Empowering children through the power of representation

changing the narrative one book at a time

Founder & OWNER & Author

Crown SHepherd

Crown Shepherd is an emerging fiction, picture book, and comic book writer. Her writing is a result of her surroundings and upbringing. She has always been deeply rooted in literature and writing, but it wasn’t until she found more writers that look like her that her writing soared. Those writers allowed her to dream and create by her own standards, and from a point of view of a black protagonist. As someone from an underrepresented community, Crown knows what it means to have representation feed your creativity. The stories she wants to share are aimed at giving a voice to the voiceless.

Meet Our Talented Authors

The Team

Every book and author featured on our site is specially curated with your child in mind. 

We work directly with most of our authors, ensuring that the funds made from their books go directly back to the authors. 

Diverse books from Independent authors. 

Dr. Artika Tyner
Dr. Artika R. Tyner Dr. Artika R. Tyner is a passionate educator, an award-winning author, a civil rights attorney, a sought-after speaker, and an advocate for justice who is committed to helping children discover their leadership potential and serve as change agents in the global community.
Carmen Maples
Born and raised in Memphis, TN, Carmen always had a love for reading. From weekly trips to the library on Saturday mornings and accelerating in reading programs in school, she always wanted to be an author one day. When Carmen became a first-time mom, she struggled to find children's books that had little girls that looked like her daughter, Chloe. This lack of diversity inspired her to write a book, "Gigi’s Little Dreamer," about Chloe and her Gigi's relationship. In the book, Carmen reflected on her childhood memories along with the ones her daughter and grandmother were making currently. Carmen hopes that "Gigi’s Little Dreamer," will allow other children to dream and enjoy.
R Preston Clark
Ronald Preston Clark is a High School Humanities teacher at Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men in Chicago. Born and raised in San Diego and a graduate of Hampton University, Clark fights for safe spaces for Black men - young and old - to improve their emotional and mental health. He spent his 20s defining masculinity for himself in the same misogynistic environment in which many of our men grow up. Flawed, transparent and accountable for his actions, Clark’s growth through his own mistakes has charged him to lead others through literacy, education and self-consciousness.
Colnese Hendon
Colnese Hendon enjoys writing memoir, short stories, and poetry. She is a fellow of the Givens Foundation for African American Literature (2009); Hurston-Wright Foundation (2014, 2015, and 2018); VONA Voices (2017); Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference (2019), and the Write of Your Life writer’s workshop in Venice, Italy (2019). Her poetry and short stories have been published in Ishmael Reed’s online Konch Magazine and the Minnesota Literacy Council’s Black Literacy Matters Anthology. Colnese’s educational background includes a BA degree in Professional Communications/Public Relations and an MA in Public and Nonprofit Administration (MPNA) from Metropolitan State University. In addition to her work as a Grants Coordinator at Isuroon, she volunteers as a Guardian ad Litem in Hennepin County’s 4th Judicial District where she advocates in court for children in the child welfare system.
Monica Habia
Monica Yaa Habia was born and raised in Ghana. She believes in the power of quality education and is committed to bridging the knowledge gap of Africa through her writings and research.
Melina Mangal
Inspiring readers to explore their world I love being outdoors! My earliest memories begin near the shores of Lake Superior, climbing trees, collecting rocks, and listening to birds. I love writing about nature and its place in young people’s lives. Stories from faraway times and places have always captured my imagination as well. I like to imagine what life was like as I walk along the river, or visit an historical site. I work as an elementary school librarian, introducing students to great books, the exciting research process, and new technology.
Javier Cruz Winnik
"A Reason to Smile!" vol.2 is the second book in the "ARtS" series, written and illustrated by Javier Cruz Winnik. He began his career creating fanart in hopes of becoming a comic artist. He did sketch cards for Upper Deck and Marvel Comics for many of their movies including Thor the Dark World, Avengers 2, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Antman! After years of learning the ropes through the comic convention circuit, he created a Kickstarter campaign for volume 1 and after gaining 137% of his campaign goal, self published his first graphic novel. After he sold his first 600 copies via comic cons or word of mouth, he campaigned again on Kickstarter for volume 2. After reaching his goal, he became the author of 2 books, the second of which is much more detailed, artistically and literary. Volume 1 has officially sold over 1,200 copies and he will continue to sell both at comic cons across the country!
Jacklyn Milton
Jacklyn Milton is a lifelong educator and community advocate. She served as a home childcare provider and an early childhood specialist for more than three decades. She is a licensed family educator who helps families create pathways to success.
Arielle Grant
Arielle Grant is a program, curriculum, and community developer. In a variety of contexts her work has consistently been to advocate and care for those marginalized by racial oppression. Informed by history and ongoing community relationships, Arielle has facilitated healthy cross-racial relationships through trainings and events. She inspires introspection, meaningful connection and racial identity progression. She is also the founder of Render Free, an organization that disrupts racial trauma by promoting the prioritization of wellness for self-identified Black and brown women.
Sheletta Brundidge
