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Author spotlight: Alyssa Cochrane-Grannum using her gift to encourage youth

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Prince George's County, elementary school teacher Alyssa Cochrane-Grannum is the author of The Misadventures of Rayna Tenay book series.

This local author, has been creating a buzz with her latest work The Misadventures of Rayna Tenay Presents: Rayna Tenay and the Very Bad Hair Week.

All school-aged children (and adults) can relate to the story’s moral of sometimes we have to do things that are good for us even though we may not want to.

An added plus to this heartwarming tale is its beautiful illustrations -the main character of the book has a flowing crown of curly natural hair.

Alyssa Cochrane-Grannum took a moment from her creativity to share her personal natural hair journey, the inspiration behind her book and to encourage other writers.

Alyssa's natural hair journey ...

I didn't have much of a choice when it came to being natural. I was raised by my father who had three young women and hair wasn't exactly on his "to do" list.

He told me that he wasn’t going to take me to a salon. He said I was fully capable of doing whatever I wanted to my hair on my own.

So I learned to braid, twist, and flat iron because that was the only way I was going to be able to walk out of the house without looking like a hot mess.

Advice to those contemplating wearing their hair in it’s natural state ...

I would tell those who are going natural to - have some patience and....GO FOR IT! It has been amazing for me.

It's versatile and I receive so many compliments daily on the appearance of my hair. Find a product and stick with it.

Too many natural women are product junkies and that is something I don't agree with.

How are you supposed to see your hair at its best if you are constantly changing what you put into it?

Be patient! Because your hair has been damaged for so long you don’t really know what hair texture you truly have.

I went from wavy to curly to bushy to spiral curls and it took two years.

It's like eating healthier or exercising. You won't see results at once; you have to be patient.

The inspiration behind her writing ...

My father has always said that writing was my gift. But I never knew what to write about or what would be interesting.

I knew I didn't want to write anything for adults because even as an adult I am not interested in reading about vampires or how to cook.

But as a teacher, however, I do find the stories my students tell me to be very funny. So I knew I had to write something for them.

It also concerned me that when I was a little girl I didn’t see many characters that looked like me and I didn't want to continue that trend.

I also started brainstorming issues that most adults don't realize are issues to children.

This entire process and realization is what inspired me to create Rayna Tenay.

Words of encouragement for those interested in writing their own books ...

My advice for anyone who wants to write a book is to just do it! It's a great feeling, reward and accomplishment.

Not to mention it sounds great to say "Yea, and I'm published!"

Writing is not something everyone is blessed with having the ability to do, so why not share it with the world?

More on Rayna Tenay ...

This book is the first in a series. The second is being illustrated as we speak. I have written two more Rayna Tenay books.

The second book is titled, "What's in a Name?"

It is about how Rayna just can't stand her name anymore so she decides to change it. But she can't have her favorite food or go to her best friend's party because of her decision.

I have also written, "My Friend Omar." This story is about how Rayna loses her friend Omar in a tragic car accident.

It's a story that teaches children that sometimes we lose people in our lives but that we have to keep going and being the very best we can be.

All of the books in the series have morals and lessons that Rayna usually has to figure out the hard way but the lesson is learned and because she actually experiences her lessons.

What the future holds ...

I want to have at least five or six books to start the series. I am also working on another set of books that are for a younger group of readers.

These books have more of a Dr. Seuss feel in that they are rhyming stories that are mostly illustrations.

Another book I am currently having illustrated as part of my younger books is titled "Just Dream Kareem."

It is about a little boy who is forced to put down the IPAD and computer and to just use his imagination and the things he comes up with will amaze you.

The last one I just finished is titled "Meanie Jeanie" and it's about a girl who has a mean friend and every time she’s around she makes her life miserable.

Writing is something I want to do for the rest of my life. As I am getting older I am really understanding my gift and my vision and I want to share that with children everywhere.

More Information

​Rayna Tenay Website

Follow Alyssa on Facebook

Follow Alyssa on Twitter

Follow Alyssa on Instagram at lvlylady_123

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