Ivylocs teaches children to look within and become problem solvers in their own World
Ivylocs is an animated character who will soon have her own cartoon series but can currently be found in books via multiple platforms. This witty little girl teaches children to use their problem solving and critical thinking skills to solve their own problems. Ivylocs was created by Danielle Carin Dunn who is also a new mother and professional grant writer. Danielle is an educator who majored in African American studies and English literature. Check out our interview below where we get personal about her story and the creation of Ivylocs.
- What is the story behind Ivylocs? Ivylocs started back in 2002. My best friend, Ivy, was pregnant with her son and we started looking for books we could buy for him. All the books we saw for children were about dogs, cats, and white boys. We did not see many books with children of color let alone a black female protagonist. Ivy was a teacher and I was in school for education. So naturally, we discussed creating our own material that represented not only children of color but girls too. We would go back and forth with the idea but never put anything into stone. In 2004, Ivy was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL, CLICK HERE to learn about this disease) and it took her life away the following year. Ivy was more than a friend, she was my sister and I took the sudden loss of my sister hard. In 2015, I decided to face my pain and create our dreams into a book and a character, Ivylocs. On Ivy’s birthday the following year I released the book.
- Why do you feel like engaging children in literature and critical thinking are so important? I think it is important because as adults we often silence children. There are so many ideas, creations, etc. that kids could offer us if we just allowed them to share their voice. I wanted my character, Ivylocs, to be outspoken, ask questions, and be creative as only a kid can be. Critical thinking is so important and it encourages children to think outside of the box. Ivylocs does not have super powers, she just has the desire to solve problems and think freely. She uses a magnifying glass to reflect on herself instead of the problem. So the problem becomes small and she becomes big. Teaching children this at an early age is important because it lets them know they matter. It lets them know they are bigger and capable of solving any problem they face.
- What is the Ivylocs book club? The Ivylocs book club is a collection of different books that we choose with a focus on the skill set of problem solving and a dynamic character. We read those books as a group project or recommend them to our audience. We also host giveaways for products that encourage children to be problem solvers and critical thinkers.
- How are some of the ways you have been able to market Ivylocs to schools, youth centers, etc.? Social media is cool but building relationships offline has been the most beneficial. I had to understand my target audience and find ways to connect with them. In the future, I see Ivylocs as an animated children’s series. Fostering relationships now with people that can aid me in achieving my dreams will help it turn into reality quicker.
- Was it difficult to balance motherhood with being an author? I am seasoned mother, i.e. first time mom over a particular age. I am 38 years old and my husband is 40 years old, we were used to our time being ours. It was an adjustment to start devoting time to someone else consistently but I have a great support system.
- What is your advice to other mothers who may be trying to publish a book for children? I would say to use your children as your inspiration. At the time, I used my niece and nephew as the inspiration. Ask yourself, what does your child like? What would you want your child to do? Include pieces of them within the book and you will create it effortlessly.
- Are there any resources you would recommend for those interested in becoming an author? You have to learn to research. I looked at the books I enjoyed reading to get an understanding of how many pages, font size, illustrations, word count, etc.