Diagnosed But Determined
Before I heard the words "You have chronic hemiplegic migraines" and "disability" and "you won't be able to..." I was completing a Bachelor of Sciences in Molecular Biology & Genetics and Human Kinetics. My plan was to apply to medical school or become a physiotherapist. However, in my last year, I discovered my passion for working with amputees and decided to pursue a post-graduate prosthetic/orthotic technician program. That's when everything changed. I struggled to finish my degree, my health declined and the days of being pain-free were replaced with months of laying in darkness, experiencing stroke-like symptoms and a pain I could've never imagined. I tried my hardest to live a normal life by downplaying my symptoms and fighting my body but this didn't last long. My normal had changed and I had to accept it. I had to put my health first and let go of my past dreams, I had to find a new one.
A New Dream: Big Queen Little Queen Publishing
Sometimes when you have certain family dynamics or you belong to an ethnic minority group or you are living with a disability people begin to assume you cannot do great things or they expect less from you because of your circumstances. Unfortunately, sometimes you doubt you can have a fulfilling life yourself. So Big Queen Little Queen Publishing was my chance to be more than I thought I could be.
I started Big Queen Little Queen Publishing in 2018 and I made it my mission to publish diverse and inclusive children’s books that showcased characters from underrepresented communities. I believe every child deserves to see themselves in the books they read no matter the color of their skin or medical differences. Being a Black, disabled woman I now had the perfect platform to advocate for myself and others. I could learn new skills, use my education in creative ways, raise awareness about disabilities, and celebrate diversity. Most of all, I had the chance to transcend my limitations.
This Is For The Underrepresented
According to my estimates, only 0.5 % of children's books include characters with visible disabilities and fewer than 10% for ethnic minorities (combined). We need books that celebrate diversity and differences now more than ever in bookstores, schools, daycares, our bookshelves at home, etc. Young readers will benefit from being exposed to different cultures, learning inclusive behaviors, and expanding their view of the world. Books have great power! I want to show the beauty of different cultures, the realities, and abilities of those living with disabilities and the truth that we are all the same kind of different.
Thank You For Letting Me Share
I don't know if I would have ventured into this niche if I didn't have migraines but I am so grateful for where I am and this new dream, migraines, and all. Thank you for letting me share and for the opportunity to be part of this incredible community!