Kamili Leath has had an idea for a children’s book germinating in her head since her son Jonathan was in preschool. He’s currently 16. So you could say she’s been pondering the story for a while.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck and she saw her husband, Pastor Jonathan Leath, working on a book of his own, she thought: now is the time. Leath self-published her book “Jonathan Rhymes,” which is currently available for purchase on Amazon.
When her son was little, he had an avid affinity for rhyming. He was always coming up with rhymes, and Leath, whose career is in the education field, was inspired. She thought up a story about a little boy who wanted to rhyme all the time.
Leath’s background is in early childhood education. She currently conducts professional development with teachers throughout the state of New Jersey. So, she knew that learning words through rhyme helps children to read, write and pronounce words as they develop. So, part of her goal was to highlight rhyming words as an educational tool.
But there was also another intent with the book. She wanted the story’s main character to be a young African American boy. With young boys of her own, she wanted them to see themselves represented and to know their importance.
She completed the book, and through some online searching, she ultimately found her illustrator on Fivver, an online freelance resource. Leath told the illustrator what she needed, and she worked with her to bring the story to life.
Leath has plans to expand the book into a series. While she’s still in the planning process of that, she knows Jonathan is headed to Ethiopia in her next book.
She has been marketing the book herself using social media, but she’s also interested in using her book to give back. She has donated copies of the book to families in North Jersey via New Brunswick.
Her goal is making sure children are affording opportunities to read. She said regardless of socio-economic status, every child deserves this opportunity.
“It’s a passion for me because I really think all children can thrive and grow given the right environment,” Leath said.
“Jonathan Rhymes” is available at amazon.com.