Ylleya Fields is a mother of six — four daughters and two sons — which is unquestionably a full-time job in and of itself. But Fields is never one to be overwhelmed, and her kids actually inspired her new career rather than hindering it. As she was raising her daughters, she realized there was a dearth of beautiful, inspiring children’s books about girls of color available. So she made her own: The award-winning Princess Cupcake Jones series, which now boasts five titles starring little elementary school queen — er, princess — Cupcake Jones as she goes on adventures and learns valuable lessons.
We asked Fields for her parenting essentials — the time-saving, fun-injecting, health-boosting recommendations that help her thrive as a writer, creator, entrepreneur and mom of so many kids. She’s got some “EveryMom” picks for sure (Becoming, Peppa Pig) but she’s also got some surprising recs you may not even know you’re missing out on (um, a sports podcast and a certain middle school favorite beauty product we didn’t realize still exists?!). Read on for more.
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The podcast I have on repeat
“A great family friend has a podcast called Knuckleheads, which has great sports interviews and gives you a deeper insight into the struggles professional athletes endure. They have probably the last interview Kobe Bryant ever did.”
The books my kids are currently obsessed with
What I’m currently reading myself
“Becoming by Michelle Obama. A great book by a phenomenal woman.”
The snacks I always keep on hand for my kids
“Well, my house is full of food allergies, so we have to be careful with snacks. But I should own stock in Yum Earth gluten-free gummy bears. My son has an apple and a gluten allergy, and they are literally the only fruit snacks that are free of both. Honestly, I think I love them more than him! We also adore Pamela’s Gluten Free Graham Crackers. They taste amazing.”
The beauty product that’s always in my bag
“Lip Smackers. I don’t really wear makeup, but I have to have some form of lip balm, and they are hands-down my favorite. The vanilla scent is the best.”
The apps that make my life as a parent easier
“Does Waze count? It has gotten me through many dance competition journeys! Our hospital, Cleveland Clinic has an Express Care app, and that has saved us from quite a few emergency room visits, which no one really wants to go to during this time.”
The parenting accounts I love to follow on Instagram
“I love The Prince and the P. The Mom (Shay) says really important things about culture and has great hair info. For new mom accounts, PsychedMommy is amazing and helps to reinforce that feeling overwhelmed at times is ok.”
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Ylleya Fields, mom of 4 & author of the Princess Cupcake Jones book series, is today's #MomCrushMonday 💕 While nurturing her daughters' love of reading, Ylleya found a crucial gap in the types of books available for them. She then created @princesscupcakejones to fill that gap & meet a huge cultural need in children's literature. When asked about her inspiration she says, "My children are the inspiration for Princess Cupcake Jones. Her physical traits are inspired by my 2 eldest daughters. At the time when I decided to write my children's book, there weren't many African American picture books. Many of the books that were available didn't have themes that my daughters could relate to." Since then, Ylleya has written 5 books in the series where readers follow the lovable little miss Cupcake on her every day adventures learning important life lessons along the way. Thank you #YlleyaFields for your vision and your passion. #momcrushmonday #momscrushingit #empowerhermoms #momsinaction #empowerherempowerme #readingisFUNdamental #childrensbooks
The TV shows I actually enjoy watching with my kids
“We watch a lot of Nick Jr. and Netflix. Tons of Peppa Pig, Bubble Guppies, Motown Magic, and Miraculous Ladybug!”
The kids music I don’t hate playing around the house
“Yes, my daughter Grey Skye Evans has her own music. I love it because it has adult type beats without adult lyrics.”
The subscriptions I love for the kids
“Someone subscribed to a monthly book service for my children as a gift. They love receiving a new book every month in the mail. I believe it is Dolly Parton’s book club!”
The non-screen toy or activity that keeps my kids busy for hours
“Dancing! We have dance fights almost daily at our home. Also, just good outside fun. Whether it’s the playground or a backyard water slide. We make sure we get out.”
My favorite kids bath/skincare products
“I love Cerave. My kids have pretty sensitive skin, so we have to be really careful what we use. We haven’t had any issues with their products.”
The kids brands I’ve been glad to discover
“Is Molo under the radar? We love their clothes! And since I have twins, it’s nice to get both boys and girls clothes from them at decent prices.”
How I keep my mom wardrobe on point
“I exist in tank tops and sweatpants, especially during this ‘quarantine summer’ we are experiencing. So any store that caters to that style is my friend.”
Here are more fantastic kids books starring Black and brown girls.