“Are you twins?!” is the first questions that people are excited to ask when they first meet us, but what really makes us who we are is our shared passion about education, learning and inspiring others to live their dreams.
We were not always passionate about education or learning, in fact as children we were misunderstood because of our challenges in reading, writing and spelling that led to feelings of failure and insecurities. And despite these challenges for over a decade, we both soared above the odds and redefined our success story to create a new narrative: “Shenelle & Gennelle” Where book talk meets culture.
So how did two girls who struggled in school with an undiagnosed learning disability become licensed speech language pathologists, educational advocates and book readers?
Once we understood who we were, we steadily confronted the challenge in our reading skills. Reading Black character books gave us the motivation and confidence to keep reading, it was one ingredient to the secret sauce of our success. Finding books about characters that looked like us, dressed like us, spoke like us and played like us was not easy, but when we did find those stories, it was a game-changer that motivated us to read even more. It was exciting to go on adventures with characters that experienced life from our point of view.
Today we are even more excited about books for children and young adults. On “Shenelle & Gennelle” you can see how we love reading and unpacking the themes that are portrayed and represented in these stories. So much can be learned from reading narratives of characters from different walks of life…besides what is better than unpacking your favorite stories with your best friend? Nothing.
With “Shenelle & Gennelle” We want to inspire families and communities to engage in reading and have discussions around the table to educate, inspire, encourage and even challenge perspectives. It was not until we understood our strengths, challenges and motivations that we were able to be the agents of change in our own lives.
We are excited about getting the conversation started and inspiring others to share their stories. The stories that we share tell so much more when we read between the lines.
Open a book, start a conversation and unpack the stories with us. It may even show how our stories are more alike than different.
We believe that children with learning disabilities shouldn’t have to struggle with finding books that are representative of who they are and speak to their experiences.