Kimberly Faye Spencer’s new children’s book was not just written for the youngest members of the audience. “But I’m Too Little” was independently published by this first-time author as a way to encourage kids, and adults, to trust in their abilities, to see beyond their obstacles, and chase their dreams.
At just 29-years-old, Kimberly’s illustrious career proves to impress. She is a culinary school graduate who started her own cupcake business called Graffiti Cupcakes, later going on to become a dedicated nanny, which led her to design and develop a more comfortable way for parents to feed their infants. The Chase Pillow is sold on her website Mama Llama Baby (MamaLlamaBaby.com), and Kimberly is happy to say there are more products and services on the way.
The entrepreneur now calls Denver home but is originally from St. Louis, Missouri. As a young girl, she always had the vision to create a life she didn’t have access to, leading to a work ethic that has driven the independent businesswoman to success (she is the first one in her family to go to college). She is an avid reader and is especially fond of children’s books, even gifting her partner a kid's book every anniversary.
“People often don’t look at children’s books as something that an adult can get something from,'' Kimberly shares.
Although not a mother herself, Kimberly has been a nanny in Denver for about seven years, and it has been one of her most rewarding roles yet, even inspiring her to self-publish her first book. She noticed she was giving consistent motivation to one of the young boys she cared for—resulting in the discovery of his self-confidence—and so the book began. The whole thing was written to completion in the digital pages of her phone’s Notes app, during days spent nannying and playing with the kids.
“Growing up, I didn’t read many books with characters that looked like me, and girls aren't often portrayed as people who can overcome their own obstacles, usually it’s a boy at the forefront,” Kimberly says.
She chose the main character’s name, Kai, after her niece and with the intent to create a story where every kid could see themselves on these pages.
“It’s also about a white kid reading the book who can recognize that a black girl can be the center of attention in a story,” she expresses. “As I was writing I lived through the character because I have always had someone to motivate me and tell me that I can do it. There is nothing stopping you but yourself.”
Realizing she had the tools and resources to begin on her own, Kimberly partnered with illustrator and Colorado local Wes Noyes as well as marketing expert Amelia Horton who she has worked with on multiple projects to independently publish the book in 2019. (It is available for purchase on Amazon).
“If we always see the obstacle in front of us, we won’t get done what we want to. And there’s nothing wrong with starting small,” she expresses. “I stay active and stay learning because starting a business is not easy, whether it’s writing a book or starting a physical company. There are a lot of sad days and happy days.”
She emphasizes the behind-the-scenes work it takes to be an entrepreneur and reminds her fellow community members to appreciate a creator’s work for what it is and support local businesses and products. Her journey has taught her to adapt when things shake out differently than expected, remain resilient and stay focused on her goals. Kimberly’s partner Bryan has played an integral role in the book creation process by reading through the book with her, looking at images, and providing optimism each step of the way.
“Even as adults, we like someone to tell us that we can do it, then discovering for ourselves that we really can,” she says.
Excerpt from Kimberly’s book: “But I’m Too Little”
“Later that day, Kai and her mom went to the park. There, she saw the elephant statue that she’s been too afraid to climb. Today was different though. Today Kai wanted to prove that she was brave like all the other kids.
She started to climb, but kept slipping and falling off. Her mom cheered, "You can do it Kai! You can do it!" But Kai got frustrated and yelled, "But I'm too little!"