Jenelle Dunn wrote a book called “Dear Little Brown Girl,” aiming to build little girls’ self-esteem, imagination and spirit.
Dunn said when she was little, she loved to read and describes the library as her second home, but she quickly noticed a lack of diversity among the selection of books.
"When I was growing up, I didn't really see a lot of children's books with characters that look like me,” Dunn said.
According to research released from the Cooperative Children's Book Center in 2020, only 12% of children's books in the U.S. had a primary character who was Black, even less for other minority populations.
"We definitely need books that reflect the different world that we're in,” Dunn said. “We have these different races. We have these different types of people, so we should have books that reflect that."
This experience is part of the reason why Dunn decided to write "Dear Little Brown Girl.” Dunn said the book shares a mother's life lessons and wisdom and reminds little girls that they are beautiful, smart, and worthy.
"I wanted to use that book to encourage other little girls, you know, to believe in themselves and to, you know, think that they can do anything,” Dunn said, “and just to be a positive role model to other little girls.”
Dunn is self-publishing and using a Kickstarter campaign to fund pre-orders of the book. She is less than $2,000 shy of her goal of $6,000 to be able to launch the first print run of the book. The Kickstarter campaign is “all or nothing,” meaning it will only be funded if it reaches its goal by March 17.
Dunn said she would like to see her main character Nellie and the book come to life so other little girls who look like her can find books in the library that tell them they can be anything and do anything.
"You want them to be able to be inspired by the books that they see,” Dunn said.