Guest post by Sailaja Joshi, CEO and founder of Mango and Marigold Press
Did I just wake up to the best year of my life?
Because folks, I’m going to share with you a secret that I’ve been keeping to myself for almost seven days.
Last week, I had a dream. I was strolling through a garden full of Mango trees. The mangoes were ripe and yellow and ready to eat. There was a stream of freshwater near the hills. The pathway leading uphill was graced with fields of Marigold and sunflowers.
It was serene and majestic. And there I saw my daughter. In her hands was a big thaali full of yellow, purple, blue, red, orange and green holi colors. She was mixing all of these colors together. Creating a beautiful blend of diversity just like I taught her…
I know exactly why I had that dream. It’s because it’s our fifth year in and I still cannot wrap my head around the idea that we’ve successfully launched fourteen books, featured seven authors, and initiated one amazing campaign!
I’m talking about the #1001DiverseBooks campaign of course!
Our initiative was not only to bridge the diversity gap in children’s literature, but also the accessibility gap! We know how hard it is for children, educators, and nonprofits to access high-quality diverse literature. We’ve heard concerns first hand from parents and teachers that their children did not have enough multicultural books.
That is when my team and I committed to raising funds to donate 1001 diverse books to literacy and advocacy nonprofits across the country with each book launch. This became a BIG movement and it’s pretty incredible how we always managed to reach our goals within a matter of days. It showed how keenly people take part in distributing high-quality diverse books.
With our expansion of Mango and Marigold Press (MMP), we plan to take our vision even further. The evolution of MMP was solely based on our mission to create more diverse books for middle grade and young adults. We also wanted to incorporate sweet and savory stories from all over South Asia, beyond Indian borders.
You know, it’s an unforgettable feeling when a child giggles upon seeing a character like him/her on the cover of a storybook. Their mind immediately stimulates positivity that they too can be heroes.
Our latest book Bindiya In India is all set to launch. This story will explore the colorful festivities of India. So many Indian children, living abroad will be able to connect with it. In the same way, our last book Finding Om which was a multicultural, a multigenerational story made its way into the hearts of thousands of children.
Through our stories, we share the message of peace, abundance, prosperity, and celebrating diversity. We aim to bring more diverse books into libraries, schools, and your own personal bookshelves this year. Our children need to learn these positive messages now more than ever. They’re smarter. They’re curious. And they’re seeking answers. So, let’s make sure we make ample diverse literature available for them to study and learn from.
It’s not a privilege. Your child deserves to see lookalike characters as heroes on storybook covers.
Because every child is a hero!
Sailaja Joshi is the CEO and founder of Mango and Marigold Press (formerly Bharat Babies), an award-winning independent publishing house that shares the sweet and savory experiences of the South Asian experience. With the impending birth of her oldest child, founder Sailaja Joshi searched for books about her Indian culture. Upon reading the few stories that existed, Sailaja realized that many of them were inappropriate or worse, insensitive. Sailaja knew the power of representation and set out to change home libraries. When you buy a Mango and Marigold Press book you ensure that every child sees themselves as the hero of their story. When children see themselves in the ordinary and extraordinary, they realize that anything is possible.