Minnesota based Sheletta Brundidge is the founder of the SHElettaMakesMeLaugh.com online podcasting platform. Sheletta is an Emmy award winning comedian, radio host, television anchor and newspaper columnist. She is the co-host and executive producer of the Two Haute Mamas podcast on Radio.com. She also hosts Laughing With Letta which you can find right here on SHElettaMakesMeLaugh.com. With her new show, Taking Authority Over Autism, Sheletta hopes to educate and inspire parents who have special needs children. Three of Sheletta’s four children have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.
Brasie Jones
This is a DREAM! I've been a fan of comic books since I was a child. If you're a comic lover like myself THIS IS THE SPOT FOR YOU! Check out my very first comic book, The Indomitable Black Assassin!
Comfort Arthur
Comfort Arthur is an award-winning, British-born Ghanaian animator, illustrator, visual artist from the Royal College of Arts, and is the founder of The Comfy Studio. Her animated film, Black Barbie, screened at more than 50 global film festivals. Comfort curated several screenings for Fupitoons, Africa's first film festival dedicated to short-form animation for kids. Currently, Comfort explores how technology and animation may help African and Afro-Caribbean men foster dialogue with clinicians and gain access to mental health treatment and resources.
Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay
Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay aka Refugenius is a Lao American writer. She was born in a refugee camp in Nongkhai, Thailand and immigrated to Minnesota in 1985. Because of her unique background, her work is focused on creating tools and spaces for the amplification of refugee voices through poetry, theater, and experimental cultural production.
Moana Mcadams
Moana means “ocean” in the Hawaiian language. The word evokes images of movement, creation, and connection. Moana McAdams stands for innovation and hustle. She is a woman who creates beautiful attire for women and girls to stay connected to her Island roots. Moana and her husband John have developed a new comic book series fueled by adventure and filled with diversity. Moana is future-focused and fully immersed in her never-ending quest to make her mark and leave a powerful legacy for future generations.
Donna Gingery
Donna was born in Selma, Alabama in the 1960s. She is a survivor because she was a premature baby and was not expected to live. Donna says her life in elementary through high school was not very pleasant. She was diagnosed with a learning disability and struggled with reading and writing. Donna’s high school counselor told her that she would never make it in college - but today Donna has a bachelor’s degree in theater, a master’s degree in educational leadership and a K-12 administration license. She credits a teacher she had, for counteracting what her high school counselor told her. This teacher told Donna that she was smart and learned differently. She told Donna to never allow anyone to tell her anything differently. Her words helped Donna become the educator she is today.
Sarah E. Warren
Sarah Warren is a teacher and a writer. She loves telling stories about real-life heroes and everyday superstars. Sarah lives in Minnesota with her husband, her son, and her dog, Bruce Valentine. Find out more on her website: sarahwbooks.com
Ciara L Hill
I have always been passionate about helping children and families, and I absolutely love being a therapist. I also always knew that I wanted to write children’s books, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it at first. After giving birth to my son Shiloh, I was diagnosed with a rare heart condition called Peripartum Cardiomyopathy (PPCM). This diagnosis shifted my thought process. Although I have always been motivated and goal-oriented, it made me want to challenge myself differently. Suddenly, everything about writing books came into perspective for me. I realized that I needed to write books that inspire not only my son Shiloh but all children. Especially black and brown boys, who are often either underrepresented or misrepresented in the media. So, I did just that.
Ty marcellus
Ty Marcellus was born and raised in southern Minnesota. From a young age, he always had a passion for the arts, especially music and books. Ty plays six instruments and has managed and booked concerts for small and big-name acts, as well as helping four recording studios/record labels and recording four albums. When he's not working on a music project or brainstorming new storylines for a comic, Ty spends his time weightlifting, watching and playing rugby, practicing one of three martial arts, and being a film buff. Always fond of reading Marvel comics, Ty began creating superheroes as a kid, but didn't lay the first building block of the Nu World Comics universe until college, where one hero would turn into a universe of thousands. Focused on diversity with characters that relate to every race, religion, sex, disability, and orientation, Ty has built a massive comic book universe that has forty years' worth of stories outlined with incredibly epic events to come.
Rosemond Sarpong-Owens
Rosemond Sarpong-Owens is the Lion's Historian. I am passionate about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and believe that Representation Matters! My goal is to ensure that children see themselves represented in books. I want to make stories of great leaders come alive for young readers.! That is why I started writing the "Heritage Collection books". These books are for young readers to enjoy. Parents and teachers, you can use my books for your family reading time or school reading time. Together we can instill a love for history and appreciation of multicultural leaders who have changed the world. My hope is that as young readers see themselves represented in books, it will unleash their unlimited potential for them to dream boldly.
Warda Mohamed Abdullahi
