Grace LaJoy Henderson, PhD, author-illustrator of The Gracie Series.


Staff Report

Kansas City, MO — Determined to enhance the level of diversity for school age children, especially as it relates to the availability of picture books with black main characters, children’s author and illustrator Grace LaJoy Henderson has released a new children’s book series. Although the author initially created The Gracie Series for entertainment, the series is now playing a role in solving the need for culturally relevant books for diverse young readers everywhere.

“The Gracie Series was published at a time when educators are beginning to recognize the need to include books, in the classroom and school libraries, which feature main characters that look like their brown students,” said LaJoy, while talking about her book series.

“The main character in this book is a little brown girl named Gracie, who gets into interesting situations. Gracie is inspired by my own childhood,” she added. According to the author, the series is helping parents and educators to connect with their children in a more dynamic way.

LaJoy said the Gracie Series has already received a phenomenal response from school principals, teachers and librarians, and they are adding the books to their classrooms and libraries. According to the author, she wants her readers to laugh and she wants teachers to have fun while engaging their students in humorous stories; while using the discussion questions in the back of each book to enhance reading comprehension skills. Moreover, she wants readers to learn valuable lessons from the key themes: determination, persistence, resilience, problem-solving, acceptance and family.

In addition to The Gracie Series, LaJoy is an author of 26 books and her work is being recognized worldwide.

The Gracie Series is available at in hardcover, softcover and Kindle eBook. To learn more, visit