came together. I shared my concept for Lalibella with my family & friends and they encouraged me to create friends for her. So, with the help of my son Kekoa, we began to sketch the rest of the characters. As I developed the story, I saw a reflection of my life as a young girl. The tale of a little purple ladybug that went on a journey to self-discovery was definitely a story I could relate to.

Lalibella’s story reminded me of the girl I was before moving from the suburbs to the inner-city. I always had a personality full of sunshine with a valley girl accent that I developed from growing up in a suburban environment, so I struggled as I tried to fit in with the inner-city girls and was teased for being different.” I went from changing the clothes I wore, to cutting my hair like Salt-N-Pepa, when really, I just wanted to wear lace gloves and fluorescent socks like Cyndi Lauper. Writing the story of Lalibella gave me insight to identify what caused me to lose my shine.

My dream is to share "Lalibella the Ladybug" and her story with the world, to be a shining light, and hopefully help individuals to love their true inner beauty. I believe that everyone should discover their true colors from the inside just like Lalibella does in this story.

Discover it, embrace it, and let it shine!

~Kia J. Smith