Author Q&A with Tanisia Moore

Isabel Franco  //  Feb 13, 2024

Author Q&A with Tanisia Moore


Scholastic is celebrating Black History Month with Share Black Stories, a campaign rooted in empowerment, vibrance, and joy of the Black community. We interviewed Tanisia Moore about her picture book I Am My Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams, which brings young readers to meet ten exceptional Black men so they too, can aspire to dream big.




What was the inspiration behind I Am My Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams?

This book was a result of my grief. Three days before I sat down towrite it, Chadwick Boseman lost his battle with colon cancer. He was 42. Seven months prior in January, Kobe Bryant died along with his daughter and friends in a helicopter crash. He was 41. Something about their passing hit me hard. It made me question what I was doing with my own life. What type of legacy did I want to leave behind for my family and those around me? It was then that I sat in my kitchen and began to explore what it actually means to be your ancestors’ wildest dreams. For me, I know that I am living out the prayers my grandmother had for me.


I Am My Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams is your first picture book. How was the writing process different from all your other works?

I say this all the time, but writing a picture book is not as easy as some people believe. I am an attorney, and I write adult novels, so I get to be wordy. However, when it came to writing this book, I had to tell the whole story in just a few hundred words. 


How did you collaborate with illustrator Robert Paul Jr. to bring vibrancy to the story?

I purposely didn’t provide a lot of art direction in the manuscript. Robert is the co-creator and needed to be able to tell the visual story without too much input from me. I do, however, believe that the spirit of the text inspired him to bring the illustrations to life in a powerful and personal way.




You feature several historical and contemporary Black men in the picture book. What was your approach in selecting who to include?

This book could have featured so many Black men! But I wanted tomake sure to include an array of figures, some familiar and some new to young readers, that they could relate to, be inspired by, and learn more about. That is one thing I love about the back matter at the end of the book— it allowed me to show that these men were not just a basketball player, a rapper, or an actor, but that they were purposefully contributing to the world around them. I also wanted young readers to know that mistakes don’t have to define you. I’m living proof of that. I failed my honors English class my freshman year of high school. And yet, I still I got into college, attended law school, passed the bar exam in two states (on the first try), and have written and published books.


From all the influential figures you featured in the book, is there one that holds a special place in your heart?

I’m a Cali girl, so hands down Tupac. I grew up listening to his music and watching his movies. I sometimes wonder how his life would’ve turned out if he had an opportunity to right those choices he made when he was younger. I believe he would be a force to be reckoned with today!


What do you hope young readers will take away from reading the book?

I hope they will be inspired to start a bit of good trouble. That they will find ways to give back to their communities, and that they tap into the greatness inside of them.