As a team of young Muslim immigrants predominantly raised in the West, we noticed a significant gap in the fictional heroes and characters we consumed daily. They often didn't look like us, speak like us, or practice any of the daily activities that were so integral to us growing up. We noticed common themes and stereotypes that were perpetuated about marginalized communities; black people were often depicted as angry troublemakers, men as assertive and successful individuals, and muslims - well, they almost never appeared in our cartoons and books, but when they did, it was almost never in a positive light. We researched the impact this gap can have on early childhood development and decided to tackle it by providing parents with easily accessible content that empowers and inspires their young ones.
What it does
Quenta is an online platform for parents looking to purchase children's books that are socially conscious, depict diverse ethnic communities, combat negative stereotypes, and particularly present young Muslim children with characters they can identify and relate with.
How we built it
We set up a Shopify store to sell our products. We created logo and branding for our organization, a marketing strategy, and a set of core principles and goals we hope to achieve. We used Adobe Creative Cloud to create and illustrate a children's book titled 'When I Grow Up', a prototype of the kind of content we hope to create.
Challenges we ran into
Developing our first prototype was a big challenge. Given only a few hours, we managed to delegate the tasks of writing, drawing, and compiling the book between 3 of our members while the rest of the team focused on research and compiling the presentation. Another major challenge we faced was the framing of our start-up. Although we wanted to publish our own books, we also wanted to start off with a large enough library to attract our first customers. We therefore decided to merge the two models; in addition to publishing our own books, we are also going to search for, and include in our online store, socially conscious books that align with our vision and values.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
In the span of 24 hours, we've accomplished the ability to thoroughly research and tap into an unknown growing market. Another accomplishment became our creation of a children's book as a prototype within those 24 hours which included writing, illustration, coloring, and compiling into a proper story.
What we learned
We learned there was a increasingly growing demand for children literature that caters and looks out to marginalized minorities and it fueled us to tap into this demand and create a platform where it could find something it had been missing. We also learned how important it is for children to be reading the right material to influence their thoughts and beliefs towards other individuals as well.
What's next for Quenta
The future of Quenta is to make it the go-to store for socially aware children's literature. The aim is to also make it a hub for different writers and illustrators to contribute their works and collaborate with one another under Quenta's online publishing.