Ken Brenneman Self-Publishes Children’s Book About Social Justice

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A curious young boy named Sammy realized that his family is different. Sammy is adopted, and his family is made of people from different races, religions and social identities. Would a “normal” family be better?

Ken Brenneman’s self-published children’s book, “A Family of One,” introduces Sammy as he begins to explore his family’s diversity and discover that unique families are uniquely special.

Through rhyming and beautiful illustrations by Rachaele Taylor, Brenneman’s book relays Sammy's discovery on how his family is different from others and how he learns to appreciate these differences.

Brenneman is a scientist who works for the University of Maryland. Before writing this book, he spent his free time writing social justice pieces, wanting to share his knowledge on the subject. Though writing a book was not something he had ever considered, one day he conceived the idea of writing a children's book that advocates for equality.

“I have this idea about using a children’s book as a platform to get this concept to the next generation early on,” Brenneman said. He wants to use his book to instill acceptance of others in children, especially in today's political climate.

Brenneman’s mother also provided inspiration when he decided to write a children’s book. She had always wanted to write her own children’s book. However, she was never able to actualize her dream. One of the obstacles in her way was the publication process. Not only did she need a good idea, but she also needed the support of a publisher. This drawback was one of the reasons Brenneman decided to self-publish his children’s book.

After finishing his book, Brenneman searched the internet in search of publishing tips. He even went to the Baltimore Book Festival to try to meet with peers in the field to help him circulate his book. After speaking with several people, he discovered how hard it was to find a publisher who also wanted to accept him. Brenneman then attended a meeting of the Maryland Writers Association to educate himself about the publication process. There, he learned about self-publishing and decided that was his best chance at producing his book. Brenneman decided to use Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) to publish his work. Brenneman’s words and Taylor’s hand-painted illustrations were all digitized and spaced in the book by Brenneman himself.

Despite the added responsibilities that came with self-publishing, Brenneman found that the most difficult part was the writing process. He needed to find a way to relay complicated ideas in as few words as possible, and written in a way that children would be able to understand.

“It would have taken me a lot less time to write a hundred-page chapter book,” Brenneman said.

“A Family of One” is available now on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

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