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Who Do I Want to Be?
By Christine Sabathia
Published September 6, 2007

For all young girls who dream of what they one day can be, there’s a new book available of inspiring Black women from A to Z. Maria Robinson Glover has written and illustrated “Who Do I Want To Be?” for youngsters to see a diverse collection of what Black women are doing these days. Using seven different characters, Glover explores a variety of women from A-Z and the ways in which they are making their mark in the world.

As a mother of two girls ages three and six, Glover says she is always looking for clothing with fun characters on them. While many exist, she has had difficulty finding outfits that feature exciting, Black girls that reflect who her daughters are. So, she decided to create her own.

Glover, who is of mixed-race being half Black and half Filipino, created a lifestyle line she calls Hey Pookie that includes seven female characters who represent a diverse spectrum of young, Black girls. Pookie, the main character, and her six friends make their debut in Glover’s first children’s book “Who Do I Want To Be?” where each imagines herself in the shoes of a contemporary Black woman.

She based her characters on Black females she has encountered throughout her life and then researched contemporary Black women that her characters can imagine themselves as.

“Each of the seven characters reflect unique things I saw growing up in Black women of mixed race,” Glover says. “And, all of the different characters have different traits about them, things that I have found most unique in Black women that I have met throughout my life.”

Glover recalls one friend in particular who was Black and Scottish with freckles. “It was the neatest things I’d ever seen,” she comments. “So, now one of my characters is based on her.”

Glover also explains the different traits she wanted to portray in her characters. “RoRo is the activist. I wanted girls to know that if there’s something going on in their community that they’re really passionate about, they can go out there and do something about it.

“NeeNe is all into books and computers. LoLo is the tomboy who really likes to play video games and drive race cars. BooBoo is all about spreading love. And, Kiki is all about fashion and looking great.”

There’s also FiFi who is the artist, and of course Pookie who is full of life and energy.

“All of these characteristics are fun things that I think girls will be interested in,” says Glover.

Once she had her characters and their traits in place, Glover says she needed to create away to validate why the traits are important for young girls, and that’s how “Who I Want To Be” was formed.

Glover explains, “I researched quite a bit the lives of a lot of Black women who are doing things today. Each letter (A-Z) in the book represents a woman of color who is doing that thing. All of the women represented in the book are all alive today. I wanted to show little girls that these are real women really doing something and you can find them in the news doing things.”

Glover says she self-published the book under the name HotComb Press to further emphasize the work she is focusing on, which is Black women and mixed-race girls. “I asked myself, ‘what is one thing that we can all look at and think yes, I know what that’s all about,” she says. “The first thing that came to mind was the hot comb.

“I think every Black woman, every mixed-race woman, even women who aren’t Black or mixed-race but have curly hair, that is something that they’ve either had good experiences or bad experiences. Whatever the case may be, they had an experience with a hot comb.

“These images are conjured up in their minds are usually warm and things they are fond of. It was always a period of time a mother and daughter could talk and communicate with each other, share things and bond as sisters.”

HotComb Press’ first release, “Who Do I Want To Be? Contemporary Black Women From A To Z,” written and illustrated by Maria Robinson Glover, can be purchased at a price of $16.95 by calling 310-926-7095 or emailing mrobinsonglover@yahoo.com.

For further information, visit www.hotcombpress.com.

Categories: Lifestyle

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