By Melissa Meehan
Percy Shozi could never find what he was looking for.
He went to book shop after book shop In search of a book whose characters adequately reflected the culture and experiences of his daughters Nala and Zara.
So, with a noticeable gap in the market – he set out to write his own.
Who Am I? is the first book in the Zola series, a series that covers topics such as missing family overseas and learning about culture.
“I want my girls to grow up seeing kids that look like them in books,’ Percy said.
“I want them to see brown superheroes and strong brown girls. Growing up in Africa I never saw kids that looked like me, or houses that looked like mine in books.
“Sadly, little has changed so I decided to do something about it, for my kids.”
Percy’s own love of books started when he was a young boy growing up In South Africa.
But it was the stories he loved the most.
“Our stories of our culture are so beautiful – I just love them,” he said.
So what better place to start when writing a book.
“I said to my wife, even if It’s just for them (my daughters) to read It and be part of the character, to me that’s enough,” he said.
“So that’s the thing, my mind was blown – they loved it and wanted to read it all of the time.”
Who Am I? follows it’s character Zola (a nice play on his daughters names), a young guru of mixed African/Australia descent growing up in Melbourne, speaks Zulu and dreams about Africa.
It covers culture, music, food and everything about South Africa. Things you wouldn’t normally know unless you knew someone of that background.
But it’s not just for those with African heritage.
Percy says he’s had wonderful feedback from people of all backgrounds.
“Now that we are in a sense cut off from the rest of the world, thanks to Covid-19, sharing our culture and experiences is more important than ever before,” he said.
“And when the book was released, just before Christmas, I had much interest from Australian’s wanting more stories like this.
Follow ’Percy Shozi Childrens Author on Facebook to stay up to date with future books in this series.
Who Am I? is now on sale at https://www.percyspoems.com/online-store/Who-Am-I-p264567491 and some local book stores.