Anaiyah Alexander is living proof that it’s never too early to start chasing dreams.
In early April, Anaiyah, an 8-year-old from Orcutt, became a published author with the release of her new book, “Little Brothers are Annoying,” a children’s book about her relationship with her younger brother, Tyquam “Ty”.
In the book, the young author explains the difficulties of having to share toys and cookies with her little brother, while also acknowledging the special bond the two share. She ends the book with the phrase, “I guess I should say … little brothers are the best!”
Anaiyah initially wrote the story for a school project about two years ago, but for Christmas this year, her mom, Toni Dyer, had the story professionally illustrated and printed as a gift for her daughter.
When other family members saw the book at Christmas time, they voiced an interest in also obtaining a copy. This led Ms. Dyer to pursue self-publication and order more printed copies of the book.
What started as 20 orders soon turned to 50, and pretty soon, Ms. Dyer was contacted by Indiana-based publishing company Xlibris Publishing, who offered to publish the book and share it with a bigger audience.
The book is now available in Barnes & Noble stores and online at Amazon. Last month, Anaiyah held her first book signing at Chef Rick’s Ultimately Fine Foods in Santa Maria.
Since publishing the book, Anaiyah said she’s heard great feedback from people who have read it, and she hopes to continue writing more books in the future.
“I have heard from lots of people who read the book, and they said it was amazing,” Anaiyah told the News-Press.
As a young creative trailblazer with an eager spirit, Ms. Dyer said the sky is the limit for her daughter.
“Anaiyah doesn’t let me rest. Every moment she’s awake, she’s plotting her next mission of how she’s going to take over the world,” Ms. Dyer said with a laugh.
During the book signing event, Anaiyah and her family held a raffle for three gift baskets to raise funds for their organization, Young But Mighty, to send a local child to summer camp this year. Ms. Dyer started the organization with her two children during the pandemic, allowing Aniayah and Ty to oversee various service events and give back to the community.
Since starting the organization, Anaiyah and her family have hosted canned food drives, handed out socks to the homeless, set up a take one leave one table in their neighborhood and created a public service announcement when the Black Lives Matter movement gained traction over the summer.
To fund these community efforts, Anaiyah even started her own business during the pandemic making and selling lip gloss. What started as a science project eventually grew into her own brand of gloss called “Miss Thang,” which has appeared in multiple pop up shops and is sold on Etsy.
As Anaiyah’s brand grew during the pandemic, Ms. Dyer said Ty voiced interest in starting his own business as well. Recently, the family launched “Fly Ty Shades,” a collection of sunglasses that are also sold on Etsy.
For Anaiyah and Ty, their entrepreneurial pursuits help them fund their efforts to give back and fulfill the mission of Young But Mighty.
“(The mission is) to do our part, to spread love and to give back,” Anaiyah said.