Erica London is the CEO and founder of Colour Their World, author of children’s books Missing You and Stuck in the Middle, and super mom of four. Being dissatisfied with the quality of children’s content on social media, she decided to take matters into her own hands and start a YouTube channel with her children to pursue her passion of colouring the minds of young readers around the world through uplifting books. London had always loved writing, so when schools switched to virtual learning in March 2020, she found this to be a perfect opportunity to begin the platform and publish her children’s books.
Colour Their World is a YouTube platform with educational, interactive, and fun content for children. Through character narration and music, diverse children’s books are presented and read aloud on the channel. London’s content, accessible on various social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, are both kid- and parent-friendly, offering a chance for parents and children to hold meaningful discussions on important topics.
Debu had the pleasure of catching up with London to discuss Colour Their World, her current and future endeavours, and her bustling life as a “mompreneur.”
You previously worked in healthcare before you switched to the literary world. What was it like, and how did you make that decision to switch?
Working in the healthcare sector is extremely busy, as we all know. It was a rewarding career. Knowing that I was able to assist in making patients more confident was extremely fulfilling. What caused me to shift gears was COVID-19. I was working in the medical field full-time; though I could have continued working, a parent needed to be present for the children to begin virtual learning. Between my husband and I, we thought it was best if I took on this role. So, I hung up my scrubs and put on my teacher’s hat.
During that period, I wanted to try and find something meaningful to me and wished to create something that my children would be proud of. I’ve always written, but it’s just something that I never really pursued because I didn’t have the time. With the children being home, I was able to see, from a literary perspective, the gaps in the educational system. There were things that I thought my children should have known at their grade level that they actually didn’t know at all. So, that’s where the tie-in came with the books and teaching them that reading is very important — it’s integral to our children’s future.
What are the sources of inspiration for you when thinking of ideas for children’s books? Are there any literary influences?
To be honest, my children are my source of inspiration. I would also have to say the program Reading Rainbow hosted by LeVar Burton was, and still is, one of the main influences for the channel. It was a show that I viewed daily as a child. LeVar just had a way with words… he just made reading seem like so much fun. It intrigued me to dive deeper into the wonderful world of words.
Colour Their World was born out of a desire to produce and promote great quality educational content for children. How do you ensure that the content you produce stands out in a saturated space and has real impact?
I ask myself that question all the time. How do I engage the audience with music, the story itself, and the idea that’s been presented? I want to show that the content is something catchy, yet relevant and thoughtful, all while staying true to my cultural upbringing.
For example, with Missing You, it’s the passing of a loved one — with Stuck in the Middle, it’s about being the middle child. Another book that I’m going to write is pertaining to a child that must reside in two different homes due to their parents’ divorce (or separation). So aside from making the episodes, I want my literature to be an accessible source of encouragement, where children can feel comfortable to discuss real issues that may affect them.
I make a conscious effort to source out worldwide, self-published, and well-known authors. I want to present content that can be embraced for generations to come, no matter the nationality.
What work goes into creating content for social media, especially YouTube, and what are the challenges involved in working with your own children for the videos?
Some of the work involves finding and researching popular titles, indie authors, or authors from other countries that wouldn’t have a platform to showcase their material. One of the benefits of having my children involved with the programming is that you can get an honest opinion about how they feel about the literature being read. I try to ensure that the footage is as candid as possible — it’s not staged, it’s not rehearsed. Especially with children, I believe it really has to be genuine. They do surprise me at times, but I enjoy involving them because we want to know what our children are thinking, seeing, and hearing.
What do you hope the impact of your first book, Missing You, will have on parents who need to communicate loss to their children?
It’s simple — just to realize that grieving is expressed in different forms, especially with children. I would hope that my book can be used as a tool to encourage parents/guardians to engage in conversation.
Tell us about your upcoming book, Stuck in the Middle.
Stuck in the Middle was written to let middle children know that they are seen and heard. It is also aimed to bring an adult to empathize with what these children are going through. In writing the book, I tried my best to bring about the conversation in a lighthearted manner, just to make it more of an enjoyable read while ensuring that the intent is still there.
Rose Ho | Assistant Editor