6 Indy Children’s Book Authors

And their must-read books for you and your little ones.
Women to Watch 2022

Between the passing of Hoosier author Dan Wakefield, the launch of Indy Indie Book Crawl, and World Book Day around the corner (or just passed, depending on which date you celebrate—it’s a whole thing), we thought it the perfect time to kick off our new series highlighting Indy authors. 

Below are six local children’s book authors for you and your mini Maven. Learn more about their work, get a recommendation for one of their books, and read about why they love what they do.

Khrisma Antoinette

Khrisma Antoinette is a community-driven visionary and strategic storyteller who writes relationship-focused children’s books for youth in nontraditional family structures that jumpstart difficult conversations surrounding the intense emotions and experiences they encounter daily. “I love writing for youth—especially for Black youth because I want them to know they matter. The best way to do this is to let children open a book and see themselves, their families, and their lives reflected in the pages. I write for them because I want them to know they are seen, heard, and not alone,” she said.

For the mini Maven that wants to learn what love looks like…Precious Love.

Dr. Lonna Hardin

Dr. Hardin’s musical career began at the early age of five. At 12, she found herself in the spotlight when she recorded with gospel music legend Charles Fold. Now, Dr. Hardin sings, writes, and speaks with audiences around the world and is a voice for the voiceless and vulnerable. Dr. Hardin is the author of several books, including “Voiceprint,” the Melody’s Song” children’s book series, and a faith-based series.

“I hope to provide a sense of identity and voice to those who feel lost, hopeless, and voiceless. I want to teach each child that they have been given their own superpower, which they can use to be whoever they want to be and transform the world. Through self-exploration, self-development, and self-investment, they can “Live their song” and overcome the voice snatchers in their life wishing to steal their song,” she said.

For the mini Maven that deserves a confidence boost…Melody’s Song and the City of the Voice Snatchers.

Amanda Hauser

With a passion for the Christmas season and a deeply personal commitment to keeping the magic of childhood alive, Amanda Hauser is the mama of eight behind Impish the Christmas Elf. As a professional educator, children’s author, parenting blogger, and curriculum developer, Hauser spent the last two-and-a-half decades perfecting the art of designing special memories for kids and families alike. She loves developing elaborate, suspense-filled holiday experiences that heighten the anticipation of Christmas morning, dive into family-based discovery, and soak up the magic and joy of the season. 

“As a mom and teacher, kids are my passion. I have the unique experience of parenting in almost every season at once; my kids are currently 25 to 6. It has provided me with immeasurable perspective and experience. I know how valuable childhood is, and I want our kids (and others) to maintain the innocence, magic, and spirit of endless possibilities. I want all kids to embrace the magic of the holidays and to believe that anything is possible at Christmastime,” she said.

For the mini Maven who believes in Christmas in July…
Impish the Elf.

Dr. LaWanda D. Jobe

Dr. LaWanda D. Jobe is an urban children’s book author with a PhD in Education. She grew up in the Greater Indianapolis Butler Tarkington neighborhood in an era where African Americans were non-existent in the children’s books that she read and she vowed to change that. Dr. Jobe founded Big Mamma’s House Books® Publishing Company in 2018 and has authored and published five children’s books. Big Mamma’s House Books® was the proud recipient of the 2023 Better Business Bureau Torch Award winner for Character of Leadership. Dr. Jobe is passionate about creating stories for the young and young at heart that focus on children of color. Her books include characters of all shades and sizes that embrace ethnic names, with rich sprinkles of African American colloquialisms and relatable stories.

“I love writing for youth because of their innocent and vibrant imaginations. There are so many adventures and stories that can be created out of some of the most simple things in life that we as adults take for granted due to the realities that have set in as we journey into adulthood…I would like to instill in children that reading is essential, can take them anywhere in the world,” she said.

For the mini Maven who wants to be proud of herself…
Yum Yum Bubble Gum.

Jalysa King

Jalysa King is a writer and author of the new children’s book When I Grow Up I Can Be Anything. As a little girl, Jalysa fell in love with reading, storytelling, and writing. She knew that one day, she wanted to become a writer and instill the love of reading in little kids. Jalysa has a degree in Communication Studies, is the host of the Let’s Talk About Representation podcast, and has written for The Huffington Post. 

“Having the youth as an audience is a lot of fun and opens the door for creativity and engaging conversations. One of the things I’ve loved most about this book is doing school visits and hearing what kids want to be when they are older. I want them to think big and speak it out loud,” she said. 

For the mini Maven who deserves to see herself represented…

When I Grow Up I Can Be Anything.

Dana Bradford Majors

Dana Bradford Majors was born and raised in Mississippi and traveled often to New Orleans, Louisiana, to visit family and embrace her culture. Dana received a B.A. in English Language Arts from the University of Southern Mississippi with a minor in Business Technology Education and a dual M.A. in Workforce Educational Leadership with Advanced Technologies from Alcorn State University. Although she recently shifted her focus to children’s book publishing under her own company, B. Majors Publishing, she is teaching high school students IT Support. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with her five children, two dogs, and an incredibly talented drummer husband.

“Young readers are writers. Literacy is a gift that will forever be embedded in anyone given the opportunity to read and write, and no one, including the youth, should take that for granted. I want to ensure that no matter what they are reading, whether it’s a graphic novel or the now-ancient Encyclopedia Britannica, they develop a love for it, and continue to read throughout their lives,” she said.

For the mini Maven that wants to be inspired…
Black Boy Joy Series.

Abby Kom contributed to this story.

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