Playwright Lakeetha Blakeney becomes a children’s book author
|COURTESY OF LAKEETHA BLAKENEY|
|Lakeetha Blakeney is taking a turn as a children’s book author with “Princess Fearless: Walking to School.”|
Not all Lakeetha Blakeney stories are for the stage.
Blakeney will publish her first book, “Princess Fearless: Walking to School” on December 6, along with an audiobook and a play. The piece goes beyond the contents of the book. It follows the story of fourth-grade student Louise “Lou” Carter, whose lateness may prevent her from going to school. Lou is loosely based on the story of Blakeney’s childhood and the fears she had to overcome.
“There’s a house in the neighborhood that neighborhood kids won’t go through,” Blakeney said. “They are doing everything possible to avoid this house. It’s a bit run down with a huge dog. I don’t know if kids today know being chased by dogs like we were chased by dogs growing up. Lou avoids this house causes her to be late for school all the time. That’s all, trying to find a way to get to school on time for this trip. Lou must face his fear for this to happen.
The book is designed for children of all ages, especially grades 2-5. It also includes coloring pages and questions for readers to answer at the end. She plans to start presales on November 15.
“I’ve always loved reading and I’ve always loved helping someone else find it too, especially kids,” said Blakeney, who is an actress, director, writer, playwright and theater educator.
Blakeney has been involved in theater since earning her undergraduate degree in Theater and African American Studies at UNC Greensboro in 2003. She teaches Welcome to the School of Theater at her alma mater and with Theater Gap Initiative, a non-profit college prep program for high school students. school graduates who intend to pursue a degree in fine arts.
“I got bitten by the acting bug when I was 15. [years old]said Blakeney, who also has a master’s degree in English and creative writing from Southern New Hampshire University.
Blakeney found herself on the sidelines, like many teaching artists. As she returned to her many manuscripts, Blakeney began working with a career coach, which encouraged her to pursue her “Princess Fearless” stories.
“If COVID-19 taught me anything, it definitely reminded me that life is precarious and it’s short, it’s not promised to anyone,” she said. “If there’s something you want to do, you have to do it. I enjoy being here and want to use every gift I received.
In addition to publishing her first book, Blakeney is also the founder and artistic director of Redeeming History Productions. Her play “Sweet Jenn” won Best Original Screenplay at the Atlanta Black Theater Festival and was performed locally at the Matthews Playhouse. She received a Cultural Vision Grant from the Arts and Sciences Council to turn “Sweet Jenn” into a 30-minute short film, which she plans to premiere in 2023.