Leicestershire entrepreneur Pamela Aculey has been nominated for this years’s ‘Diversity Power List’, after writing a series of children’s books exploring what it’s like to be different.
The author, who lives in Hinckley, is the creator and co-founder of ‘Just like Me Books’ – a small business making big changes when it comes to diversity and inclusion in children’s literature.
She was inspired to write the series, by her son Walter, who was diagnosed with Autism at the age of four.
“In 2017 our eldest son Walter was diagnosed with Autism and was non-verbal. As parents, we found it difficult to find diverse books where children like Walter could find themselves in the pages of books. The saying goes ‘create the things you wished existed’, so I did just that,” she explained.
“As a black mother raising three boys of mixed heritage – one who is also Autistic, I know just how important and powerful representation is.”
Pamela’s first book ‘Buster Finds His Beat’ is about a mixed-race Autistic boy who wears ear defenders as he can find sudden and loud noises distressing.
The book follows him as he struggles to cope with the challenges posed by the outside world.
It won the Faber Children’s Publishing Prize Award back in 2020, but more importantly, Pamela’s son started to recognise himself in the character ‘Buster.’ That was the real payoff, she says.
As well as being different in terms of its character and representation, the books also use Augmented Reality to enhance its appeal for Autistic children, and to engage those who can’t read, have speech and language delays, learning delays or are non verbal.
On being nominated for the ‘Diversity Power List’ Ms Aculey said: “I can not tell you how incredibly honoured I am to be amongst so many amazing change-makers and leaders.
“If you were to tell 7-year-old Pammy who was being bullied at school that one day she would be an author, award winning entrepreneur and founder of the UK’s 1st inclusive and interactive AR I can tell you now that I wouldn’t have believed you.
“Back then, celebrating differences was not a thing. But I love what I do and I’m energised by what I do,” she added. “You think you’re just a drop in the ocean but look at the ripple effect one drop can make.”
The Diversity Power List is described as a “definitive, honours-style list” of the most innovative and inspirational people in the UK, compiled by Paul Sesay, CEO of Inclusive Companies.
To find out more, visit: https://diversitypowerlist.com/
To find out more about Pamela’s books, visit: https://www.justlikemebooks.co.uk/