Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Q&A with Akilah Trinay

Akilah Trinay with her daughter, Ziana Washington



Akilah Trinay is the author of the new children's picture book Potty-Training Day. Her other books include the novel Beyond the Hurt. She is the CEO of Revision Publishing, and she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Q: What inspired you to write Potty-Training Day?


A: In 2021, I released the initial edition of the book while going through the potty-training journey with my daughter as a co-author.


This book served as our own source of motivation and celebration during a sometimes frustrating process. Contrary to the seemingly effortless portrayals we encountered in various books, this book aimed to shed light on the reality that potty-training can be quite demanding.

As a parent, it was challenging for me to connect with the content we read.


However, this book provides a more realistic depiction of our everyday experiences, showcasing that despite numerous moments of triumph, we still encountered setbacks.


It emphasizes the importance of embracing the tough times and getting ready for your child's growth. My daughter genuinely loves it.

This book, even at her current age of 5, helped her learn and embrace potty training and reading in a unique way. Having a relatable character, who happened to look just like her (that's her, haha), kept her motivated throughout the process. 


The story shares her account of the process through her experience. We included many of her words and our experience together. It's incredible to see that she practically memorized the entire book at just 2 years old! This was definitely a success story for me.

In response to the requests voiced by several parents who have sons, I reached out to a few trusted fathers to provide their insights and experiences, as I myself do not have a son.


Although the overall process is quite similar, I made sure to incorporate certain nuances to accommodate the unique perspectives of raising boys.


I found an amazing illustrator to create the beautiful illustrations, and to keep both books streamlined, decided to re-release the original as a second edition at the same time of launching the boys' version.


Q: What do you think Stephanie Hider's illustrations add to the story?


A: Stephanie Hider's illustrations truly brought the story to life. We collaborated closely to capture the emotions and unique features that depicted the little ones' personal experiences.


Personally, I admired her illustrative style and was keen on ensuring that the characters were lively and vibrant when painted on the page.


Q: The book is being published in English and Spanish editions--how did that come about?


A: I reside in California, where there is a substantial community of Spanish speakers. It is my utmost priority to ensure that the book brings joy to everyone who encounters it.


Since my early years, I have been learning/studying Spanish and have developed a deep fondness and reverence for the language.


Q: What do you hope kids (and the adults in their lives) take away from the book?


A: I hope that parents and caregivers are aware of this incredible book that can serve as a valuable resource for those who may have hesitant or unprepared children when it comes to potty training.


This book is an excellent supplement to other potty training materials, bringing in diversity, promoting literacy, and introducing new perspectives.


I hope they feel enthusiastic about engaging in baby-led potty training and find reassurance in seeing characters that resemble them, even if their children are experiencing regression, setbacks, or slow progress.


For the little ones, I want them to be empowered, to have fun and enjoy the time they get to spend with their parents.


I want children of color to identify with the characters, while other children can see characters who may not resemble them, which can broaden their understanding and acceptance of diversity.


Parents can feel reassured they are not alone during the potty training process.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: Currently, I am in the process of completing the follow-up to my adult fiction novel, Beyond the Hurt. The highly anticipated sequel is set to release later this year.


Additionally, I dedicate my time to assisting my clients in getting their own manuscripts published. I organize and conduct informative writing workshops focused on the intricacies of self-publishing.


Lastly, I am diligently preparing for an exciting book tour scheduled for Spring 2024.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: In my opinion, it is vital for young children to encounter characters who mirror their own identity. Ensuring representation in toilet training holds great significance.


Potty-Training Day: For Boys aims to enhance the representation of BIPOC fathers who are guiding their sons through the toilet training process.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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