“Who doesn’t love animal stories?”, my nine-year old daughter asked rhetorically.  I was taken aback by the clarity in her young mind regarding what is universally relatable – a path to tackling a significant problem today; how there is not enough diversity with inclusion – where we truly accept one another.  We see this at work and in society at large. It really affects all aspects of a person’s life. It profoundly impacts the wellness of our country and the world.

As mentioned in my recent Thrive Global piece, it has become increasingly evident to me and many others that a large part of the solution is inspiring commitment to diversity with inclusion from the heart and that we need to start doing this when we’re young.

My own mother, Po-Ling Ng, instilled in me from a very young age the fundamental belief that anything is possible, regardless of your background as long as we help one another to succeed.  She was widowed at the age of 32 and was left with four very young children to raise on a social worker’s salary. Instead of giving up, she persevered for her purpose and vision for her authentic self by obtaining two master’s degrees and devoting her life to the community, helping everyone from young children to senior citizens.  Fast-forward four decades and over a hundred awards later, we cannot even imagine all the lives Po-Ling has changed for the better. She attributes much of her success to others helping her – many of whom are from very different backgrounds than her own.

I summarized the key considerations I learned from my mother in a recent business book “PO-LING POWER”.  I was promptly notified by my daughter that while she loved the PO-LING principles, she didn’t think that any children would want to read my book! 

She immediately offered though that we should write animal stories reflecting her grandmother’s wisdom so other children could understand it and benefit from it.  

My seven-year old son then chimed in that these different animals should come together and help each other to succeed.  They both clearly knew their target audience and recognized the importance of creating solutions that would be age-appropriate.

Over the past two years, we have collaborated with their cousin (who is turning 13 soon!) to transform into reality their brilliant idea to write and illustrate animal stories based on the principles in my business book.

Now, they are proud best-selling authors of two books, including the recently published children’s books  “The Persevering Penguins and Pals” and “The Persevering Penguins and Pals: Propelling One Another to Success.” 

Excerpt from the chapter book “The Persevering Penguins and Pals: Propelling One Another to Success” and from the picture book “The Persevering Penguins and Pals” below: