As a successful tech consultant and busy mom of two, Crystel Patterson wasn’t exactly looking to add more to her plate when she recently decided to become a children’s book author.

The idea for her book series, "Inspired to Be," came when her then 8-year-old son asked why police kept killing Black people after watching the video of George Floyd being murdered.

What You Need To Know

  • Crystel Patterson's "Inspired to Be" book series explores the culture and dreams of Black people to expand children's imagination

  • The first two books in the series were inspired by Gabby Douglas and Kheris Rogers

  • The whole series was inspired by a tough conversation Patterson had with her child

  • Patterson's next book will be inspired by the late Chadwick Boseman

“That question kind of stayed in the back of my mind for the next few days because I was really wondering, is he thinking that that’s going to be him one day?” Patterson said.

One night, while reading a bedtime story to her two boys, Patterson realized the impact she could have in other kids’ lives by writing books inspired by Black stories.  

"When the kids read the books, I want them to have something real to tie it back to, so that they can say, 'Hey if he did that, I can do that too,'" she said.

Patterson said the goal for her books is to expand the imagination of children by exposing them to new ideas and encouraging them to follow their inspiration. Her first two books in the series were inspired by three-time Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas and Kheris Rogers, a 14-year-old fashion designer who launched her own clothing line called "Flexin’ in My Complexion" after being bullied for the color of her skin.

“My messages are universal,” said Patterson. “Any child should be able to relate to feeling different or getting picked on about something, or any child should be able to relate to having a dream.”

The self-published author added that it’s important her kids and other children who look like them grow up seeing the successes of other Black people.

“More importantly, I actually want kids who aren’t Black to see the stories of Black people and be inspired by it because I think that could make a huge difference in the way children start seeing us,” she said.

While becoming an author was never part of her plan, Patterson said she feels grateful her books are being used to spread Black inspiration to all children.

Patterson’s books are available on Amazon, Target and her website.