There are a lot of children’s books. The market is kind of flooded with them so sometimes it is difficult to navigate the many many outlets to find something that will fit your child…or you because children’s books are just damn good sometimes!
This is doubly difficult for parents of color with children of color. To find a book that motivates them, represents them, urges them to find a space specific to their needs, wants and reality, and to find a book that markets them as a valuable entity is hard. It just is.
So whenever I get a chance to experience, or I am exposed to a children’s book that does just that, I am instantly excited.
That is how I met Michael Roberson, photographer, vlogger, film editor and published author of the book “The Legacy of Kenzo”.
Now, the wonderful thing about Mike and his book, “The Legend of Kenzo” is that although the protagonist is a young black male, and the story is centering his life as well as and friends and family who look like him, this book is something that children of all backgrounds and colors can get into. The story is wide-reaching, relatable and simply just dope!
Here, I’ll let Mike tell you in his own words.
So, tell us a little about the book and Kenzo. Who it targeted towards and who you hope buys it?
The book is targeted towards children who are between the ages of 5-12.
What was your inspiration behind The Legacy of Kenzo?
The inspiration to write a children’s book started after working with children for 15 years. I always had a connection with them, I understand them and they understand me. I want to give back to my community in Alexandria,VA, and show children that they can be anything that they desire to be. The only limitation is the one that they create for themselves. Another inspiration to write The Legacy Of Kenzo is the film director, Zack Synder. His visuals are amazing, and they inspired me to create a children’s book similar to his films.
How long have you been writing?
I haven’t been writing for a long time, however I have composition books that are filled up with notes, letters, and quotes. Writing helps me to release my thoughts. I have never thought about writing a story, until I had a dream one night, and woke up writing everything I remember; and the dream turned into a dope story.
How long it take you from start to finish? Conceptualizing it, plotting it out, editing, post production.
The entire process took a year to complete from start to finish. The hardest part was finding an illustrator that could share the same vision that I had for Kenzo. On the sixth illustration that the first illustrator had created, I decided to make a change. The illustrations were okay, but they look too dark, and it is a children’s story, the pictures should be bright and colorful. We could not agree on the changes and things fell apart. Kenzo was originally a panther, but the second illustrator accidentally drew him as a boy, and it is the best mistake ever! And that illustrator did not work out as well. I did not give up, and continued to search for an illustrator that can create Kenzo. Finally, I found the illustrator of the Legacy of Kenzo, Dorian Cottereau. With Dorian, he drew Kenzo and the other characters the way I visually imagined them to be. It was a great experience working with him. After the book was finished, I tried to contact him to start Book II, but he was nowhere to be found. ‘Till this day I still do not know where he is?
Who inspires you and your craft?
The film directors, Zack Sydner and Christopher Nolan; and music composer Hans Zimmer. Hans Zimmer is one of the greatest musical score composers of this time, I love the sound that be brings to his characters. Zimmer is the reason why I am giving all my characters their own theme music. Book II will be available in audio, which will allow everyone to listen to each character’s theme music
Who do you wish to inspire?
I want to inspire the younger generation to continue to use their imagination to create the future that they want. It’s easier to change a child’s way of thinking rather than an adult, we could fix a lot of the world’s problems if we put more attention on children and their minds. For example, if we teach children about finances in Kindergarten through 12th grade, those children wouldn’t even come close to being in debt. I want to represent the idea that anything is possible, and the best way to do that is leading by example.
What’s Your Legacy?
You can find Mike on Youtube (Simple Mike), Instagram (@SimpleMike85), Facebook (Facebook@AuthorMichaelRoberson) and at his website www.simple-mike.com, where you can purchase the book as well as inquire about his other services!