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Jennings' sisters create books to represent children of color

"We never really have seen too many books that had characters that look like us," Aja Owens says.

JENNINGS, Mo. — Representing children of color: that is the mission for two sisters in Jennings.

They are doing it through the art of storytelling.

Credit: Aja Owens

"We never really have seen too many books that had characters that look like us," Aja Owens says.

That's why these two sisters decided to take matters into their own hands.

"Growing up in Jennings, that's where we kind of got that whole value system of, you know, being about the community be comfortable village mentality," Owens explains. 

Owens, a Jennings councilwoman and her sister Adrienne Draper, a Pattonville educator, have created books to represent children of color.

They have a total of five books. Two by Owens, two by Draper. The latest one was written by both of them together. 

Each novel is paired with a message.

Draper created one about the coronavirus pandemic. 

"With everything that was going on with coronavirus, I thought it was very important to tap into the social, emotional that affects their experience during this time because it happened so rapidly," Draper says. 

Owens also made one called 'Rock What You Got'.

She tells 5 On Your Side, "It just talks about how important it is to love the skin that you're in and we all have differences. We all have things that we may or may not like about ourselves."

The sisters want children to feel like they matter and to be proud of the skin that they're in.

The duo wants to make sure everyone gets a copy, especially during a time when conversations of racial justice are circulating more than ever.

"We just really think it's important to get these books in the hands of as many kids as possible," Owens adds. 

These sisters hope children of color can feel like they're on the same page and be represented.

"We're just, you know, determined to continue bringing out stories that reflect others. We try to include different things in our books where kids really see themselves in the material," Owens explains. 

Each book is $10 but they also give away free books to shelters and daycares, so there isn't a barrier when it comes to getting a copy.

If you'd like a copy of these books, you can click here.


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