Taking Care of Our Children Through Literacy!
Ty Jackson is an Author and Publisher of Children’s Books
Big Head Books started in March, 2010 and “Danny Dollar” was published in December, 2010.
Hometown: Bronx, NY
When and how did you discover your passion?
I discovered my passion very late in life. It is wonderful how life really is what you make of it. At age 40 I was in corporate sales and completely miserable. Having never pursed my dream of becoming a doctor I was frustrated that I was “stuck” in a career that gave me no joy. One day my best friend and I were talking about how to empower our culture through finance. Knowing that it is easier to reach children than adults I created a character that was fun, cool, and intelligent with a strong work ethic thus Danny Dollar was born. Writing the story was so inspiring and fulfilling to me that I knew this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
But it wasn’t until I wrote my second children’s book, “When I Close My Eyes” that I quit my corporate job and became an author and publisher full time.
What has been your biggest obstacle you’ve faced in pursuing your passion?
I had no literary experience when I started writing my first book. After it’s completion I pushed it to over 150 agents to get it published. All rejected me. Many things went through my mind: I wasn’t smart enough; my book wasn’t good enough, etc. But in my heart I knew that my book was special and I was not going to let anyone, including myself, get in the way. Indeed, conquering my own fears and insecurities was my biggest obstacle, but not anymore. Now you can’t tell me there isn’t anything I can’t do. NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE because IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING!
What was the determining factor for you to step into your passion full-time?
Confidence within myself. I have never failed in anything I believed in and I know I was not going to fail at this. Although I am new and inexperienced in the literary world, I use that as an advantage. I don’t follow the rules because I don’t know the rules. It sounds crazy but my success has come from being unconventional. I have used my confidence and naive unconventional nature to get myself and my brand noticed.
What the best advice you ever received?
It was through the spirit of my 21 year old brother who lied in a casket after being shot and killed in a senseless act of violence hours after receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Buffalo University. As I looked down at him, so young, so full of potential and opportunities in life, I could hear him say to me words that I have heard before, but have taken for granted: “TOMORROW IS NOT PROMISED”.
From that moment I knew my absolute goal was to aggressively purse my dreams because tomorrow is not promised to anyone.
How do you give back?
I have given back by donating hundreds of books to churches, organizations and homeless shelters that couldn’t afford to purchase them. I have also made appearances at several organizations to speak and mentor to kids that otherwise may not have had the chance to speak to an author without charging a fee. I am also on the Board of Directors of a non-profit organization, The Christian Center, that feeds, clothes and shelters the less fortunate in my community.
Why pursue your passion?
Personally, for over 40 years I did not know what I wanted to do with my life. I was so scared that I was going to die with my song still in me. Now that I know who and what I am, I wake up everyday eager to let the world know my books exist. Socially, we live in a culture where children of color are in a downward spiral. There seems to be very little ambition and drive from our young people. Today’s kids live in the world of instant gratification. My books show children the power of using their imagination and working hard to achieve their dreams.
PEOPLE WHO HAVE INSPIRED ME
My mother Diane Brown, Activist Malcolm X, Author Richard Wright, Editor Susan L. Taylor, Entrepreneur Farrah Gray, Entrepreneur Russell Simmons, Chef Jeff Henderson, Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz, TV One Founder Cathy Hughes