Author, Dr. Thomishia Booker Details Why She Decided Black Boys Deserved a Bigger Voice in Literature

Author, Dr. Thomishia Booker is the CEO of Hey Carter! Books (HCB) and a Licensed Therapist. With a Masters in Social Work and Doctorate in Education Counseling Psychology, her background has served as a solid foundation for writing, educating, and advocating for building self-confidence and pride amongst children of color. Her work has been featured on Netflix, The TODAY Show, Forbes, Because of Them We Can, and many more.

We Empower Magazine got an exclusive interview with Dr. Thomishia Booker.

We would love to hear about your work with Hey Carter! Books, as a Licensed Therapist and your entrepreneurial journey. 

Hey Carter! Books (HCB) is focused on increasing diversity in children’s entertainment. As a brand, we understand the importance of messaging for children and work to ensure there are only accurate depictions of Black people. Our work has been featured on platforms such as Netflix, Forbes, The Today Show, and The Stephen Colbert Late Show. HCB has grown so much over the last 4 years.

We have expanded our product line and services to include events, apparel, and culturally relevant content creation for schools. My books are love letters to my inner child and my children. I apply my experiences as a mother, therapist, and educator to all that I create. My background as a licensed therapist, Masters in Social Work, and Doctorate in Education Counseling Psychology has served as a solid foundation for writing, educating, and the advocacy for building self-confidence and pride amongst children of color.

My entrepreneurial journey has been filled with many lessons. I am still learning. I didn’t have a foundation for learning how to run a business, so I learned through making a lot of mistakes. Once I realized that the mistakes came with the journey, I was able to adapt.

What inspired you to become an author?

I was inspired to go a little deeper into my writing when I was pregnant with my son. It was during that time something changed for me. I remember being so sad during that time so I began to write a lot. As I began to write stories for my son, I began telling my own story. I began to speak to my truth. Writing started to feel good. I was never formally introduced to being a writer but I know I was always meant to be here.

What do you enjoy most about the work that you do?

I enjoy creating worlds for children to feel connected to. I love to see their reactions when they’re turning the pages of a Hey Carter! book. It’s the “Hey, they look like me!” and the big smile that accompanies it. It means everything to me. I know what it feels like to not have representation and how it has impacted my life. I don’t want that for my community and I am doing my part to ensure they thrive and grow.

Please tell us about the process of self-negotiating and how you were able to land a deal with Netflix.

When I first connected with Netflix, I was shocked. It was during the beginning of the pandemic and the shelter in place order was still happening; It wasn’t too long after the murder of George Floyd. Netflix chose my book because it aligned with the Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards in the Identity Domain. Having a strong sense of self is foundational for children of all ages. The more you know who you are and what you value, the easier it is to respect others.

Our book Brown Boy Joy is about just that. It is about loving who you are as a Black child and for other children to see that same love and joy. Netflix was looking to elevate Black voices and created the original series Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices. Through a negotiation process, we were able to come to an agreement. I didn’t have a team during the negotiation process. I knew my brand was valuable and made sure to protect my brand. I self-negotiated that deal on my own and to this day is one of my proudest moments on this journey.

What are you currently working on?

My 8th title “Santa Claus is Coming to The Town” will be available October 31st at I am so excited about this project because I didn’t grow up seeing a Black Santa. I loved Christmas as a child but when I became a parent, I began to dissect the messaging a bit more. When my son started to ask about Santa, I didn’t know what to say. I was grappling with not wanting to steal his joy but also not perpetuating this idea that centers around
whiteness. This was very tough as a parent. Santa is a fictional character and his story can be changed by anyone.

If I don’t see my family represented, I create that space. Santa Claus is Coming to The Town takes place in Oakland, CA. If you are from the Bay, you call it “The Town”, which I make a play on in the title. It is a nod to Oakland, the city with a powerful story and connections to so many movements like The Black Panther Party. The book includes some of my favorite places in Oakland like Children’s Fairyland.

This is where my son, Carter attended one of his first protests. The book is written in rhyme and makes you feel warm when you read it. This holiday season we are doing a virtual storytime with a melanated Santa so children near and far can experience the joy of Black Santa. More Information can be found at

What is a quote that you live by?

“I accept all my flaws”

Sometimes, I can be overly critical of myself. It stems from my childhood trauma and I am working through it everyday. This quote reminds me that it is okay to just be me. It reminds me that my flaws are what make me special and unique. It is a constant reminder to show up as my whole self and my authentic self at all times. I have this written on the lock screen of my phone along with a few other mantras. I change them when I need something different.

In what ways do you use your platform to give back to others?

Hey Carter! Books recently launched a campaign to donate 50,000 books to schools. It is so important for children to have literature they can feel connected to. Culturally relevant content and curriculum is a requirement for learning. We can’t expect children to succeed when they can’t find themselves in the classroom. This campaign partners with business owners to carry out the mission of increasing representation for children in schools across the nation.

HCB also gives the gift of joy — — Black joy. There are so many barriers put in front of Black people and children that prevent us from being happy on a daily basis, so we deserve joy. Black children are often depicted as being problematic and aggressive which is farthest from the truth. HCB shows Black children an accurate reflection of themselves. There is no room for inaccurate images or messages in children’s literature.

What is a super fun fact about yourself that many may not be aware of?

I love to dance! I have been dancing since I was a little girl. I grew up having dance parties in my living room and I continue to do this with my own children. I enjoy all types of dancing from bachata to twerking. I love to move my body and what I miss most of all is dancing in Carnival. I missed the last two years because of Covid. Dancing in the carnival is the most invigorating experience. It’s so freeing and empowering and I highly recommend it.

How can we keep up to date with all you have going on?

You can find updates about Hey Carter! Books by joining our mailing list HERE, at, and on social media @HeyCarterBooks and my personal page @MelaninMommy.

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