Local author Joy James has just published the next book in her Black Inventors children’s book series in the 0-5 age group. She will again be holding library storytime sessions in Ealing during Black History Month later this month.
Although Joy believes her books are relevant all year around, Black History Month helps to highlight under-represented books and topics that have been marginalised until recently. She is passionate about encouraging all children to be curious and push boundaries. Her books were inspired by her own children when they were young and it was a challenge to find books about Black role models to help stretch their minds.
Her new book, Marvellous Black Inventors, features a further sixteen inventors. It includes Winston Simon who invented the ping pong steel pan which he first played at the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival and then brought it to the UK, Lanny Smoot who created many of the amazing special effects at the Disney theme parks using lights and technology and Gladys West who was only recently discovered to be the mathematician behind the work that led to the development of the Global Positioning System (GPS).
Joy’s previous books in this age group are Brilliant Black Inventors and Amazing Black Inventors.
Her series also includes books for ages 9-12 and is a great starting point for school projects and fact finding. The books are 101 Black Inventors and their Inventions and Another 101 Black Inventors and their Inventions. She is currently working on her third book in this age group.
How long does it take to write a book?
This varies! The younger age group is easier to write for, probably not surprisingly, and the words just seem to flow. The illustrations are very important here too and these take time. I work with artist Karen Dowie who likes to find out more about each inventor herself and then creates wonderful pictures around their ‘stories’. I read a lot to my children when they were young – it was something we all enjoyed and a great way to bond. The books for the older age group are very informative and involve a lot of research and continual writing and re-writing it seems. I started working on the latest one about a year ago though not full-time so I keep coming back to it with new information and editing.
What does Black History Month mean to you and what do you hope readers will get out of your books?
My books are relevant all year around but Black History Month helps to highlight an area that has been under-represented and marginalised until recently. I really want to encourage all children to be curious and push boundaries, and to find out about many Black role models to inspire them.
What next in your series of books?
The next and sixth book in the series will be A Further 101 Black Inventors and their Inventions for the older age group (9-12 years). It will be published early in 2024. I was going to stop at six books but am now thinking of adding more.
Joy will be reading Marvellous Black Inventors at Southall Library (11:00am to 12:00pm) and Northolt Library (2:00pm to 3:00pm) on Friday 27 October 2023.
The events are free to attend and can be booked at the links below: