It took emerging author Jessica Alex (born Jessica Alexandra Cobran) almost five years to complete her first children’s book.
In less than five minutes last week, elementary students warmed to the compelling story of the inspirational publication, “What if the World Had No Colour?”, at a Black History Month reading at Perth/Dupont library.
The book was put on hold after Alex, who was born in Montreal, decided to complete her undergraduate degree. She transferred from Ryerson to Concordia University where she gained her Bachelor of Arts degree with a joint specialization in sociology and anthropology.
Moving back to Toronto where she was raised, Alex resumed writing. While going through old material she had put aside, she stumbled upon the incomplete story.
“This book teaches children how to play with one another regardless of their race or ethnicity,” she told the St. John the Evangelist Catholic School Grade Five students. “It also teaches you to love yourself the way you are created. I studied sociology, so I pay attention to how people interact with each other. How they relate and treat each other is very important to me. That’s why I wrote this story.”
Alex, who shared the reading spotlight at the library with Toronto Police Constable Jan Barr of 11 Division who read, “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters” by U.S. President Barack Obama, did the book illustration using pencil crayons.
“I love to write and draw,” she said. “In fact, I started drawing at age five when I got my first water colour set as a gift.”
Last year, Alex wrote seven books, ranging from self-image to procrastination that will be published shortly.
In 2012, she launched her own publishing company – Upon A Star Books Inc. – dedicated to publishing educational and inspirational children’s books. She also plans to stage workshops for children and pre-teens.
Alex can be reached through www.uponastarbooks.ca