Photo Credit: Aya & Pete
Mother-Daughter Duo Launches Travel Book At Nordstrom Highlighting Black Characters
When Serena Minott started traveling with her daughter five years ago, her goal was to make sure that her child could see the world and experience cultures different than her own.
Minott and her daughter, Asha Gore, have traveled and lived in more than 25 countries together. They are now sharing their experiences in a new line of children’s picture books, called The Amazing Adventures of Aya & Pete, available at Nordstrom.com.
Minott said she was inspired to create a line of children’s books after realizing there wasn’t anything on the market that her daughter could read that would help spark her interest in the places they were planning to visit.
“I thought, if I’m looking for these books, and there were certainly none featuring characters that looked like Asha, there must be other families out there in the same position,” she said.
So Minott, who is an attorney and entrepreneur, got to work. With Asha’s help, the two created stories that feature maps, facts, and useful details about different cities, such as geography, language, currency, landmarks, and foods.
The line of books features a girl named Aya and her stuffed sloth, Pete, who narrates the city from a child’s perspective.
Their debut book collection, titled The Amazing Adventures of Aya & Pete, highlights three well-known cities – New York, London, and Paris, where the authors have lived.
“The Eiffel Tower is one of my favorite places to visit!” said Gore, now age seven.
Building Their Own Publishing House
After finding an illustrator who understood their vision for their series, Minott created a publishing company to manufacture and distribute their books.
“We never shopped our books around to traditional publishers. It was really important that we maintained ownership of our stories,” Minott added. “A lot of people may not get this reference, but we want to be the ‘No Limit’ of children’s publishing – 100% independently owned and vertically integrated.”
Their publishing house is called Ashima, which means limitless and without boundaries.
“We really wanted to create beautiful, art style books that reflect the beauty and diversity of the world we live in, as well as inspire children to learn and be curious about that world,” said Minott. “We need books about history, overcoming differences, and accepting our physical attributes, but also books about travel, adventure, and all the everyday things that fascinate children.”