Storytelling to stimulate the imaginations of children has been an integral ingredient in the cultural history of African Americans for hundreds of generations. That very special genre has been permeated over the past several decades by new voices in the category of children’s fiction, and few as prolifically as rolling out publisher Munson Steed who is making the children’s literature space more culturally elegant with each new release.
Steed’s Playful Genius brand is rounding the corner on toys and games for African-American and multicultural kids in a dynamic environment cultivated over two decades in the literary world.
The internationally recognized publisher has consistently been at the forefront of creating innovative education and entertainment concepts for African Americans, and the Playful Genius franchise of culturally relevant books, toys and games for kids are no exception. Playful Genius is lightning in a bottle and engaged kids and parents are riding the new franchise’s multi-faceted wave.
Seeded from the Little Professor Skye series, Steed’s initial foray into literature, the book created for multicultural children featuring a young black girl genius has evolved into a keepsake collection of colorful characters and age-engaging stories, which includes its newest addition, Atom Smart for kids ages four through nine.
“While at a black author’s conference, a little black boy and his father told me how much they loved “Little Professor Skye” but wondered when I would create a book for black boys. This is how the book Atom Smart was born,” explained Steed.
“I truly believe there’s an opportunity for all of us to tell unique stories. With my book, Little Professor Skye, I wanted to document my god-daughters experiences. I wanted to create a story around her because she’s been exposed to so much from visiting Morehouse College to seeing Michelle Obama. I wanted her to be a positive influence on young black girls because representation is extremely important.
The Playful Genius’ ever-expanding product line offers coloring books, tote bags, animation and music on digital platforms, as the brand’s signature character, Little Professor Skye, a STEM scholar effortlessly moves into the world of music to expand her history-making come-up.
Steed’s winning formula with The Plush Crew children’s book for toddlers, which follows the phenomenally successful Alphabet Safari is continued in Atom Smart, with engaging illustrations in a child-friendly print format.
Steed’s Playful Genius-Atom Smart series features space, math, sports and science disciplines with coloring book illustrations that include intelligence stickers to encourage personal achievement. While the ambitious Atom Smart engages with engineers and creative sidekicks, the book is perfect for Smart families with emerging achievers.
“Playful Genius is creating culturally relevant toys and books that are essential to preserving our creative integrity and promoting diversity in the books and culture that our children read, as well as develop new capacities given the brilliance of the characters we produce and feature,” explained Steed.