Warda Mohamed Abdullahi currently resides in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, with her hooyo and aabo. She recently graduated from Saint Catherine University and is taking a year off to be with her family, including her daughter Rahma Abu Bakar Ibrahim. Warda looks forward to continuing her journey towards her doctorate in medicine, her lifelong learning in Islam, and spending time with her family.
J. Darnell Johnson
Born in South Minneapolis, J. Darnell lives with his wife Yvette in Burnsville, Minnesota. He is a Bush Leadership Fellow where he was given the opportunity to travel to Ghana, West Africa, to learn about the culture. He has over thirty years of experience working in social services in the Twin Cities, primarily in the fields of Child Protective, Juvenile Justice, and Runaway and Homeless. He spent ten of those years working on Minneapolis’ north side in African American culture-specific programs as an Emergency Shelter and Group Home Program Director. Currently J. Darnell works at a foster and adoptive care agency empowering transracial adoptive, foster, and kinship parents with Black and biracial children to be proud of the skin they are in. He has a Master’s degree in Organizational Management from Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota. J. Darnell’s works include a science fiction/fantasy novella, The Opening, and speculative fiction short stories, “Sit Com” and “One to the Other,” published in 2017 by Black Science Fiction Society and Genesis book and magazine anthologies, respectively.
Van Horgen
Emigrating from Vietnam and now living the American dream, Van Horgen is a father, Founder and CEO of Superhuman advertising agency, and author of YA HERD! He’s a believer in the importance of reading to kids, and YA HERD!. is Van’s first published children’s book. Van’s writing career began at the University of Minnesota where he majored in English Literature and submitted a chapbook of poems as his senior thesis. Van’s poem, ANGELS, appeared in REVIVAL: SPOKEN WORD FROM LOLLAPALOOZA 94. In 2010, Van teamed up with designer Anne Ulku to produce the visual storytelling project, Six Word Stories Every Day.
Jean Mountain
Jean was born into a Native American family of fourteen children and raised on the northside of Minneapolis, Minnesota. She learned at an early age the struggle for a strong self-identity, from finding out she was Black to acknowledging her gender identity, to dropping out of high school. She believes it was her “street smarts” and big heart that enabled her to overcome those struggles and build a career as a home health aide. Working in the home health care field for over 36 years has put Jean in the position to start a family and become a homeowner. She believes that God and honesty will get you what you need, not always what you want. She wants everyone to know there is hope and even without traditional education you can overcome with belief in yourself. “Not all that looks bad in life is bad. Be true to yourself and be true to your children.” As a transgender mother of four young children, Jean wants to teach families, educators, and the general public how to address her respectfully. As her children are getting older, she is seeing the need to show people how to treat them with respect and dignity. She wants to raise awareness of how others’ reactions to her gender identity affects her children. Jean wants everyone to understand that transgender mothers are mothers too, and that she loves her children the same way any other parents love their children. “In the end we all love our children the same.” Van’s writing career began at the University of Minnesota where he majored in English Literature and submitted a chapbook of poems as his senior thesis. Van’s poem, ANGELS, appeared in REVIVAL: SPOKEN WORD FROM LOLLAPALOOZA 94. In 2010, Van teamed up with designer Anne Ulku to produce the visual storytelling project, Six Word Stories Every Day.
Josalyn Thomas
Josalyn Thomas was born and raised in Sout Minneapolis, she is a mother to two amazing children Ahmad and Kimora. In 2017, Josalyn opened her first family childcare business, where she found her passion for gardening and learning about agriculture which she proceeded to teach her children and students all about. Watching her students and children grow has been the most amazing and rewarding journey yet!
Teresa R Peterson
Teresa Peterson, Utuhu Cistinna Win is Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota & citizen of the Upper Sioux Community. She is also the author of Voices from Pejuhutazizi: Dakota Stories and Storytellers, published by Minnesota Historical Society Press.
​Elizabeth Albert-Peacock
​Elizabeth Albert-Peacock is a member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe. She was a faculty member in the Education Department of the University of Minnesota Duluth for many years. She has authored several children's books.
Thomas Peacock
Thomas Peacock is a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe. He has co-authored/authored books on Ojibwe history and culture, education, fiction and racism.
Robert Peter Dixon Jr.
Robert Peter Dixon Jr. is a servant leader and community advocate. He learned these key elements from growing up in New Orleans, LA, while attending St. Augustine High School — an all African American male Catholic Institution. He is committed to providing families with the key tools to reach their dreams.
Meenal Patel
Moments of childhood wonder, details in nature, and the strength of community inspire me. My art is rooted in reflections on the power of feeling seen and the journey to feel at home with all facets of ourselves. I love to mentally collect textures on leaves and petals, which I transform into graphic patterns throughout my art. Making art is a place for me to feel fully. It’s the moment when I can look inward, untangle my experiences, sometimes find joy, and then push that feeling outward in the form of making something. I hope the experiences and joy that I infuse in my art will result in connection, belonging, and delight for someone else. Outside of the studio I love reading cookbooks, painting with my nieces, baking birthday cakes, and hiking in the beautiful outdoor spaces of California with my husband and dog.
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