Serena Williams isn’t just a tennis pro, she’s now an imaginative author. On Sept. 27, 2022, she will publish her first children’s book based on a doll she created for her 4 year-old daughter, Olympia. The story will follow the escapades of the doll Qai Qai and the child Baby Girl, who is based on Olympia.
Williams and her husband, Alexis Ohanian, decided that they would design their daughter’s first doll. They wanted to make sure that when Olympia received her first doll that it would be an extra-special experience. “If for no other reason than to just expose her to something that can hopefully break a cycle that we know exists,” Ohanian said to People magazine this year. They explained that the creation of dolls like Qai Qai can push back against the societal structures of bias and racial self-doubt that get engrained so early in life.
And once Olympia was given Qai Qai they were inseparable and went on all sorts of adventures together. It sparked an idea for Williams and Ohnanian to create an Instagram page in 2018 for the doll so that people could follow along.
The doll was created by Williams with the help of an entertainment technology company called Invisible Universe. Eventually, Williams made sure that the doll was available for others on Amazon in 2020.
As of right now, Qai Qai has more than 353,000 followers on Instagram, more than 25,000 followers on Twitter, and more than 3.2 million followers on TikTok. She has reached so many people, and the hope is book will do that on another level. Williams made sure to press this message on the dedication page and make it extra special for every child who will read the book.
“This book is dedicated to all little girls. Let this book be a constant reminder that you can do anything you put your mind to. Imagine it, believe it, do it,” Williams wrote.
The creation of “The Adventures of Qai Qai” will continue this fun space to explore with Qai Qai and her friend. “Storytime is such an important pillar of our bedtime routine, like so many others around the world,” Williams told People recently.
“I’m excited to see all the places she goes and I do hope it can inspire kids – boys, girls, Black, white – all over the world to just have fun and dream,” Ohanian added. The story will follow Qai Qai and how she helps her best friend, Baby Girl, get ready for her dance recital.
Williams announced the news via Twitter:
“Since realizing @RealQaiQai’s ability to spread joy to our own family and also millions of others around the world, we’ve wanted to tell her story in every way possible. We are so proud to announce Qai Qai’s first book, ‘The Adventures of Qai Qai,’ a story about the power of friendship and imagination. Qai Qai is a special member of our family and we hope ‘The Adventures of Qai Qai’ will give others a new way to welcome Qai Qai into their home,” Williams said.
“The Adventures of Qai Qai” is illustrated by Yesenia Moises and will be published by Feiwel and Friends alongside the company behind Qai Qai the doll, Invisible Universe.
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