Children’s book author, Florenza Lee is on a mission. She wants to teach children, particularly children of color, to explore the world through the pages of a book. From a very young age, Florenza understood the power and beauty of words. It’s led to a successful career as a sought-after children’s author.

She talks with the Defender about her books, career and more.

Defender: What is your latest book about?

Florenza Lee: I wrote Who Made That Sound? Animals and their sounds in English, Spanish, and Mandarin as a gift to families, especially those who speak multi-languages. I wanted a book grandparents could read to their grandchildren and vice versa. English, Spanish, and Mandarin were chosen because they are the most spoken languages on the planet. Who Made That Sound? is a fantastic book, simplistic in text and visually appealing to all ages. Each animal is original, hand-painted art by nationally known Debbie Richmond. 

 Defender: How did you get started writing?

Lee: Writing found me. I was obedient to that first nudge, which opened the floodgates of creativity resulting in a catalog of beautiful book babies.

Defender:  What do you hope readers take away from your books?

Lee: In my mind, I am writing future classics, books that will be read for generations to come. I want the stories to resonate with families so much. They want to read it not only night after night but generation after generation.

 Defender: What’s the biggest challenge with being a black female author?

Lee: When I think of my biggest challenge as a Black female author, I must say the answer is me. I am my greatest challenge. I push myself to do better with each new title than I did with the last. I’m always looking for ways to grow and improve this beautiful gift of writing. I am relentlessly pursuing excellence. 

 Defender: Who do you read?

 Lee: I love reading the classics. Aesop’s Fables, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Beatrix Potter, Lewis Carroll, E.B. White, and Roald Dahl, to name a few. 

 Defender: Advice to aspiring authors:

Lee: I advise aspiring and emerging authors to recognize excellence and relentlessly pursue it. Don’t be content to see your name on the book’s cover and forget the importance of what takes place on the pages. Let the spark of creativity create a raging fire of excellence. Learn, grow, stretch, repeat. 

Defender: How did you get started?

Lee: How did I get started? That is a great question. On January 31, 2014, I woke up like any other day, which turned out to be like none other. It was far from average. I wrote what would become my first twelve books. Of them, three are published. That day, I bought one thousand ISBNs, founded Words to Ponder Publishing Company, signed a contract with an illustrator and editor and slept well. Or so I thought. I dreamed I was reading a book I had never heard of nor seen to thousands of children. In this dream, I had a three-way conversation with myself as I was reading the book. I woke up to write down all the words, and only one word changed. That book was The Tail of Max the Mindless Dog, A Children’s Book on Mindfulness. Proudly, we have translated it into Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Spanish, and Mandarin.  

 Fun Facts:

 Defender: What do you do for fun?

Lee: What’s fun? My work commute consumes two hours of my day, work another nine, sleep four, family a smidge, and writing the rest. I carve out time to read, pray, mediate, and all time fun thing to do, blow bubbles.

 Defender: What would people be surprised to know is on your playlist?

Lee: All things New Country, jazz, old school R&B, and lots and lots of old school rap.

 Defender: If you could do any job with no worry of money, what would it be?

Lee: I am very fortunate to have always worked in positions that make my entire being smile. In addition to writing and publishing, I have the privilege of serving our nation’s Veterans as their advocate. 

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