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Meet the new face of children's books

DELIGHTED: First time author Michaela Alexander

A MOTHER from London who self-published a children’s book based on her own kids has now won the backing of a major book chain.

Michaela Alexander, 38, of Bow, East London, wrote Miles & Mia A-Z in April this year after her children asked her why there were not many books with children ‘that looked like them’.

The book won rave reviews online. Now Waterstones, who were impressed with the book, will sell it on their website.
Plans are also being discussed to distribute hard copies in Waterstones stores.

Alexander told The Voice: “I am delighted my first self-published book is included on the Waterstones website. It’s an honour to be a part of such a big institution. I’m still in discussions with Waterstones, but my goal is to have an in-store presence, so that children have a choice of diverse books.”

Miles and Mia A-Z is based on real life brother and sister Miles and Mia and has received an enthusiastic great response on social media from both parents and children in the UK and around the world.

Earlier this year, TV presenter and mother-of-one Katie Piper posted a picture of Miles & Mia A-Z on her Twitter account, praising the book for including a picture of a little girl with an Afro.

Alexander said: “It’s very satisfying for me to know that the book is being well received and enjoyed by parents and children together. When parents say that their children see themselves in the book and connect with the characters it’s a great feeling.”

Miles, 6, and Mia, 4, have been involved in the whole process including sharing their ideas on design, topics for each letter and even marketing ideas.

Their mum said: “They helped choose the outfits for their main character illustrations and enjoyed making the promotional video. Mia insisted on wearing her tutu and favourite black and white tights because she says they make her run faster!”


INSPIRATION: Miles & Mia A to Z is based on Michaela’s children, Miles, 6, and Mia, 4

Each letter in Miles & Mia A-Z, takes us on an educational journey through the alphabet.

There is emphasis on the diversity of the children’s upbringing and background, which is a fusion of Caribbean and British culture.

For example in the book, ‘A’ is Afro hair, ‘Y’ is for Yams and ‘G’ is for Guava and there are also mentions of football, sushi and education.

In recent months the issue of diversity has hit the headlines with celebrities such as Idris Elba calling for better representation on TV and films.

However Alexander believes there also needs to be better representation in children’s books.

She said: “There are some diverse books, but not enough compared to the demographics of the country. All children need to see themselves widely and positively reflected in books, so it’s important to capture variety.”

According to their mother, the children love the fact that a book has been made about them and they have found it difficult to put it down since it arrived.


DEBUT BOOK: Miles & Mia

She said: “Seeing the delight and pride in Miles and Mia’s faces when they saw their book for the first time was amazing. Reading time has definitely become more fun in our house! My initial goal was to create a book they love and I am so happy I was able to do that.”

Ilustrator Sarah Croker created the images in the book after being given a detailed brief by Alexander.

The author revealed she had learnt a lot during the self-publishing process.

With her experience, she has some advice for aspiring authors.

She said: “Stay true to your vision and don’t give up. Do your research and be patient and remember if you really want to do something, anything is possible.”

Alexander is now planning to create a series of Miles & Mia books.

Miles & Mia A to Z can be purchased online via www.milesandmia.com or at www.waterstones.com. Follow Miles & Mia on Facebook, Instragram, and Twitter@MilesandMia

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