Hi there! We are the co-founders of Stories of a Colorful World (SOCW), Kanika Mobley and Vanessa Mitchell. When we’re not finding new places around the world to visit, Kanika’s probably finding new ways to annoy her teen son and Vanessa’s trying to keep up with her active niece and nephew.
We are two long-time Spelman College (Abby Hall!!!) friends, brought together through our love of fun, family, travel, and service. We are passionate about ensuring that children embrace their authenticity as well as helping others thrive.
We decided to focus on children’s books featuring characters of color because reading and having a healthy self-image are fundamentals for future success. As children grow, representation and self-love are critically important! There is a clear disparity in the number of high-quality children’s books that feature Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) as main characters. Seventy-seven percent of children’s books feature White or animal characters, while only 23% represent African American, Asian, Latinx, and First Nation people. As people of color embrace the diverse images and stories that are now being increasingly displayed on the big screen with movies like Black Panther, Get Out, and A Wrinkle in Time, we also must do what we can to promote diversity in other forms of media. We also want to help parents find high-quality books from well-known, and lesser-known authors to build their child’s library.
Kanika and Vanessa
Our mission is to increase access to children’s books that show diverse representations of characters of color, highlight the voices of #ownvoice authors, and instill a love of reading in our young people that will help them grow into life-long learners. We aim to put more diverse books into the hands of young readers while also making high-quality texts more accessible to parents that want to provide their children with a reading life that resembles the world around them.
The initial idea for SOCW was sparked after a trip to Panama in 2018. The trip was a blend of leisure and service. The time we spent volunteering for several service projects at local children’s programs left a lasting impression on us. We found value in having a cultural exchange, where we gave as much as we received from experiencing someone else’s culture and community. We decided that service would be an important aspect of our business model. With Kanika’s education background and Vanessa’s love of travel and culture, we are committed to founding a nonprofit affiliate, Reflections of a Colorful World. Through that foundation, we will provide books featuring Black children to under-served communities in the U.S. and abroad.
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Thank You for Your Support!