Jemima Durán Smith, Queen Girls
Children, though inexperienced and innocent, are individuals who should feel unrestricted when choosing their interests. However, more often than not, children’s books promote traditional gender stereotypes that can be internalized and present challenges to how a child transitions into adulthood.
In an effort to highlight the strength and courage of women, attributes that are normally associated and presented in male characters, Queen Girls believes that we should be telling a wider variety of stories to our children.
“When I became a mom, I started looking at things, the world, in a new different way with a new set of eyes,” says Jemima Smith, co-creator. “I [saw] many different stereotypes in our children’s literature.”
Female characters, in particular, are often stereotyped and one-dimensional, being portrayed as a mother figure, the homemaker, the exotic beauty, or the love-seeker. Queen Girls encourages girls to find their happiness, passions, drive and self-confidence from within while simultaneously deconstructing harmful stereotypes.
What separates Queen Girls’ publications from other groups, is that they take nonfictional characters and turn them into fairy tales. Strong female icons such as Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman in the world to receive her pilot’s license, and Isadora Duncan, a ballerina who pushed the limits of conventionalist techniques, are represented in their books to convey the message to young girls that their dreams are possible, doable and realistic.
What’s more is that for every book purchased, another is donated to a child who might be struggling to dream (One for One).
“Our project is entirely about dreams and also about hard work,” says Andrea Doshi, Co-Creator. “This past year, we’ve created, researched, tested and worked with feedback from adults and kids. We’ve challenged ourselves for our cause and now we challenge you.”