In March 2022, Brittany Dias, children's book author, speaker and entrepreneur, visited Buena Vista Elementary School in Auburn, Washington. She visited each classroom to read her book Ava & Mae Own a Lemonade Stand and talk with students about writing stories and publishing a book.
The students were thrilled to meet Dias. Amber Nelson, first grade teacher said, “We’ve been learning about influential women this month. One of my students raised his hand and told Ms. Dias, ‘We are learning about important women like you.’ It was so sweet. My kids were in awe of her.”
“Kids are so uninhibited," said Dias. "You can really see their wheels turning. The fourth graders were especially excited to read with me. Each time Ava and Mae solved a problem, the kids would repeat the lines from the book with me. ‘No matter the time, no matter the day, Ava and Mae will find a way!’ Hearing them recite it with me over and over with such enthusiasm was very affirming."
Ava & Mae Own a Lemonade Stand is the story of two little girls that problem-solve their way to success. When their lemonade stand business runs out of supplies, the girls persevere through the challenges and find solutions to their problems.
Dave Morgan, Buena Vista principal, shared photos on a school Facebook post and wrote, “Not only is Ava & Mae filled with humor, surprises and playful illustrations, but the message inspires students to feel empowered in their work and creativity.”
One little girl told Dias that she hopes to be a children’s book illustrator. A boy in the same class was thrilled to meet a real author because he plans to be one when he grows up. He’s well on his way because one of his hand-made books is available to borrow from the school library!
The older students were excited to meet Dias and even asked her to read the book to them. “My students were highly engaged,” said Vicki Rutherford, seventh grade teacher. “They had many questions about writing books, the publishing process and if she will be writing more stories about Ava and Mae.”
“Yes,” said Dias. “I’m already planning a second story. In the next book, the girls put on a fashion show and, of course, face more challenges to overcome.”
Dias shared with students that being open and flexible is an important skill for future authors. She never imagined she’d one day write a children’s book. It was her career in public health that led her to the unexpected opportunity. Dias is working to help people take charge of their health and to push past barriers to access healthcare. She is starting this essential work by empowering children to be the writers of their own destiny.
The lessons learned in Ava & Mae are timeless; perseverance and resilience are character traits people can develop at any age. “Sometimes, when I’m feeling overwhelmed about what I want to accomplish, I think about Ave and Mae,” said Dias. “And I hope the kids who read the book will, too. There will always be challenges in our lives, but through perseverance, we can find a way, just like Ava and Mae.”
To learn more about author, Brittany Dias, meet her at special events or invite her to speak at your school, visit avaandmae.com.
Amazon's Author Bio: Brittney Dias is a Racial Equity Advisor for Ratio Innovation Management, a platform that connects the supply and demand of innovation. In her role, she researches and implements strategies that dismantle barriers for Black entrepreneurs, focussing on barriers that affect Black youth. Brittney was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Public Health-Global Health from the University of Washington. During her time at UW, she gained experience in Childhood Developmental Psychology research at the Early Childhood Cognition Lab. She is passionate about children, human rights and wellness.