Jacques Turtle and the Mystery of the Mer-People
Creating Jacques Turtle
One night, my fiancé (then boyfriend) called me as he was walking home from the train and requested that I tell him a story. I immediately imagined a black ten-year-old boy who dreamed of becoming a merman after hearing his little sister sing "Under the Sea" one too many times. I named him Jacques Turtle and relayed his story to Eric, who was thoroughly amused. Pleased, I typed up the story and sent it to him, completely unaware that he would have it turned into a book many months later.
It was the best birthday gift I had ever received: a character that I imagined had come to life.
What Jacques Means to Me
Not only am I thrilled to be publishing a children's book, which has forever been a dream of mine, but I am honored to be contributing to the world of black literature. It is incredibly important that children of color see themselves represented in media--particularly in books, which have such a long history of making non-white readers feel like an 'other'. As a writer, I am doing my best to help to break down these walls so that the generations of new readers coming after mine won't have to work quite as hard to find books about characters who look like them.
I want kids who might feel confused or scared about who they are or what they're interested in to know that stepping outside of the box society calls 'normal' is okay, is encouraged.
Jacques is a boy who loves video games and mermaids, and he eventually finds the acceptance - not ridicule - that he so feared (spoiler alert?). Kids are people - with complex emotions, desires, and dreams. As a former kid, and now parent, I celebrate that.
All of that said, the book is printed and ready to be shared with the world! But before that happens, I need your financial support to help us make the selling price a reasonable one. Our Kickstarter is coming very soon - please keep checking this page!
Peek Into Jacques' World
Standing neck deep in the cool water, Jacques cleared his throat self-consciously, and then began to sing.
As he sang, he looked around him. Was it just his imagination, or were those ripples in the water? A soft breeze suddenly blew toward him, carrying with it a dark, spicy scent that filled his senses, making his voice stronger and clearer.
He stopped singing, eyes wide, and listened as the faint echoes of an answering song drifted through the water, carried by an achingly beautiful chorus of voices. But where were they?
Heady with excitement, Jacques began to sing again, louder this time, and the ripples in the water grew more frequent, drawing closer, until he could almost see them: a flash of midnight hair, a glimpse of a violet fin. He whirled around in the water, paddling furiously, and then fell silent once more at the sight before him.