Deanna couldn’t find enough books for kids of she wrote her own!
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Deanna couldn’t find enough books for kids of she wrote her own!

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Image: Deanna Singh's sons sitting side by side. Zion (left) and Zephaniah inspired Deanna to writer her own children's books.

February 10, 2020

Written by Meghan Parsche, volunteer blogger for United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

Deanna Singh’s journey to becoming an author began as a letter to her multiracial sons, filled with positive messages to encourage and empower them in a world full of negative images of Black and Brown boys. When she searched for books to help reinforce her message, she was disappointed to come up empty-handed. That’s when “I am a Boy of Color” was born.

Deanna is the founder and chief change agent of Flying Elephant and the author of three books: “I am a Boy of Color,” “I am a Girl of Color,” and “Cloth Crown.” Deanna’s mother is African-American and her father is Sikh. Her husband, Justin Ponder, is African-American and German-American.

Deanna’s sons Zephaniah (12) and Zion (8) will be reading “I am a Boy of Color” during a free virtual event with United Way on Thursday, February 11 at 7:00 p.m. For older children, Deanna will also talk about the writing and publishing process. The session will conclude with a surprise announcement.

In her search for positive books that represented children of color, Deanna was disappointed to learn that according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), in 2015, white children were shown in 73.3 percent of children’s published, while only 7.6 percent pictured were African-American children. By becoming an author and starting conversations about creating other opportunities, Deanna and her family hope to change the narrative.

“I am a Boy of Color” was written to help counter the negative images of Black and Brown boys that are common in the media, and replace them with positive affirmations that show boys of color that their parents and communities see them as beautiful, good, and full of potential.

“The letters I originally wrote to my sons basically said, ‘This may not be how the world perceives you, but you are all of these things and more,’” explains Deanna. “I’m proud that my sons are now helping me spread this important message to other children.”

Register today to join Deanna and her family for this timely virtual event.

Anyone interested in purchasing Deanna’s books can visit the Story to Tell Books website. As Co-Chairmen of Story to Tell Books, Zephaniah and Zion have chosen to redistribute proceeds from the book sales to other organizations that foster positive images and opportunities for children of color.

Meghan Marsden Parsche is a proud United Way supporter, stay at home mom to her four young children, and volunteer writer for United Way. Meghan enjoys telling the stories of the programs and people making a positive impact on our community.


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