She wanted to explain why she wrote my book, so I let her have one whole page on my website just for her
First Image of Macki Brown
I took my idea to my friend Kristin. As an adoptive mother, I knew it would feel personal to her. Luckily for me, she is also a local artist. She sketched out what would be the very FIRST image of The Marvelous Macki Brown and it is still one of my favorite renderings.
Note From The Author
Casey Gathright Hyman
I would like to start by saying that nothing qualifies me to write a book. However, I want to encourage you, if you have a vision for something and the drive to pursue it, you just need to connect with the right people to help you bring it to fruition. Originally from Texas, my husband and I relocated to Little Rock in 2008. The idea of adoption was always something that we had a heart for and after moving to Little Rock and seeing the need for foster and adoptive families for children here in our own city, it became clear that was where we would begin. We connected with The CALL here in Arkansas and began to foster. We fostered off and on for several years before deciding to adopt. After the adoption of our youngest daughter, I began to fully recognize the discrepancy in the number of toys, books, clothing and television for young African American children, especially those with a strong lead character that they can identify and see themselves in. When I was unable to find the type of character I was in search of, I became inspired to create one based on my daughter. I really wanted the character to embody, not just her personality, but a strong sense of who she is. As a white mother raising a black child, I quickly began to realize just how much I didn't ACTUALLY know. Loving a child of a different race is the EASY part. Raising them to appreciate and cherish their race, ethnicity and culture is HARDER. You must be willing to have some hard conversations, hear the things you don't want to, admit what you don't know and own up to the ways that you fall short. In my experience, most people are kind, generous and want to help. As I began developing Macki Brown, she went from just a playful and precocious little girl to someone who saw herself as a superhero. I fell in love with the idea of this strong, self confident girl, who saw not only herself as a superhero, but who recognized those attributes in those around her. She has the ability to draw people in and unite them. I hope you fall in love with Macki Brown too!
Macki Brown's Family
Macki, while a fictional character, is very much based on my youngest daughter. The family in the book is modeled after our own. "Write what you know." We are a family of five and we are a little diverse in our appearance. My husband is half Japanese. I, on the other hand, am as Caucasian as they come; white skin that only tans with great effort, blue eyed and blond hair (most of the time. Occasionally I pay for some red or brown). Our oldest son has my husband's dark hair and eyes, while our middle daughter has lighter hair and hazel eyes. And of course, our baby girl, with her beautiful brown skin and curly black hair, perfectly completes our family. From our entire family to you, we hope you connect with and love The Marvelous Macki Brown!
I'm not sure there is enough space to thank everyone who encouraged me and helped to make Macki Brown VERY real. My husband and kids have been incredibly supportive. My parents enthusiastically checked in regularly for "Macki Brown updates" and have improved their "social media game" just to keep track and help promote the book. To my friend & fighter, Sara, who lives everyday in a way that is "cape-worthy", Macki is one of your biggest fans. Thank you to Julie Gaylor at Seven Rising Studio for her artist photography. To Iris with the Butterfly Typeface publishing, thank you for taking a chance on my "little project". To my friends who will see their names, familiar places, and faces in the book, thank you! I hope each of you LOVES Marvelous Macki Brown!