MacKids Spotlight: Allen R. Wells

MacKids Spotlight: Allen R. Wells

Allen R. Wells author spotlight

This month’s Author Spotlight highlights Allen R. Wells, author of It’s Pride, Baby!, a joyful picture book debut encouraging kids to take pride in themselves and know they are loved no matter what.

What was your inspiration behind this book?

Allen: I was inspired to write It’s Pride, Baby! After diving into the history of the Black Pride Movement, which began in Washington, DC in the 1990s. The movement which was created to celebrate, recognize, and appreciate the richness that comes from being black and queer. Learning how I’m connected to this unique history inspired me to write a story that celebrates being your authentic self and that you will be loved for exactly being just that–your authentic self.

Allen: I included the author’s note and information about how to support children because I wanted to provide context and resources for readers to further explore and understand what the themes addressed in It’s Pride, Baby! I wanted to highlight the historical significance and contributions of black queer people. It serves to educate readers on the resilience and diversity within the LGBTQAI+ community. Identifying ways to support children who are coming out acknowledges the real-life implications of the book’s themes. It gives parents, readers, educators, and caregivers access to resources and support networks that can help promote meaningful discussions and safe spaces for queer youth.

I hope that It’s Pride, Baby! Sparks discussions about identity, acceptance, and the importance of celebrating how we show up through love.

Allen: Yes! My favorite spreads in the book are pages 20-21 because it perfectly illustrates the vastness of the queer spectrum set against the backdrop of a warm sunset. And pages, 24-25 and 26-27, because they perfectly capture a same-gender loving family just existing in the world.

Allen: I wanted readers to have the opportunity to proclaim their pride in their authentic selves each time they shout the refrain. It serves as a declaration of self-acceptance, empowerment, and celebration of uniqueness, encouraging readers to boldly embrace who they are.

Allen: The most surprising thing was learning that black queer history has deep roots in Washington, DC., rather than Atlanta, which I had previously thought to be the epicenter of such history. Discovering this history expanded my understanding of how queer communities have thrived and made significant contributions in different locations throughout history. This discovery truly serves as a reminder of the importance of exploring and celebrating lesser-known narratives to gain a comprehensive understanding of history and its impact on the world.

Allen: I’ve been fortunate enough to have been inspired by several educators throughout my academic journey. One teacher who stood out to me was my second-grade teacher, Ms. Nancy Ellis who informed my love of writing when gifted us with composition books and the art of journaling. Mrs. Beth Barlow-Williamson had an incredible passion for science, nature, and helping students discover new ways in which the world works. My high school teacher, Ms. Jayne Washington for influencing my professional self by fostering love and inspiring my career aspirations. Mr. Dow and Mrs. Beverly Fartheree for reigniting my love for reading and writing. My college engineering professor, Mrs. Yvonne Young Clark, not only taught technical skills but also emphasized the importance of inspiring future generations.

Allen: My favorite book as a kid was Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe because of the representation of a dark-skinned king at the end of the book resonated with me and provided a positive affirmation of beauty in diversity, especially growing up in Jackson, MS, during a time when colorism was prevalent.


Allen R. Wells

Allen R. Wells is an author and engineer. He was born in Jackson, Mississippi. He studied Architectural Engineering at Tennessee State University in Nashville. He is the author of It’s Pride, Baby! and Yvonne Clark and Her Engineering Spark. He currently lives in Virginia.

Dia Valle Picture

Dia Valle (he/they) is an illustrator and teacher born in Virginia and currently based in Brooklyn, NY. He loves to draw cute outfits, tender moments, and colorful settings. They spend all their free time meticulously decorating their tiny apartment.


It's Pride, Baby!

It’s Pride, Baby!
by Allen R. Wells; illustrated by Dia Valle
Ages 3-5
On Sale Now!

A joyful picture book debut that encourages kids to take pride in themselves and know that they are loved no matter what.

Just as the stars light the entire world—
You shine.

Join a queer family as they celebrate Black Pride in Washington, D.C. From painting posters to walking in a Pride Parade with neighbors to watching fireworks, this special day is packed with fun.

Allen R. Wells’s poetic text perfectly captures the expansiveness of a parent’s love, while Dia Valle’s joyful art bursts off the page. Here are words that children in every family—no matter its color, size, or shape—need to hear.

We are so proud of you!

Read more author Q&As here