Phoenix Mercury guard Temeka Johnson launches children’s book series

Meek_Decisions With her non-profit organization Meek’s Hope well on its way to becoming an established presence in Louisiana, Phoenix Mercury guard Temeka Johnson adds to her humanitarian efforts with the launch of a children’s book series.

Johnson’s first book Decisions, Decisions, Decisions is an autobiographical tale of a young girl who loves basketball. The protagonist is raised by a warm and loving yet stern grandmother who imparts lessons about work ethic and education.

Johnson is set to host a launch party for the book this weekend in Phoenix at a fete that doubles as a fundraiser for Meek’s Hope. “Night of HOPE” takes place in a luxury suite at US Airways Center and Johnson will sign copies of her book at the event. All proceeds from Decisions, Decisions, Decisions go towards the organization’s scholarship program.

Meek took some time out of her schedule this week to complete a Q&A with about the book, her humanitarian work and her thoughts on the recent Mercury trade of forward/center Nicole Ohlde for forward/center Kara Braxton.

Where did the idea of a children’s book come from?

Writing a book has been something that I have been talking about for nearly four years now. It began as an autobiography, but after starting the HOPE Foundation, it turned into something that was bigger than me. After reading to some students at my adopted Magnolia Woods Elementary School, and seeing how they were inspired by me, I worked with my team to make a children’s book that was based on my life.

How many books do you anticipate in the series?

For this first series, we will have 3 books, but we hope to turn this into a book series that will be much more than just the three books. I’m hoping that everyone loves it, and we’ll make many more. I have a lot of stories to tell!

How does the book fit in with your Meek’s Hope organization goals?

The book is a perfect fit for the HOPE Foundation. The best part is that we reach the young and the older children. Education is important to me and my foundation, so getting the kids interested in reading at a young age is great. But, also, with the proceeds going to the Jewel Johnson Scholarship Fund, I’ll be able to help older students get to college. It’s a perfect balance for me and the foundation.

Do you feel a special mission to connect with children who were raised by their grandparents?

There is a special connection, because my grandmother raised me and a lot of my family, but I just want to create a stronger community. We are raised by our mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, everyone, and to be honest, we need to get back to the days where the communities raised our children. That’s my biggest goal.

The illustrations are great. Do you feel they captured your spirit and how were you able to convey your message so well to the artist?

Did they?! The illustrations were perfect! All of my family and everyone said the same thing. I have to thank Quency and my FAM for that. Quency and I sat down to write this book over my Temeka Johnson Weekend last year, and he got it. Honestly, I was surprised at how well they worked to make it perfect. I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.

Do you have any other creative projects in the works?

The other books are coming, but I’m also working on a book of inspirational quotes that will be out in 2011. My LSU coach, Robert Starkey, helped me with this. It looks amazing, and we’re now working to get sponsors and clearances. It’ll be called Meek’s Little Book of HOPE, and I’m excited! We’re also working on a comic strip, too, with the artist that we have from the children’s book. It’s going to be fun! I think we need to be creative when reaching the youth, so we’re doing all that we can!

The Gulf area is still recovering from Katrina and residents now have to deal with the aftermath of the BP oil spill. Has the spill affected your outlook on your humanitarian work in the area?

I’ve always been working in Louisiana, but I do feel that more is needed. I wish I had more time to do more, but our schedule is crazy with heading overseas after the season. But, I am working to support other organizations down in my home state when I can’t be there to do more myself. All I know is that we still have a long way to go and Louisiana knows that they can count on me!

What are your thoughts on the Kara Braxton/Nicole Ohlde trade?

First, let me say that we all miss Ohlde. She was a great teammate and it feels different to not see her every day. I wish her the best and hope that she shows Tulsa just how good she can be. Kara will be good for us. She gives us a strong force down in the middle, and will help out Candice, Tan, DB and Brooke with her rebounding. She can also run the floor, which most people don’t give her credit for. I think people will be surprised at how well she fits in with us.

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One Comment

  • Great interview! I hope the book is a success. It's a great idea!!

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