Mom & Author Denene Millner Is Making Sure All Children Can Find a Hero in a Book

As a book-loving mama, I’m always on a quest to find awesome children’s books. As a mother of biracial kids, I’m thrilled on the rare occasions I can find books that feature children who look like mine, telling stories about everyday life. So, when I first heard about Denene Millner’s new children’s book line that will focus on African-American authors and feature both fiction and nonfiction selections, I knew I needed to learn more about this inspiring mom.

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Millner, the mother of two teen girls and stepmother to a grown son, is an author and journalist. She’s written over 20 books, including the New York Times best seller Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man with coauthor Steve Harvey, and she's the creative force behind the ultra-popular My Brown Baby blog. Her blog, which she started in 2008, began as a place for African-American moms to connect on parenting topics but has grown to be a one-stop place for pop culture commentary, amazing recipes, hair care tips, and thought-provoking conversations.

As if she hasn’t already accomplished enough, Millner is looking at shaking up the publishing world when her new imprint Denene Millner Books, in partnership with Agate Publishing, starts sharing African-American stories. On her blog, Millner describes her new book line as “a love letter to children of color who deserve to see their beauty and humanity in the most remarkable form of entertainment on the planet: books.”

Millner’s passion for creating books to celebrate children of color stems from her own experience of growing up as an avid reader and her later realization that children who looked like her were never seen in the pages of the books she loved. Watching my daughter fall in love with books where the characters have her curly hair leads me to totally agree with Millner about the importance of representation in everything from board books to young adult novels.

But Denene's new book line isn't just for the benefit of families like mine. As she notes in a blog post about why she buys books featuring black children as gifts for her daughter's white friends, there is real value in using "sweet, insightful, beautifully human stories" to show both difference and commonalities among different types of families and communities. In an age where there can be so much discord and angry rhetoric around race, books can be a wonderful way to gently introduce readers of all backgrounds to another race in a "positive, thoughtful way."

The first book in the line, scheduled to be released in 2017, is called Every Sunday Morning and is written by Millner herself.

How gorgeous and joyful does that look? I’m putting Millner’s book on my short list of go-to birthday gifts for 2017 for children of all colors. Hats off to Denene for being a driving force to bring more diversity to bookshelves around the country.

 

Image via mybrownbaby.com

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