looking to buy one of the books, how do they go about purchasing a copy?
Right now they can head to our website, positivelypublishingkids.org.

Are you still accepting submissions for new work? How does a young author or illustrator submit his or her work?
Yes! We are looking for stories and artwork. Students can email us their work at dawnolson@positivelypublishingkids.org.

What are your goals for POSITIVELY PUBLISHING KIDS for the next ten years?
We would like to become a successful independent book publisher, creating diverse literature, guiding our illustrators and authors to success, financially and professionally.

How have your readers responded to the books so far?
So far, everyone that has purchased the book has really been happy with it. It is a really positive and uplifting book. You can check out some of the reviews on our website

What is the most challenging part of running POSITIVELY PUBLISHING KIDS?
Getting our name out there so that people can see what we are doing!

More Information
Check out the Positively Publishing website. 
Follow Positively Publishing on Facebook. 
Visit Positively Publishing on Instagram. 
Connect with Positively Publishing on Twitter. 

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