Today we’d like to introduce you to Ingrid Estrada-Darley and Crystal Hawkins. Them and their team share their story with us below:
Ingrid and Crystal were born and raised in South Central LA and were childhood best friends throughout Elementary and Middle School. Despite going their separate ways in their teens, they both studied early childhood development in college and earned Masters in Social Work. Their paths converged again in adulthood and the idea for Black Girl, Brown Girl Books was born. After working in early childhood settings several years and witnessing firsthand the lack of diversity in books for children of color, Crystal and Ingrid made it their mission to make a difference. In 2019, they co-founded Black Girl, Brown Girl Books and began their journey into the world of children’s book publishing with the specific intention of expanding the representation of Black and Brown characters in early literature.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Absolutely not! However, we’ve had a great support system throughout this entire journey – including our families, friends and other colleagues that work in the field of early childhood education. The idea of writing a book that features two signature characters of color started as a passion project and we had a lot to learn to make our dream a reality. We started with a commitment that each member of our design team and any vendors that we hired would be people of color. And we are so proud of the team that we were able to pull together along the way.
Ultimately, creating BGBG Books required us to educate ourselves on starting a business, the book design and production process, creating a website to connect with customers, and getting creative with marketing on social media. We are not experts at any of this, but our passion for improving representation in children’s literature has guided us through this journey. We are lucky to have each other to lean on and learn from. We truly complement each other and have figured it out as a team.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Crystal and Ingrid are both social workers and have worked in the early childhood field for decades. Our expertise in children’s developmental well-being and a long-standing commitment to working with families that look like our own is what sets us apart. Our mission is to show Black and Brown children all over the world, and specifically in South Central LA, that they deserve to recognize themselves, their culture, and their neighborhoods when they open their favorite book. We pride ourselves in the authenticity that we bring to the work of producing bilingual and culturally relevant children’s books.
- Our first book, “Soul Sisters” is available on our website for $12.95. We are acutely aware that children’s books can be expensive and we set out to make our books affordable to families in our community. We also have BGBG Books merch on our website.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.blackgirlbrowngirlbooks.com/
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/blackgirl_browngirl/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BGBGBooks
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/Black_BrownGirl
Photos were taken by Manuel Melara (@xposure_photography) from One Stop Film Lab