July 5, 2023

Meet The Author Helping Kids Of Color See Themselves In The World Of AI

“AI… Meets… AI: An Exciting Tale of Connection and Adventure” is the #1 New Release in Children’s Computer Hardware and Robotics Books on Amazon following its publication last month.

The enchanting children’s book features Addy, a curious and imaginative young Black girl, and Jaz, a learning AI, exploring the bustling city of Baltimore together. 

Author Amber Ivey, also known as “AI,” told POCIT that she created these characters to pave the way for a future where technology education is inclusive and every child feels empowered to shape the digital world, irrespective of their background.

“AI… Meets… AI.”

The book aims to introduce AI to children between the ages of 5 and 9 in an accessible and engaging manner while standing as a beacon of representation for girls and Black children, who historically have been underrepresented in STEM fields.

To ensure it would be understandable for young children, Ivey conducted extensive research and eventually developed a picture book format filled with illustrations that children could relate to daily.

She also created a read-aloud video that parents can watch with their children, bringing the story to life even more. 

The Inspiration Behind The Book

While she was in awe of what AI can do and how it’s changing the world, Ivey noticed that many saw the field as intimidating and unfamiliar.

“I thought about who will be living in this AI-heavy world of the future, and I realized it’s today’s kids,” she told us at POCIT.

“That sparked the idea to introduce AI to children, so they grow up seeing it as a normal part of life, not something scary or overly complex.”

Ivey’s nieces and nephew inspired the characters in the book, and she explained that having a Black protagonist was an intentional choice.

Credit: Amber Ivey (LinkedIn)

“It represents a subtle yet powerful attempt to shift the narrative, making the young readers envision themselves in tech-centric roles and understand that their skin color or gender doesn’t limit their potential or dreams.”

Helping kids see themselves in tech

Ivey stated that we live in a world where tech roles often lack diversity, and there’s a glaring gap regarding women, especially Black women.

In this story, she flipped the script and placed the female and Black characters in the driver’s seat of an AI-fuelled adventure. 

“It’s a nudge to young readers, especially girls, and children of color, to imagine themselves in these roles.”

The story is purposefully set in Baltimore to show the stark contrast we see in society as a city where high-tech universities exist alongside areas still trying to tap into these advancements. 

Ivey said the message from this is no matter where you start; anyone can be a future leader in tech.

She said the vision of “AI… Meets… AI” goes beyond merely selling books.

“The heart of it is about representation.”

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.