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When Muslim-American parents search for entertaining stories to read to their children, they can struggle to find books that are both fun and educational. But the Mother Hayes series might just solve this problem. The Mother Hayes books promote fun and adventure while also teaching significant lessons. I recently conducted an interview with the author, Tauheedah Stephens.
Why did you begin writing children’s books?
Stephens stated that she has always been a writer and that writing has been present in nearly every stage of her life, from elementary school to college. When she began teaching elementary school, she started writing books that were relevant and beneficial to the lives of children.
In the Mother Hayes books, the children featured are African-American. I asked her why this is an important feature in her books.
“My world, my nucleus, my children, my husband, we’re African American. And so, it just kinda naturally happened that way when I saw the story in my mind. When I look in the mirror I see me. And so when I looked in the book and I thought up the characters, I saw you know what my world is and my immediate world and that is everyone in my household from my husband to my three children. It just kind of happened like that.”
I asked Stephens about some of the challenges she’s faced along the way while writing the Mother Hayes books, as well as writing in general.
“It being a really long process. I started Mia Power (one of the books in the Mother Hayes series) four years ago. It’s just been a joy to write about it but it reaches that point because it needed that time to develop.”
I asked her about any specific plans that she has for the Mother Hayes series.
“Mia Power is definitely a series because I think it’s really positive and it’s a good message. It shows that you don’t necessarily need money and resources to help people. Sometimes all it takes is a really good idea… You don’t have to be an adult to help either.”
Stephens also said, “I really like writing but before I actually went through the concept of creating this publishing company with my husband, I would read or tell stories to children… So, I really like doing that. It was really fun for me. I wanted to encourage children to use their imagination and read more. So, I was like well I have all these stories so let me go ahead and publish them! I really am a big advocate for literacy, and I think that’s what sparked all of this, just promoting literacy.
“There’s something I tell my students now because I’m still a teacher. I teach third grade currently and I tell my students this all the time. I tell them reading makes you smarter! I tell them ‘reading makes you what?’ And they all say ‘SMARTER!’ Whenever they’re finished with their assignments, they’re encouraged to read. Reading makes you smarter, that’s what I tell my kids!”
You can discover the Mother Hayes series here.
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