Kayla: A Modern Day Princess by Deedee Cummings is the beautiful series of five books based upon the life of broadway actress Kayla Pecchioni. This beautiful tale shows Black and Brown girls everywhere that princesses come in all colors and no dream is too big. We can all be leaders and change makers, authors of our own unique stories.
The Story Behind Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess
All great stories begin with great inspiration. This one is no different. Kayla Pecchioni, the author’s daughter, grew up in a family of lawyers, doctors and professors. Forging her own path, she found her greatness in the arts. She has her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from Northern Kentucky University and has spent her career breaking barriers and blazing new trails. She was the first Black and only second American to be on cast with South Korea’s Broadway show Dreamgirls. She also played Maggie Winslow, a role traditionally played by white actresses, in Chorus Line. With Broadway closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kayla is currently passing one her talents to others by teaching with The Broadway Collective. Kayla’s story of hope and determination, a little girl who never let anything come between her and her dreams.
About the Author, Deedee Cummings
Deedee Cummings is a therapist, attorney, author, and the CEO of Make A Way Media. Yet, somehow in the midst of all that she was able to write this five book series in 2021, making her the author of sixteen books total. Her diverse picture books are fun for all ages but they also promote diversity and teach valuable social emotional skills.
Her organization, Make A Way Media, was founded in 2014. The main focus of the organization is on creating diverse media, like the Kayla series, so that all young children can see themselves represented in the books they read. They also work to ensure that everyone has access to diverse books. The organization has already given away over 1,000 books to families, community centers, churches, and schools.
Why All Kids Need Modern Day Princesses
All children need to read diverse books. Black and Brown children deserve to see themselves in the stories they read and know that they too can be a hero or heroine. At the same time, all children need to see positive media representing all cultures. This helps counteract all the negative stereotypes media throws at us. Seeing all children represented in media helps all children grow in understanding and empathy.
Unfortunately, children’s media has some work to do when it comes to representation of children of color. You are eight times more likely to see an animal as the main character in a book than a person of color. In the 2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) report, only 11% of main characters were African or African American while 21% were animals and 41% were white. If we want a world where all children are given equal rights and opportunities, we have to ensure equal representation in media. Children are constantly learning about race and vales through the world around them. Diverse media teaches young children that we all matter equally. All of our stories deserve to be told.
Review of Kayla: A Modern Day Princess
This is a beautiful tale of a young girl anxiously waiting for her mom to come home and share some important news. I love the stunning images of Princess Kayla’s room. They are the perfect mixture of fairy tale and everyday life. The sweet story of the connection between mother and daughter and the power of working hard to achieve your dreams, leaves you inspired and encouraged. However, when I read the biography of the amazing women behind the stories, I was even more enthralled. Our world needs more stories about remarkable women like Kayla and I am so glad there are now five more powerful tales gracing bookshelves around the world and encouraging little girls to dream big. I am so glad that she had such a powerful role model, her mother, to guide her path. This phrase in the book perfectly sums up the magic of the book “Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess shows Black and Brown girls that they can be leaders too and that princesses come in all colors.”
They certainly do.
I am so glad that little girls can look up to Princess Kayla and strive to make their own royalty sized dreams come true.
This book was given to me as a part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day.
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2022 (1/28/22) is in its 9th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators.
MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves. Read about our Mission & History HERE.
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FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day
This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas.
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