In our Behind The Book series, author Shawn Sayner shares insight, information, and fun facts about her very own picture books. 

What is this book about?

What I Can Do With My ‘Do! is a picture book showcasing a diverse collection of bright young people with big futures and beautiful styles. It’s exciting to note that the children and young adults depicted in the illustrations include my friends, my family, and even myself!

Who is this book for?

My ‘Do! was created with babies to first graders in mind. However, due to the nature of topics it can touch, I’ve been amazed to see older children and even adults finding value within its pages and the discussions they spur.

Why was this book written?

When I was thinking about getting dreadlocks, I realized how much of what I found in my internet research about the style was clouded in misinformation and myth. I was taken aback by the negativity surrounding something as simple as how I could choose to wear my hair. Getting your hair done can be a big part of how someone feels about themselves, how they spend time together in their family, and even how they fit into their community.

Displaying and discussing the beauty of people of color from an early age is so important to building self-esteem and pride in themselves and others. Though there are some great books out there with similar goals, many are geared only toward girls, while others are written for higher reading levels. What I wanted to do with What I Can Do With My ‘Do! was fill in some of those gaps, creating a book that broadly appeals to children regardless of gender, and offering a fun read for children in their youngest years and beyond.

How was this book illustrated?

What I Can Do With My ‘Do! is illustrated using photography, editing original images with special finishes. The photos used are of my beautiful family and friends, many of whom graciously posed for photo sessions specifically for this book. I am so proud of how this came together and am constantly inspired by the joy I find in their eyes, their smiles, and their ‘dos!

When was this book published?

My ‘Do! was released on paperback in 2016. Thanks to crowdfunding, it was also released on hardcover in 2017.

Where is this book found?

Local libraries and book stores can order What I Can Do With My ‘Do! through their normal channels, so please ask them about it if you can’t find it where you look for books. What I Can Do With My ‘Do! is also available for you to order online anytime.

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