In this blog post, author Fiona McEntee shares an update about her experience with an auction item from the WNDB Summer Fundraiser. Fiona won a marketing and publicity consultation with President of Tuesday Magic Marketing Rachel K. Barry during our 2019 Summer Fundraiser. To learn more about donating to We Need Diverse Books, visit our website here. To stay up-to-date on our upcoming fundraisers, including auction fundraisers, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
By Fiona McEntee
As an immigrant (from Ireland), and a practicing immigration lawyer for the past 12+ years, I never really imagined that I would write a book, let alone a children’s book on immigration. But that’s exactly what I did this year when Our American Dream was published.
I’ve spent my career providing immigration advice and representation to individuals and families, as well as some of the world’s leading musicians, artists, athletes, innovative entrepreneurs, and companies. I’ve also been a vocal activist and advocate for the rights of all immigrants and I’m one of a few national spokespeople for the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
On the personal side of things, I’m a wife and mom of two young children, Rose and Perry. With the onslaught of horrendous anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies strewn across our screens on a daily basis, I was struggling with how to explain some of these things to my kids. I realized that if I, an immigrant and an immigration lawyer at the forefront of these debates, was wrestling with some of these issues, I just knew that other parents were likely feeling the same way.
I also knew that while there were some children’s books on immigration, I didn’t find any that highlighted a diverse cast of immigrant stories—one that was representative of the immigrants coming to the U.S. today. To quote the late great Toni Morrison, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” And that’s what I did!
Based on my real clients and friends, the characters in Our American Dream represent just a few of the people that I and my immigration lawyer colleagues, activists, and advocates all over the United States fight for every day.
Our American Dream was published by Mascot Books, an independent publisher located in Herndon, Virginia. While the book is for sale online, we’re technically pre-release until January 21, 2020. The response to the book thus far has been incredible. This week, it’s listed as the number one new release in children’s books on immigration on Amazon.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the role that We Need Diverse Books has played in the initial success of my book specifically the WNDB’s Summer Auction. I’d heard about the auction in August through The Wing Chicago and coincidentally that happened to be when Rachel K. Barry, marketing and publicity consultant extraordinaire, was generously auctioning off a coveted 90-minute consultation. I bid on Rachel’s consultation numerous times and was thrilled when I saw I won it!
In advance of our consultation, I sent Rachel the electronic version of Our American Dream as it was being printed at that time. Rachel’s advice from the get-go has truly been invaluable. She was able to assist with some key strategic marketing decisions like recommendations on the official release date for the book and figuring out how to best maximize the book’s potential platform and reach.
Rachel also provided some much-craved validation. She was the first person to see the book outside my family, my firm, and the publisher. Her supportive feedback meant so much to me and it really reassured me that we had a special message to share and she would help me share it far and wide.
Rachel also had some really creative ideas about promoting and marketing the book and based on her recommendations, I was able to secure a wonderful article on the front page of the Arts & Entertainment Supplement of the Chicago Tribune. I used this article to officially announce Our American Dream to my network of friends, colleagues, and clients.
The feedback has been tremendous! I’m just so excited at the thoughts of children all over reading about the importance of living in a diverse and welcoming America, a country where every dream has equal value. I think it’s pretty fitting that WNDB’s mission is to promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people. I’m thrilled and grateful to know that so many children will get to read about these inspirational immigrants. Together, we can change the narrative on immigration.
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Fiona McEntee is an award-winning, nationally recognized immigration lawyer. She is the founding and managing attorney of McEntee Law Group, an immigration law firm based in Chicago, and the author of Our American Dream, a children’s book on immigration. Fiona is a national spokesperson for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). As a proud Irish immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen, Fiona has dedicated her career to the advancement of immigrants’ rights.