In her debut book, Not FAT Because I Wanna Be, LaNiyah details the struggle of Jessica, a fictional girl who has an underlying medical issue that causes her to gain weight. Bullied by her peers, Jessica learns to accept her body and eventually opens up about her condition to her classmates.
LaNiyah is not only speaking to other children through her book, but has become an advocate for anti‐bullying organizations.
With a message that words can hurt and that not all weight gain is due to an unhealthy lifestyle, LaNiyah hopes her book will enlighten and entertain her young readers.
“I just wish this book can help other kids like me...and I wish it can help people see that [even though] you might be big that you are not unhealthy or… a monster like people may make you feel.”
VS: I want to thank you LaNiyah for being my guest here on The Writing Mama today. It's wonderful to see such a young author and one who has a very important message to share, too. So get to things started, how long have you been writing?
LaNiyah: This is the first book I have written. It’s almost been one year since my mom and I created it.
VS: It's a wonderful book, too. I wish it was around when my son was younger as he went through the same things as your character, Jessica. What inspired you to write?
LaNiyah:Me being bullied and teased about my weight inspired the story. But, my mom helped inspire me to write as a way to talk about what happened and to get it out to help others.
VS: Writing is truly a great way to deal with the ups and downs in our lives. I'm glad your mom inspired you to share your story with others. What is a typical writing day like for you?
LaNiyah:Well, when we first started writing “Not fat because I wanna be”. I came home from school and my mom and I sat down in our living room, she told me to tell her everything that I went through and she wrote it down. The next day she asked me how I wanted the story to go and she wrote that down. For one week, we talked every day about what I wanted in the book, the characters, and their names. My mom typed it up and found a person called an editor (Margot Finke) and she helped her make it better.
VS: What I love about this is how open your communication is with your mom. I'm guessing your family supportive of your writing then?
LaNiyah:My family is awesome. They are so supportive and they love me no matter what. My grandparents, aunts, uncles and my cousins show me a lot of support. I wish my grandfather “paw-paw” was still here so he could know that I wrote a book, I think he would be so proud.
VS: I think he would be too. What was the first thing you ever had published?
LaNiyah:This is my first book that was published.
VS: Can you share with us a little about your current book?
LaNiyah:Yes, this book is called “Not fat because I wanna be” and it is about a girl named Jessica who was getting teased and bullied because of her weight. The kids in her school didn’t know she was a healthy person so; they always teased her and made her really sad. One day Jessica decided that it was time to stand-up to a mean girl named Brittany, and when she did all the other kids wanted to be her friend.
VS: What do you enjoy most about writing?
LaNiyah:I enjoy that I was able to tell people what really happened to me in a fun way.
What is the most difficult part of writing? The hardest part at first was I didn’t know how to say it without being sad about it. And I was afraid that people would not like it and say it wasn’t good.
VS: I'm here today to say you're a very talented writer and also you're not alone with this medical problem. As I told your mom over the phone, my son also suffered the same thing when he was younger. He has out grown it and you will to over time.What tips can you give writing children at home to help them see publication?
LaNiyah:If you have a story want to tell don’t be afraid to tell your mom or dad about it. Tell them if you really want to do it and they will help you get your book out there like my parents did.
VS: Yes, I believe that to the bottom of my heart and there are many authors like myself who also support young authors such as you. Is there anything else you would like to share with us about being a “writing child”?
LaNiyah:It seems like people are really surprised that I wrote a book. They always say “did you really write this story” and I tell them “yes, this is my story. But, my mom helped me make it better and made it into a real book.”
I would like to say thank you, for having me today. I hope your readers will share my message and help us spread the word about my new book “Not Fat Because I Wanna Be.” I just want kids to know that I am doing this for them and not me. Please visit my website at: www.NotfatbecauseIwannabe.com
Not Fat Because I Wanna Be
Written by: LaNiyah Bailey
Publisher: Createspace/Bright Girl Publishing, Inc
ISBN Number: 978-1461006763
Publication Date: March 2011
Genre of Book: Children’s Picture Book
Six year old LaNiyah Bailey has a message for bullies and teasers alike: "Just because I look different doesn't mean that I'm not human or I am a monster like people make me feel. I'm just like you, a beautiful human being."
“Sometimes, I would not tell mom and dad how bad it really was. I’d go home and cry, cry, cry.” ‐ From Not FAT Because I Wanna Be
Stories for Children Publishing will be touring youth author LaNiyah Bailey and her book, NOT FAT Because I Wanna Be all month long in August 2011.
You can find out more about LaNiyah Bailey, her book and World of Ink Author/Book Tour at http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/LaNiyahBailey.aspx. There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with LaNiyah and her mother, and the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions. LaNiyah will be checking in throughout the tour and is offering an additional giveaway for those who leave comments throughout the tour.
In addition, come listen to Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network show: Stories for Children at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork. The hosts VS Grenier, Kris Quinn Chirstopherson and Irene Roth will be chatting with LaNiyah and her mother about NOT FAT Because I Wanne Be, being a youth writer, publishing a book and her experiences along with tips on how to deal with bullies.
The show will be live August 29, 2011 at 6pm EST. You can tune in at the World of Ink Network site at http://www.blogtalkradion.com/worldofinknetwork. You can listen/call in at (714) 242-5259. (Note: if you can’t make the show, you can listen on demand at the same link.)
1. Join the Book Lovers Blog Hop. (One entry)
2. Follow the World of Ink Tours and leave a comment per tour blog stop. (must leave a real comment about the author, tour or book. Saying “this is cool” or “I love your book” will not count.) Make sure to include your safe email so we can contact you if you are the winner. Example: vsgrenier AT storiesforchildrenpublishing DOT com. (One bonus entry per blog stop)
3. Ask a question per World of Ink Tour blog stop. (One bonus entry per tour blog stop)
To learn more about the World of Ink Tours visit Stories for Children Publishing at: http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com