Antoinette Watkins is the author of the Maple series. She has been writing for over 22 years, her pen name is Johanna Sparrow. In 2004, she released her first book Silly Shoe and she took a break afterward. However, after a ten-year break from writing, she returned in 2014 with three new children’s books titled: Tank the Shy Turtle, Bigmouth Betty, and Wormy Wiggly Mr. Ziggy.
Johanna Sparrow couldn’t push her passion for writing children’s books in her early years due to the difficulties and challenges of finding an illustrator. Unable to quench her passion for writing, she diverted her energy to writing adult relationship books while still silently nursing her dream of becoming a children’s book author that is renowned for creative, educative and entertaining writings.
In 2014, after releasing two children’s books – Tank the Shy Turtle and Bigmouth Betty, she and her mother were involved in a car accident. The accident left her with cervical and spinal injuries. After the incident, she stopped writing children’s stories due to several constraints and stress over wanting the right illustrator for her stories. However, Johanna later pushed herself to write during this challenging period as it was the only way to stay engaged and also to cope with her constant pain.
From the remainder of 2014 to 2018, she released thirty (30) adult relationship self-help books. The titles of her books include Sabotage; Recognize Commitment Phobia and Experience a Healthy Relationship, Bruised Hearts, and Dismissive Avoidant in Love. This immense achievement didn’t satisfy her dream. Her desire to write children’s books including children’s series kept growing, and the need to fulfill her dream pressed her harder as she grew weary of self-help books.
Finally, in 2018 Antoinette Watkins began releasing children’s books under the pen name Johanna Sparrow. On December 1, 2018, six-year-old Little Miss Maple was born, and the first book released was titled Little Miss Maple Thinks Big. The book was made available to the public on January 13, 2019. What's more, she also found the perfect illustrator – Ninekyu – who brought the character Maple to life. Johanna Sparrow has created several more stories for the Maple series and she is planning to release them in 2019 and 2020.
Antoinette Watkins is a native of New Orleans, LA but she resides in San Antonio, TX. She has been married for over 28 years and blessed with two grown children. When her kids were young, she would make up stories to entertain them till they fall asleep. This was always the routine anytime their dad was away on a Naval ship. Her love and passion for creating children’s stories emanated from this motherly act. Even though her children are now grown, her love for making kids happy never stopped. Little Miss Maple is everyone’s daughter, a young Miss that has a million questions to ask.
Little Miss Maple took a personality of her own from the moment she was created and illustrated. Maple’s setting is in her first-grade classroom and also in her home with her parents, where she asks tons of questions with an intention to change the world. Maple is a curious six-year-old who loves to think about what she will grow up to be, she’s the perfect helper with a take charge attitude. Adorable Maple is all-out funny but she is also shy when in the midst of new people or environment. Children from ages 5-8 can relate to her everyday adventures. Antoinette Watkins/Johanna Sparrow is enjoying writing the Little Miss Maple series.
Ninekyu the illustrator is a native of Indonesia. He graduated as a fine artist at the State University of Surabaya, Indonesia in 2015. Like Johanna Sparrow, Ninekyu shares the same love and passion for illustrating. He has been Johanna Sparrow’s illustrator since 2018 and he has re-illustrated Bigmouth Betty, and also illustrated Ida’s Sweet Southern Jelly and Jam and now Little Miss Maple. As a rising star in illustrating children’s books, Ninekyu illustrations are fun and exciting. His unique illustrations capture the child-like innocence, thereby feeling the gap that is missing in most children’s picture books.