Updated: Mar 5
Tiffany Obeng is a U.S.-based lawyer and author of educational and inspiring children's picture books. Published under her imprint, Sugar Cookie Books, Tiffany's books focus on teaching children about potential careers, building their self-esteem, developing social-emotional learning skills, and exploring the seasons of the year.
Her goal, in particular, is to publish books that feature Black children and their families in spaces where they've historically been absent.
Tiffany's books include popular kids' career books Andrew Learns about Lawyers and Andrew Learns about Engineers; the season book Spencer Knows Spring, and the honesty book Scout's Honor.
In this special Q&A we learn more about Tiffany's career series, her inspiration, and what she hopes to bring children with her books.
1. What inspired you to write this Career Series?
I was inspired to write the Andrew's Career Day (aka Andrew Learns about) book series because I want to inspire children, especially Black children, to aspire to be anything they want to be.
There was a time when Black children could only aspire to become the best domestic servants or field workers. I want them to know that the possibilities are now endless. I write these books to educate children about the various career options they may not otherwise come to know.
Additionally, I hope that introducing careers to Black children will have the long-term effect of diversifying professions that currently lack diversity, such as lawyer and engineer.
2. Tell us about the books in the series and why you chose these particular careers?
To date, there are five career books and one companion journal. In order of publication, the book Andrew Learns about Actors came about from my and my son's shared enjoyment of reading and TV. Watching him play along with the TV characters made me wonder if he knew that the characters were played by actors.
The book Andrew Learns about Teachers was inspired by my husband, mom, and so many family members who work in education. During the pandemic, I also observed firsthand that teachers were sort of unsung heroes. I want to honor them, as well as show children, especially boys, that they can aspire to become teachers.
Andrew Learns about Lawyers was inspired by my childhood. At the time, I didn't know what a lawyer was or did, but I was determined to become a lawyer anyway because people I trusted said I should. Through this book, I want to expose children and their parents to the legal field and to the various avenues available in the field.
Andrew Learns about Engineers was inspired by my cousin and best friend who are both engineers.
Andrew Learns about Scientists was once again inspired by my son who swears to become a paleontologist one day. The companion journal was inspired by my strong desire to expose children to many careers as quickly as possible.
The career books have been published about six months apart and focus on a single career at a time. However, the journal features 10 careers, including the five mentioned here. It's also interactive and builds confidence in kids. I have plans to create more volumes of the journal.
3. What do you want to tell readers with your stories?
Every career book ends with Andrew's parents encouraging him as follows, "You can be anything you want to be!" That's the message I want to leave with readers (both children and their parents).
4. How do the illustrations complement the text?
I appreciate my illustrator, Ira Baykovska, so much. She has done an amazing job bringing the Andrew career books to life. The illustrations feature diverse characters and Ira does a beautiful job rendering images of Black historical figures. She also does a phenomenal job capturing Andrew and his essence.