Friday, August 5, 2011

Interview with Author LaNiyah Bailey

LaNiyah Bailey is a 6‐year‐old author with a message for children like her – just because you are bigger than other kid, that doesn’t mean that people have the right to bully you.

In her debut book, Not FAT Because I Wanna Be, LaNiyah details the struggle of Jessica, a fictional girl who has an underlying medical issue that causes her to gain weight. Bullied by her peers, Jessica learns to accept her body and eventually opens up about her condition to her classmates.

LaNiyah is not only speaking to other children through her book, but has become an
advocate for anti‐bullying organizations.

With a message that words can hurt and that not all weight gain is due to an unhealthy lifestyle, LaNiyah hopes her book will enlighten and entertain her young readers.

I just wish this book can help other kids like me...and I wish it can help people see that [even though] you might be big that you are not unhealthy or… a monster like people may make you feel.”

Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became an author.

LaNiyah: Well, I am a six year, kindergartner from Chicago who loves being a kid. I became an author when I told my mom that I wanted to write a book to help me feel better about myself because I was getting teased and bullied a lot at daycare and other places.

Tell us about your current book. Give a short summary; tell us about your publisher, and also how you got the idea for this book.

LaNiyah: My new book is called “Not fat because I wanna be,” and it’s a book about a girl named Jessica who went through a lot of the same things as I did with getting teased and bullied because of her weight. All the kids teased her but didn’t know that she wasn’t big because she was unhealthy but, because of medical reasons. Then finally, Jessica decided that enough was enough and stood up to the teasers and bullies.  My mom (LaToya White) published my book online and then her and my dad (Songo Bailey) had them printed out for sale on my website. My mother just created my own publishing company called Bright Girl publishing and now my book goes through it.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

LaNiyah: Well, this was my first time writing a book. It wasn’t that hard because I just told my mommy what I wanted in the book and she did the rest.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

LaNiyah: I enjoy writing because it’s fun to get your feelings out and it makes you feel a lot better about yourself and your problems.

What is the most difficult part of writing?

LaNiyah: The hard part is that I was afraid that people may not like what I wrote about and think that it’s not good enough.

Why do you like working with children and teens?

LaNiyah: I like working with kids because I’m six and they are young too so, it’s easier and fun to talk to them.

Do you make school visits or do speaking engagements? If so, please describe a typical presentation.

LaNiyah: Yes I do. My mom and dad come with me most of the time. A normal presentation is about 15 minutes. First, I have to focus and pray. My mom starts it off and then she introduces me.  I talk about why I wrote the book and how we go the book out and we talk about bullying and what happens when a child is bullied. We offer our ideas and support. We then read our favorite parts from the book and then we allow the audience to ask us questions. That’s it. We are working on a long presentation now.

Do you have a website? If so, please give the URL. If not, where can readers go online to learn more about your book(s) and to order?

LaNiyah: Yes, my website is

What are you working on right now?

LaNiyah: Right now, I am on summer break, so we are working hard on promoting the book. We go places and just pass the book out to kids that we see for free, so they can tell more people about it. I want to go to different schools and children’s hospitals to talk to kids and read my book. 

What is your best tip for aspiring authors?

LaNiyah: I would say, never be afraid to tell your story and make sure you have fun while doing it.

What advice would you give children and teens as they prepare for life?

LaNiyah: My mother can answer this because, I am only six. (chuckles)

LaToya White – Mom: Well, the advice I would give children and teens as they prepare for life is to be yourself, be true to yourself, don’t follow anyone be a leader. Stay focused on your education because without an education you cannot go anywhere in life. Treat people the way you would like to be treated and never judge a book by its cover. If you do those things, you are guaranteed self-happiness.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readership?

LaNiyah: Yes, I would like to tell everyone that bullying is not cool, it makes people sad and it makes some people commit suicide. This is really sad to hear about. If you are being bullied, please don’t be afraid to tell a grown up or if you are the bully think about how you would feel if it were done to you? Then I hope that would make them stop.

Thank you very much to Families Matter for having us here today. We would like everyone to get a copy of the book and to come to my website to leave their comments and stories. It is:

                  Her book tells more than a story about size. It shows what it means to be bullied.

This is an author you want to meet and a story all children need to read. This girl has more insight than some adults and she demonstrates that with her book. Visit her website at for more information. Look for  a complete review here on Aug 7th.

Book Giveaway!
·         Join the Book Lovers Blog Hop. (One entry)
     ·         Follow the World of Ink Tours and leave a comment per tour blog stop. (must leave a real comment about the author, tour or book. Saying “this is cool” or “I love your book” will not count.) Make sure to include your safe email so we can contact you if you are the winner. Example: vsgrenier AT storiesforchildrenpublishing DOT com. (One bonus entry per blog stop)
·         Ask a question per World of Ink Tour blog stop. (One bonus entry per tour blog stop)

You can find out more about LaNiyah Bailey, her book and World of Ink Author/Book Tour at There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with LaNiyah and her mother, and the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions. LaNiyah will be checking in throughout the tour and is offering an additional giveaway for those who leave comments throughout the tour.

In addition, come listen to Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network show: Stories for Children at The hosts VS Grenier, Kris Quinn Chirstopherson and Irene Roth will be chatting with LaNiyah and her mother about NOT FAT Because I Wanne Be, being a youth writer, publishing a book and her experiences along with tips on how to deal with bullies.

The show will be live August 29, 2011 at 8pm EST. You can tune in at the World of Ink Network site at You can listen/call in at (714) 242-5259. (Note: if you can’t make the show, you can listen on demand at the same link.)

LaNiyah Bailey's Next Stop will be on August 6th at American Chronicle


  1. Wow!!! Right on Laniyah Bailey, I commend you for speaking up and taking a stand. I was bullied as a teen and never told anyone, I had no support from my family, so I often contemplated suicide. :(

    I want to thank you, your mom and dad for being proactive with this inspiring message.

  2. This is amazing, I cannot tell you how impressed I am by this girls courage! Keep up the great work. It's a job well done!

    Teresa B.

  3. LaNiyah and her Family are superheroes. They are taking on the obesity crisis with education,advocacy and awareness. I am honoured to know the Family . Obese children are not the enemy.

  4. This is excellent! She may be the next president of the USA. This little girl has a "voice"


  5. LaNiyah and her Family need our help to share her work and vision. Obese children are not the enemy, and we can promote acceptance , or we can continue to allow the media to shape the problem into , or onto the individual.

    Not fat cause I wanna be is her mantra. How can the media report on childhood obesity and sell junk foods that contribute to the problem. The is eager to support LaNiyah's work. What can you do to help?

  6. Great comments and well deserved. This is a fabulous book for kids and will bless those who read it. Kudos to the author and her family for trying to make healthy changes in the behaviors and mindsets of our kids.



*Stories for Children Publishing, LLC. (SFC) and its divisions do not receive any compensation for product reviews beyond a sample and/or limited access to a paid website. SFC donates all books sent for review to a charitable organization. SFC may do a contest or giveaway of samples we receive.