For African-American families in the United States, finding educational resources for African history can be difficult. However, there is hope. Teni and Tayo Creations, a one-stop shop for books, toys, and accessories, are designed to celebrate diverse characters and African stories beautifully. Founded by author Simisayo Brownstone, the brand brings STEM projects and inclusive narratives to school-age children. They aim to create books and toys that are fun and captivating for youth and filled with important lessons that parents and teachers will love sharing.
Omobola Imoisili (author name Simisayo Brownstone), CEO of Teni & Tayo creations, founded the brand after relocating to Los Angeles from Nigeria and wanting to give her small daughters something representative of their heritage while they attend school. Imiosili states, “I was born and raised in Nigeria and was always surrounded by people that looked like me, but now I’m raising two young daughters in California, and we are a minority. After my girls were born, it didn’t take long for me to notice the lack of representation in the everyday things for kids and the lack of awareness when it came to African culture and history. For example, most people only think of poverty and war when they think of Africa, but I wanted my daughters to feel proud of their heritage and to know that there is more to Africa than that. That’s when I decided to start something on my own. My hope is that the products I create appeal to children from all ethnic groups, while at the same allowing black and African children to feel more empowered and proud to be who they are.”
From African proverbs in a toy box or a lesson about African geography in a kid’s activity book, Teni and Tayo Creations feature a children’s collection with an African vibe. Mascots Feyi Fay, a superhero fairy, and Captain Nosa, a Nigerian scientist, and superhero, encourage kids to do well in school and promote a love of learning in all the brand’s offerings.
In addition to books, toys, backpacks, and apparel, classes offer a well-rounded experience that keeps kids engaged. Courses offered include Build A Toy STEM workshops, African Folktale series, and author school visits with Simisayo Brownstone. Classes are offered both virtually and in person. With every workshop, toy, and product purchased, there’s a pinch of African influence and a celebration of diversity. Even if formal educational institutions may not traditionally offer African history, now there is a space to bring that history home.
For more information, visit https://www.teniandtayo.com.
Chante’ Gamby is a writer passionate about social justice and empowering others to live their healthiest lives. You can follow her on Facebook at Fringefam, Instagram@fringegram, or on her website, www.fringefam.com.