We had the good fortune of connecting with Jacqueline Sanders-Blackamn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jacqueline, we’d love to hear about a book that’s had an impact on you.
Initially, when I created Expresso Kids /STEAM Makers Publishing, my intention was to create a series of children’s books focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEM) topics with the leading characters being kids of color. The primary goal was for children of color to see images that represented their potential and to inspire them. However, the overall vision is much bigger than that, I believe books that contain children of color should be read by ALL children. The people who are marginalized cannot be the only ones who can see a future where diversity is the new norm. Today, the mission of Expresso Kids Friends and Family series of books is to “leverage the common need for people to learn STE(A)M and at the same time tap into the common good of people to embrace diversity, equality, inclusion and belonging. We want to make STEAM and Diversity a universal, cultural aptitude and not just used as buzzwords.
What should our readers know about your business?
The Expresso Kids Series of books features Smart Sarah and Perceptive Preston Junior (PJ) and their friends and family. Sarah and Preston. Just like the characters in my real life story, the main characters brown (African-American) like I am. The intention of my work is to help inspire and expose kids by letting them see kids as well as adult doing things that they might not see in their immediate community. I feel like my parents exposed my sister and I to the trends of the future while we were young and that lead us to being outgoing, open and agile minded. For me, that lead me down the path to major in Information Technology and Math! Early on my Sister’s interest was in Biology. This was long before people started calling it STEM and African American role models weren’t mentioned in any of the library books. The Expresso Kids series centers around the supportive parents and the extended family as well as friends from different backgrounds but who all share a common interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math! For the last 18 months, I’ve been on a book signing tour, traveling 8 out of 12. I adored the interaction with kids and family at live events. But that abruptly came to an end in March of this year. I’ve had challenges along the way but like everyone else I could not have predicted how COVID would rewrite my business plan but I have to say it’s just pushed me to research, discover and try things I didn’t even knew existed. One examples is that instead of people being able to come to an event, flip through the books in person, I found a way for people to virtual browse through the book through an online virtual Expresso Library! I have a renewed appreciation for the United States Postal System, getting shipping supplies delivered to my home, printing my own postage and scheduling USPS to pick up the packages when their ready to ship. My revised strategic plan is to get our books into home libraries whether its virtually or via a box of books delivered especially to families in need. So the one thing I would say, that the business plan may change overtime but the mission and my passion to help people find their “STEAM” is the constant and my ultimate reward is knowing the people who have benefited from my efforts and ventures along the way.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
So, my best friend is in town for a week and I’m showing them around the city. Well they would get my version of “Taste of Atlanta”. which would include Sublime Donuts, Atlanta Breakfast Club, Cami Cakes, Daddy D’z BBQ Joynt, Nancy’s Chicago Pizza, Old Lady Gang, Paschal’s, Soul Vegetarian, Sweet Auburn Seafood. In between our food stops, we would do some shopping including Ronni McBride’s Ooh La La Boutique, Pressed at Phipps, God is Dope, ESW Shoes and I can’t leave out Fox’s on Roswell. We would then dress up for an evening out at one of our Jazz spots: St. James Live, Cafe Cira, Suite Lounge or Kat’s Cafe, Venkman’s and Velvet Note.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
David W. Blackman, Dawn Majors, Jason L. Harper, Natalie Rickman, Sarah J. Sanders, Preston Sanders Jr.
Other: Online Store: ExpressoKids.com Online Virtual Library: books.expressosteammakers.com/bookcase/fnclk
Only the head shot is https://www.kimazingphotos.com/