Nyesha Jones’ company Paper Pages helps break down barriers to self-publishing books
PUBLISHED: 17:25 09 January 2019
A careers advisor who self-published her own children’s book has set up a company to encourage youngsters that it’s a viable career choice.
Nyesha Jones grew up in Hackney but decided to move to Hertfordshire when her son Isaiah was born – and was shocked at the lack of cultural diversity and knowledge.
She decided to write her first book, Dressed in Peace to combat the reaction kids had to Isaiah, a Rastafarian with dreadlocks.
“I’m only half an hour away from Hackney, but my kid was the only black kid in his school, and there were a few comments from some of the younger children who hadn’t seen any black people before,” she said. “They would run away from him in the playground and ask why his skin is that colour. Very innocent things, God bless them, but it became apparent at that young age you don’t have diversity if you don’t see it anywhere.”
His school teachers asked Nyesha to share their cultural books, but she didn’t find any of them appropriate and was worried they might create a bigger cultural barrier – so decided to write one of her own.
Her story sees an alien meeting people from different faiths, and a second book based on the same character was published in December to teach about food diversity, from sushi to akee and fish and chips.
Once Nyesha realised she could publish books she decided to set up her own publishing house Paper Pages, to help school children along with older people who never envisioned writing could be for them.
Nyesha, a civil servant who trains Job Centre staff to get young people into employment, said: “The big publishing companies act as a barrier. Music and sport always seem to be a first choice and I wanted to show books are just as accessible.
“For me it was more about an awareness for my son – he saw the journey of the story going from scribbles on paper to a book that his friends can buy, and I thought I want to give that opportunity to other people. I literally had no idea about publishing a book and I’ve learned about it from start to finish, to the legal side of registering and ISBNs. I realised it is very accessible but many of our young people might not see it as possible.”
She now shares her knowledge with school children and has visited Tyssen Community School.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Hackney Gazette. Click the link in the orange box above for details.