Former San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl quarterback Colin Kaepernick has announced a deal with Scholastic for multiple children’s books, starting with picture book I Color Myself Different to be published April 5, 2022. The 40-page book, aimed at ages four through eight, will be illustrated by Eric Wilkerson, and explores a pivotal moment in Kaepernick’s young life when, at five years old, he put “down the yellow crayon he had been using to draw his family and picking up the brown crayon for himself.” The picture book is described by Scholastic as “a joyful ode to Black and Brown lives based on real events in young Colin’s life.” The publisher bought world rights and all languages for both print and eBook formats in a deal brokered with Kaepernick Publishing.
Kaepernick said in a statement, “This story is deeply personal to me, and inspired by real events in my life. I hope that it honors the courage and bravery of young people everywhere by encouraging them to live with authenticity and purpose. I’m excited for Kaepernick Publishing to be collaborating with Scholastic on books with Black and Brown voices at the forefront. I hope that our books will inspire readers to walk through the world with confidence, strength, and truth in all they do.” On Instagram, Wilkerson, whose clients include Disney, Marvel and Dark Horse Comics, wrote that he was “honored to be chosen for this project.”
In a statement, Debra Dorfman, VP and Publisher, Scholastic Global Licensing, Brands & Media, said, “Colin’s reputation as a thought leader precedes him, but it was also clear when we met that his mission and purpose were very much aligned with Scholastic’s. We knew instantly that we wanted to share his stories, which will be impactful messages of identity and belonging for Black and Brown children.” Ellie Berger, President and Publisher, Scholastic Trade Publishing, said, “Colin Kaepernick’s inspiring story, with themes of identity, race, and self-esteem, will resonate deeply with all kids. We are privileged to bring this work to young readers around the world for the very first time.” Additional Scholastic books with Kaepernick Publishing will follow.
Kaepernick Publishing was founded in 2019 and “strives to elevate a new generation of writers with diverse views and voices through the creation of powerful works of all genres that can build a better and more just world.” In 2020, Kaepernick announced a multi-project deal, including a memoir with Audible, although the release date has not yet been announced.
In May 2021, Kaepernick Publishing announced that its first title will be October’s Abolition for the People: The Movement for a Future without Policing and Prisons, edited by Kaepernick and produced in partnership with Melcher Media, with distribution by Two Rivers Distribution, an Ingram Brand. The book will include 30 essays by authors such as Angela Y. Davis, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Mariame Kaba, Robin D.G. Kelley, Bree Newsome Bass, Kiese Laymon, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Gwendolyn Woods (mother of the late Mario Woods), Derecka Purnell, Dean Spade, Dylan Rodriguez, Ruha Benjamin, and others. As part of its Books are Weapons Initiative, for every hardcover copy of Abolition for the People sold (up to 10,000), Kaepernick Publishing will donate a not-for-sale paperback copy to be distributed to those incarcerated in the United States, and 100% of the profits from the title will go to Know Your Rights Camp, a non-profit founded by Kaepernick.