Former San Ramon resident and entrepreneur Vona Hill recently launched "Little Miss Everything," the first installment of her new children's book series by the same name.
Written and illustrated by Hill, it's an adventurous story of an imaginative young girl named Rashada who needs to decide for career day what she wants to be when she grows up.
With the help of her family, Rashada meets 10 real-life Black role models who broke glass ceilings to achieve success -- a world-class chef, an award-winning graphic designer, trail-blazing race car drivers, a CEO and executive directors. They inspire her to reach for greatness in whatever career path she chooses.
"There aren't nearly enough books about ambitious little Black girls, and because I was an ambitious little Black girl, myself, I saw the need for this book," Hill said. "I am self-assured, confident and have a 'can-do' way of looking at every obstacle, and I know my self-worth."
"And sadly, all of these empowering attributes are often frowned upon, just because I am a woman and just because I am Black. This book inspires that can-do spirit in every child," she added.
Her book is also valuable for white children, she has noted.
"When children of all races are given Black role models to look up to, Black success can be normalized -- and when Black success is normalized, there's an erosion of systemic inequality," Hill said in a recent TALKRADIO.NYC interview.
Hill's list of achievements is long: a chemical engineer, business strategist, serial entrepreneur, youth football coach, instructor, graphic designer, journalist, activist, wife and mother to three boys. In July, she launched Black Vanguard Alliance, a community of Black and non-Black member-allies to formulate systemic solutions to racism.
When everyone went into isolation, Hill said on the radio show, she put the book on her bucket list and went to work. A Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to self-publish the book exceeded her $25,000 goal with more than 173 backers.
Hill said she remembered as a girl when her mother mentioned "jack of all trades, master of none."
"I really took issue with the 'master of none' because I was 100% certain I could at least master a couple of them, and it was likely that I was going to master many of them so why wouldn't I be able to master everything?" Hill recalled with a laugh. "In my heart of hearts, I am Little Miss Everything. She is my role model."
Hill and her family are now in greater Boston. They lived in San Ramon from 2009-11, where she was an active member of the San Ramon Chapter of the MOMS Club and also started a group called Black Parents of Tri-Valley. She has fond memories of playdates at Super Franks in Pleasanton, feeding ducks with her kids at Blackhawk Plaza, and fun family dinners at Campo di Bocce in Livermore.
"Little Miss Everything" is available for $14.99 at Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com. For more information, visit littlemisseverything-books.com.