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Meet Shanterria Jackson and Phoenix Harden of Phoenix is Rising Book Series in Pearland

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shanterria Jackson and Phoenix Harden.

Shanterria and Phoenix, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
To be quite honest, one could say that our author journey started in 2015, when Phoenix was just one year old. As a single parent, teaching students of various cultural backgrounds full time and raising a multicultural child (Half African-American/Half Ethiopian), I spent numerous hours researching multicultural books to read to Phoenix which could highlight the significance of both heritages while teaching her about the culture that she was not being raised around. What I would find over the course of the next five years, was that no one was writing the stories that highlighted what it is like for parents, as well, as the children of these mixed cultures. I found myself having to research the traditional clothing, language, food, and history on my own in order to pass the information on to her.

Now, that Phoenix is six years old, being raised in a two-parent African-American household, and attending a traditional K-12 school, she has a plethora of questions surrounding her background. Around December of 2019, it was like God kept saying there are people who could benefit from our story and creativity. So, we decided it would be really cool for us to create an entire fictional book series surrounding Phoenix’s adventures while she learns more about who she is in order to build a significant level of cultural pride and confidence. I sat down and wrote our first manuscript by hand with actual input from Phoenix, which I sent out to a few trusted individuals. We received great feedback and even a referral to a publishing company which has led us to where we are now.

Has it been a smooth road?
Whew! Smooth Road?! Of course not. I remember at the beginning of this project, I was determined to self-publish, however, I ran into illustrators that had very unethical business practices.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
It has been a passion of ours to engage and educate families on the adventures of raising and being a multicultural child. As a parent, Shanterria Jackson, has strived to ensure that Phoenix is able to not only love, but fully embrace the cultures which make her whole. As the daughter of an African-American mother and Ethiopian father, Phoenix enjoys culturally inclusive activities, however has a plethora of questions while embarking a world that involves two unique cultures amongst others. These factors are the reason we have written and cultivated the Phoenix is Rising Book Series: to engage, educate, inspire, and create dialogue surrounding the inclusion of multicultural families. In our current role as Authors, we are excited about the fact that we get to experience this entire journey together in real time as a mother-daughter team, which we feel sets us apart from the usual children’s book authors.

As we near our Book Launch, we are looking forward to the release of our first title in the book series which is titled “The Great Habesha Kemis” along with continuing to push our platform into various schools and communities in order to foster a true educational love for multicultural diversity and inclusion.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Yes, with social media and other outlets Houston is a great place to be an Author. I especially feel being a Multicultural Children’s Book Author is great for the growing Houston area, as there is not only a large multicultural population but the times we are living in call for more inclusion, as well as, a deeper understanding of various heritages.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
CHB Photography

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