Want the new definitive baby book? Then you MUST get 100 Diverse Voices on Parenthood. We at Oregon Kid were lucky enough to have a conversation with Jelani Memory about this new book adventure.
Jelani Memory was born and raised in Portland. Memory is a hometown hero, a father to 6 children, and the CEO and Founder of A Kids Co. Memory has said, “Growing up as a black kid in the whitest city in America, it felt important that my kids not only know and understand what racism is but be able to talk about it openly.” He started creating books to help him and his wife have meaningful conversations with their children about topics that can be hard to discuss. The mission of A Kids Co. has been to empower a generation of kids through diverse storytelling. 100 Diverse Voices on Parenthood is their first parenting book, and this is the most diverse parenting book ever written.
This is not a niche book. Parenting resources aren’t typically diverse, and this book has a rich tapestry of unique voices. This should be a resource for all parents. As you read through, you are immediately drawn to the diversity of voices. If you already have kids, this is the baby parenting book you WISHED you would have had when your kids were babies. However, there are still lessons to learn for all in this book. Memory says that different voices, backgrounds, and experiences allow us to learn even more, and he is right.
There are so many elements of the book that are relevant to all stages of parenthood. This book is organized into four main sections:
● The Big Picture: Tough topics from approaching conversations around race and gender to managing frustration and anger
● The Baby: Practical advice and potential strategies for caring for your baby
● Everyone Else: A guide to making informed decisions around community healthy boundaries
● You, Too: Prioritizing wellness as a parent to ensure you can show up in the best way for your family
The book features 100 different parent contributors representing various races, genders, socio-economic backgrounds, and experiences, each authoring their own chapter to share their personal wisdom and insight on parenthood. Featured contributors include Dr. Becky Kennedy, clinical psychologist and Instagram’s “Parenting Whisperer;” Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas; singer, dancer, and actress Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs; a founding member of the Women’s March; Emmitt Smith, former NFL player, and many more.
Each writing offers a snapshot of each author’s background, providing readers with an understanding of the authors’ lived experiences and perspectives. You can use those snapshots as a springboard to get more information on these amazing contributors later. The topics range from swaddling to moral responsibilities…this book covers it all.
One of the common themes Memory saw when putting this book together was the message to trust your gut instincts and intuition. You are more ready for this than you think, and to trust yourself. When asked what this experience taught Memory, he says that this book confirmed that he knows some stuff as a parent. He is doing all the right things as a dad. He is giving his kids a lot of time and attention, and those little things, those little moments, add up. And from there, he is going to focus on what he is doing right—what a great reminder for us all.
Memory also learned during the writing of this book that we all have a universal experience in parenting, even with our differences. Memory wants this book to be your proverbial village. To build your village in your everyday life, he says to take advantage of the offers of help from people you trust. Everyone wants to help you in the baby phase, and you shouldn’t feel bad taking them up on their offers.
It must be noted how the book is designed as well. The book has an ease of readability. It is clean and easy to grab information. This book is easy to read cover to cover, or to bounce around. The illustrations are understandable and clear. It is a wonderful resource.
Memory said collecting 100 voices wasn’t the hard part. A Kid Co. has built trust…in their books and writing, so getting people to contribute was the easiest part. The challenge was wrangling the voices. The books A Kid Co. produces for children take a day to write due to an intense workshop style of writing. This book obviously took longer and took them in unexpected directions.
The sky is the limit for A Kids Co. Their “A Kid’s Book About” book series was named one of Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2020, and their flagship podcast was listed as one of Apple’s Best of 2021. This book geared toward parenting is built with the same focus on authenticity, diversity, and inclusion and is an exciting, natural evolution for the company. We at Oregon Kid can’t wait to see what they do next. Make 100 Diverse Voices on Parenthood your go-to baby parenting book to have and gift.
Johanna is married with two kids, three dogs, three cats, one leopard gecko, several chickens, and a few fish. She has been in the Pacific Northwest since the dream was alive in the 90s but has Southern roots and hails from Arkansas. The family spends a lot of time at some sort of sporting event for the kids. Johanna likes to fast craft, garden, host parties, and bake. Johanna and her crew go hard traveling, DIY-ing, and are always up for a new adventure or challenge.