By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
EGG HARBOR CITY â€“ Destiny Ingram said memories of her mother reading to her as a child led her to writing her first children’s book at age 24, and now it is up for recognition from her publisher.
Ingram, inspired by her young niece, wrote the book “Moonlight,” which weaves it way through the magical world of “Dreamland.” “Moonlight” is now up for the 2020 Readers Choice Awards contest by TCK Publishing. It was released in July.
“ThisÂ award came about becauseÂ my book wasÂ nominated,” said Ingram, who is a fulltime college student. “IÂ want to get my message my story out there and reach as many chidldren and parents as possible.”
Ingram said she came up with the book idea reminiscing about her childhood with her mother and sister.
“[My mother] used to read to me and my sister as kids,” Ingram recently told Front Runner New Jersey. “She read it to us every night and we loved that book so much it always put us to sleep. I wanted to write something that I could one day read to my kids because I remember the impact it had on me and my sister.
Ingram said she thought of her niece in writing the book, calling her a “percious soul” and would go on to inspire the book’s main character.
“[My nice is] so intelligent for her age so I wanted her to be the main character,” Ingram said. “I felt she was perfect for it and it was important to have a black child with dreadlocks to show diversity. All the kids come in different colors, shapes and sizes. The wheels started to spin from there for the whole process of the book; down to all the characters, in the scenery, in the background of the book. It all came together piece by piece.”
An excerpt of the book’s overview reads: “What happens when we sleep? Is there a magical world that waits? Find out in this lyrical and beautifully illustrated tale about Dreamland, the place where dreams are discovered. Follow the adventures of Jaybear as she and Panda P explores the land that helps everyone fall asleep. When a star falls into Dreamland, the chase is on to retrieve the mysterious light from the untrustworthy Ronny D.”
Ingram said she always loved story telling growing up in a tight-knit family in Egg Harbor City. That closeness became a valuable commodity when life threw her a curveball.
“We’re very close and always there for each other,” Ingram said. “We support each other through thick and thin. I went to Atlantic Cape Community College. I had an accident about two to three years ago and had to take some time off. I still plan on finishing and get my degree very soon in liberal arts, then I plan to go to a four-year college.”
She said those bedtime readings by her mother inspired her to start coming up with her own end and versions to stories. She said as a young Black woman, she had her own story to tell anyway.
Black Author’s Unique Voice
“I’ve always loved to write since I was in my adolescenceÂ years,” Ingram said. “I always lovedÂ storytelling and always kept a diary growing up. As anÂ African-American author, I do feel like I do have a unique voice. I feel it’s important to seeÂ children of color in children’s books so kids can see diversity, whether it’s reading a book or the real world.
Ingram said she “Moonlight” has been received well and many of her readers love identifying with the characters.
“A lot of thought was put into the backgrounds,” Ingram said. “It’s extremely eye-catching and the message I convey.”
While creating role models through her writing, Ingram said she wants to make sure she’s a positive role model for kids in real life.
“I have to lead by example, a positive example for children to have a positive outlook on life,” she said. “They should never be afraid to be who they are and to know they all have a special light within them and they should always let it shine.”
Ingram said she has two strong parents who have been supportive.
“They’ve always tried their best for me and my sister and my brother,” Ingram said of her parents. “Both have the biggest hearts and always wanted the best for us. With my sister, she had a child in high school. When people doubted her and didnâ€™t believe that she would make it.
“Last year she graduated from college with her bachelor’s degree and soon will be working on her master’s degree. She’s living proof that no matter the situations you go through, you can still go and get your degree and make something out of yourself in this life. She’s always was an inspiration to me and Iâ€™ve always looked up to her as my older sister,” Ingram continued.
Ingram said she would like to continue her writing career in the future, expanding her genres to include fiction books and poetry along with writing more children material.
“I love what I do,” Ingram said. “I always dreamed of being an author and my dream has come to pass. I always wanted to aspire people of all ages through my writing. It’s so amazing to have a platform to be able to do that.”
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