What started as an impromptu story to her mom turned out to be much bigger for Mantua third-grader MaKayla Hubbs.
Two years ago during a spring break, MaKayla was asked by her mom, Shalina, to go to bed, but she didn’t want to go to sleep yet. Shalina then asked for MaKayla to tell her a story.
“I recorded her telling the story as she made it up because it was cute,” said Shalina. “She fixed it up because her dad walked in and asked her if she was ready for bed, and she added that in there.”
MaKayla had asked for her mom to help her transform the recording into the book as an end of the year present to her former, now-retired, first-grade teacher, Tina Kizitaff. The book is titled “Why Bedtime Sucks: The Opposite of a Bedtime Story.”
Shortly thereafter, they started the process of getting it illustrated and published through a company after MaKayla wanted to be able to read and sign her book inside of a bookstore.
“I sent out her manuscript [to publishing companies] and they wanted control of the character and to make some changes,” said Shalina. “MaKayla said ‘mom, please don’t make them destroy my book. I don’t want to call it ‘I’m not tired’ I want to call it ‘Bedtime Sucks.’ It’s my family. I don’t want the family to match, I want it to be like our family.’”
The Hubbs family is a multicultural family with Italian, German, Panamanian and African roots. Shalina added MaKayla wanted stories that showed diversity in families, but didn’t want it to be the focal point of the story.
MaKayla has read books in the past that showed a diverse family. She remarked how much she liked the storylines and that it doesn’t solely focus on what the characters look like.
“It’s just a story about not wanting to go to bed and all of the reasons she can give on why she should be able to stay up later,” said Shalina.
Illustrations in MaKayla’s book were originally done by her, but the duo decided to source out an illustrator through Kickstarter – the same crowdfunding site they’re using to publish “Why Bedtime Sucks” – to features characters that look exactly like her family. The family retained the original copy of the book.
In each level of her Kickstarter campaign following the first one, there’s a pledge to donate finished copies of her book to the 50 States, 50 Books nonprofit.
According to the nonprofit, it accepts donations of books that show diversity in characters, and ships them to communities throughout the country to promote literacy.
“Being a part of the change is something awesome,” said Shalina. “If you want to see something change and see the action become a part of what you’re trying to fix, I think that’s awesome and I’m proud.”
“She’s a role model for the kids not just in our district, but throughout the country,” said Terry Labbree, supervisor of curriculum at the Mantua Township School District. “If you want something bad enough, it’s possible to do.”
MaKayla said she hopes to write more books from a kid’s point of view because “there is so much adults forget when they grow up.”
To donate to MaKayla’s Kickstarter, visit www.Kickstarter.com/Projects/IamMeU.