Angela Walcott’s love for writing was only a window into her passion for story telling. Growing up in a Caribbean based family, she says her childhood was deeply surrounded by constant storytelling- an oral tradition in her culture.
During her English Studies at York University and continuing her education in magazine publishing and writing at Ryerson, Walcott decided to finally let the world see how much deeper her passion lied.
In the beginning, her pitch to bring a book about aspirations and future goals of children appeared too generic. However when she decided to cater her idea to minorities it fit the demand for diversification in publications.
She says, “Now that I’m telling the story from a specific perspective, weaving issues from the Caribbean and Africa, I think it’s more appealing to the audience. In general, I feel it’s something a lot of readers can relate to.”
Walcott’s book ‘I Want To Be’ encourages children to believe in themselves, set goals and most importantly build their self-esteem. Her method to empower youth with her book was based on putting the child first and making them feel in total control.
“Kids gravitate to books that allow them to have the voice, to be the decision maker and the goal oriented individual; as opposed to an adult as the main influence in the story.”
So often children are asked what they want to be, and Walcott is giving the motivation through her form of story telling; more specifically to minorities.
“I did a bit of research and noticed that there aren’t really books out there for African- Canadian children to understand and see images that reflect them and their education. We preach a lot to our children,” stresses Walcott. “If they’re seeing it in a way that isn’t forced, but natural, entertaining and anticipated, it brings them to a simple realization that they can relate to the story because there is someone who looks like me.”
Walcott’s dedication to the book extends as far as the illustrations she did herself. An element she claims is important for young black readers.
“I am glad that I invested some time in developing my craft both as an artist and writer. Many influences from courses I have taken in graphic design, [art] and poetry have all played a major role in how I carve out a story.”
A book with so many simple elements that lead to empowerment has the ability to reach higher heights, which is the exact expectation Walcott anticipates.
With the upcoming TUBE (Toronto Urban Book Expo) event in February where Walcott’s book will be featured, it is only inspiring her to reach the shelves of school and public libraries. A place she says is a free environment to explore and learn.
Another important platform she wants to take her book to is The United States, where the racial divide continues to be prominent. Walcott says although it is a Canadian perspective the message still remains global.
As a lover for English and storytelling Walcott continues to stress how important a narrative can be in one’s life.
Walcott explains, “A lot can be lost when you don’t have people to carry on a story. It brings a community together. A story can help someone think outside the box and engage. There could be one element in a story that the quietest child in class can pick up on and come out of their shell and explore the possibilities […] It’s a tool for them to understand they can if they want.”
‘I Want To Be” will be available on Amazon, and in the GTA at A Different Booklist, Accent Bookstores, and Knowledge book store in Brampton. Look out for TUBE on February 28th 2015.