“Unexpected” writer and publisher Mayma Raphael hopes her debut children’s book, I Love The Skin I’m In!, will help many other parents answer the questions that young children have about skin color and difference, after her own daughter’s questions inspired her to write the book.
The journey to writing the book started for Raphael, 38, when her then 3-year old daughter developed a curiosity about color and began asking questions about why her skin color was different from her friends. Raphael offered myriad explanations, but still her daughter was not satisfied, and so she decided that a children’s picture book would be the best way to explain.
Although there are children’s books about multiculturalism and books for children of color, there were none that Raphael felt truly worked for her daughter – and potentially for other young children who were expressing similar questions.
Determined that the book would be authentic and resonate with all children in a society where skin color is still an issue for many, Raphael created her own publishing company, Mom Publishing. This put Raphael in full control of the book, from creating the fun, uplifting and engaging manuscript, to finding the right illustrator and book designer, as well as a top international printer to produce the book.
The end result, I Love The Skin I’m In!, is a fully illustrated 32-page hardcover children’s picture book, which has been possible through the collaborative efforts of Raphael, book designer Rebecca Stone, an Ossining, New York native, and illustrator, Haily Cryan who hails from Connecticut and is now a Brooklyn, New York resident. I Love The Skin I’m In! is set to be published on 20th June 2012, to coincide with the 5th birthday of Raphael’s daughter.
Mayma Raphael, a stay-at-home mother whose previous work has included wealth management for a major financial services company, owner of a luxury retail store, and policy analyst, has documented her unexpected journey to children’s book author and publisher through the book’s blog.
When asked what message she wants her readers to take away from the book? Raphael commented, “I Love The Skin I’m In! explains in many ways to children that it truly doesn’t matter what the color of their skin is. What matters is that skin color is only on the outside, and children are more alike than they are different.” She further added that, “The book has been written, designed and illustrated to help make that change and create a better understanding in children at a young age that everyone is unique and should be treated with respect whatever their skin color or what they look like. I hope I Love The Skin I’m In! will also help other parents in answering their children’s natural inquisitiveness about skin color and difference.”