STUDENTS | July 30, 2018
The Jones sisters, three at Pullman Elementary School, one in college, have all followed in their mother’s footsteps as authors, with the exception of one sister, who’s an illustrator.
What started as a class project for Ayanna Jones in the second-grade, created a ripple effect, said her mother Shaniqua Jones, the author of “A Memoir to My Younger Self.”
Ariel, the third eldest, illustrated Ayanna’s book, “The Girl Who Can Breathe: Overcoming Asthma,” which details her challenges of living with asthma.
“[Ayanna] wasn’t included in a lot because it was always, ‘You can’t do that because you have asthma,’ or ‘You can’t go outside for recess because of the pollen,’ so she would always watch the kids play and cry,” said Jones.
Ayanna, now 14, said she was asked to write a story for class.
“It’s a story about an event that happened when I had my asthma attack,” she said. “We were at recess and I’m fast. Everyone liked to race with me and I’m competitive, so I raced them, but then I started not being able to breathe.”
A few classmates quickly ran to get the teacher, who then called her parents.
When the opportunity to write a personal story and enter it into a young authors book contest presented itself, Ayana didn’t hesitate, she said.
She came in second place, landing her book in a local suburban library for a summer in 2012, her mother said.
Ayana said she wants her book to send a message.
“Still be yourself no matter what,” she said. “Don’t let [anything] change you because I didn’t let asthma change me.”
Ariel, a year younger has always loved drawing, she said. Working as Ayana’s illustrator wasn’t an issue.
“In kindergarten my favorite teacher loved to draw so I just started drawing then,” Ariel said.
Sanaa, the youngest of the sisters, wanted to have a book too. She released “Moods” in 2017.
“Sanaa’s book is a little funny,” said Jones. “Her’s is just moods and attitudes. She correlates moods by color. It was something real silly she wanted to do, but yet thought provoking. I think of it from a social emotional learning perspective and how children correlate colors to emotions.”
“Moods” has a journal section so readers can reflect on how they feel. Sanaa said her mother and sister Ayana inspired her.
“It feels good,” she said about being a young author.
The eldest sister, Patricia, who attends Trinity Christian College, also published her book “Words of a Sunflower” in 2017.
Jones said that she’s working on bringing all four of her daughter’s voices together in one book. That will be their next project.
She said she published her first book to share her own story and also leave behind something for her children.
“I want to instill in them the idea of building legacy, so even when I die, I will live forever because I was able to take what I learned and give it to those I love the most, and who want to hear my story,” she said.