Hacks Newsletter Week 119- Stella Keeps the Sun Up


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Stella Keeps the Sun Up

As a mother of 9 and almost 7 year old daughters, I still relish whimsical children’s books that feature the joys of childhood. As a working mom who writes as a side hustle,I also deeply admire Clothilde Ewing’s choice to augment her past/present day jobs at the Oprah Winfrey Show, on President Obama’s campaign team, with the City of Chicago, and most recently for The Chicago Community Trust, to write a new children’s book, Stella Keeps the Sun Up–Out this week
Four years ago, Clothilde read this op-ed in the New York Times written by Denene Millner, a book editor and a mom who was having trouble finding whimsical children’s books featuring a Black character. Clothilde had similar experiences finding adventurous stories with a Black character for her two children. She pinned the article to her vision board and started writing; two years later, Clothilde landed a contract with Simon & Schuster with the very same editor who had inspired this journey. Stella Keeps the Sun Up is the first of the Stella series, a character named after her 7-year-old daughter. 
Read on for an exclusive Q&A with Clothilde for #hacksthenewsletter.
In honor of Women’s History Month, I encourage you to support Clothilde and buy Stella Keeps the Sun Up Today!
AJR: How does Stella in your book and your daughter Stella differ? How are they similar?
CE: This series is inspired by both of my children, who are now 5 and 7-years-old. They are both wildly imaginative and can have the time of their lives with a few sticks and mud puddles. The things they say, the questions they ask and their way of seeing the world are hilarious and often refreshing. I started keeping a journal of some of their greatest hits and it brings a smile to my face every time and provides great fodder for stories that will be featured in the Stella series.  
AJR: Who are the women who inspire you most and why?
CE: My mother and grandmother have had a great impact on my life and continue to inspire me. My grandmother passed away at 98-years-old two years ago and she was a lifelong learner and entrepreneur who was style personified. She managed to go to college at a time when women, and women of color in particular, were not welcomed with open arms and went on to earn a nursing degree. She was also an entrepreneur who had a successful side hustle as a Mary Kay representative. Her daughter is my mother and I hit the jackpot. Also, a nurse, she is the glue that bonds our family. She is the kindest person who wants the best for people around her — not because she expects anything in return, but because that is how she is wired. The two of them make me want to be a better person and push me to make the most of my opportunities. 
AJR: If there were one thing about publishing your first children’s book that you wish you had known before you wrote it, what would it be?
CE: This is going to sound crazy, but I don’t think I fully appreciated that I would be promoting myself in any way. When I went to college, I majored in broadcast journalism and political science, with the expectation that I would be a television news reporter. When I found out I could be a producer, I was sold. I have since spent two decades in communications and have always been behind the scenes. Having my name out front is a new space for me. I didn’t fully appreciate how vulnerable I would feel in this process. Thankfully, I see my work and the motivation for me to write as something that is bigger than me and so I am able to get over myself (most of the time).
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WHAT: Talk & Taste Finance & Wine
WHEN: Wednesday, March 9th, 3:00 p.m. Cental / 4:00 p.m. Eastern
WHEREInstagram Live! @alyssajrapp

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There will be no end to the curveballs that life throws. As soon as you feel comfortable, another setback or new challenge will arise. Alyssa Rapp is driven to help people like her—the doers, those who keep swinging—seek to succeed in both life and career. Every challenge is an opportunity, are you making the most of yours?

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