Inside Ability Books

Krystle owns an inspirational textual art company called Keys to Thy Castle, Decor Expressions LLC. She has been in business since 2019. More recently, she started Inside ability Books, a provider of storybooks in accessible print formats. "Inside Ability Books aims to provide inclusive storybook options created by me, for caregivers and early readers who experience barriers to reading small to standard size print and low contrast text," Krystle explains. Although Inside Ability Books was founded in 2020, it officially launched to market in May of this year. "I ran a successful kickstarter.com funding campaign ending on June 26th offering pre-sales of my first book titled Bedtime, Sleep time, Nighttime, Dreamtime, a LARGE print bedtime story. My website iabilitybooks.com is now live and retail sales began at the end of July. Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 releases are currently underway," Krystle elaborates. 

Being a legally blind mom of two young children unable to find such products on the market led Krystle Boateng to enter the Accessible Children's Literature Iindustry. She creates story books in large print and large print with reverse contrast. The reverse contrast option provides white letters on black/dark backgrounds. This is beneficial to those who experience blinding glare when there is too much white in what they are trying to read. The market for her books includes caregivers and early readers with or without print accessibility challenges who seek inspiring storybooks for Storytime bonding and learning. 

There is a growing number of people under the age of forty experiencing vision loss. Within that population are caregivers of small children of all kinds, parents, Godparents, uncles, aunts, and nannies. In addition to grandparents who are over the age of forty. "When someone experiences limitations due to having a disability, often whatever it is that they are trying to achieve, can still be achieved with accommodation. It will look different but will accomplish the intention," Krystle elaborates. For low vision caregivers with barriers to reading small to standard size print and low contrast reading materials, activities such as Storytime bonding can be uncomfortable or impossible. Providing an accessible product allows anyone who can read print to participate in this commonly practiced and recommended activity. It allows those most underserved by the children's literature market to have the option and it promotes awareness in households that are not exposed to these challenges. Even people who do not have significant vision loss can benefit from removing their reading glasses and participating in story time bonding strain-free.  

As someone with an altered perspective on life, Krystle has faced many challenges along the way. One of the biggest challenges that she has faced is that it takes her a little longer to do most things and tasks require her full attention in order not to make mistakes, which she states can be a common occurrence. "Having two precious but loud and demanding children (an infant and a toddler) around when I'm trying to focus can be overwhelming. It has and will take me longer to grow my business because I have limited time to dedicate and the time I do have is not as productive as it could be ideally. For example, I overspent on the production of my very first textual art canvas because I did not spot a typo until after production was complete. Luckily, it was before it shipped but I still had to pay for a new batch to be produced. As an entrepreneur with a visual disability, I have had to come to terms with the fact that I must pay others to be that second set of eyes for me," she explains. 

Along her path, Krystle has experienced discrimination, lowered expectations, or unfair heightened expectations. "I fought feelings of isolation or feeling overburdened by the additional effort required for me to complete basic tasks. I had to contend with people in the work environment and the public berating me because they thought I was exaggerating my condition or that they needed to “call me out" for not wearing glasses (which do not apply to my condition). Additionally, I have always had an introverted personality and it is not possible to remain under the radar when you require accommodation for most visual tasks," she stated. It required the development of new skills, a thicker skin, and a belief in a positive outcome that she had no evidence to support.  

Her need to wrap herself in positivity led Krystle to write inspirational poetry which led to her textual art company. And she expressed that, " her desire to participate in Storytime bonding as a legally blind Mom led to her accessible print storybook company,".  

Her upbringing was loving but extremely strict. "I was raised by a remarkably successful and ambitious (single) mother who expected no less than excellence. That upbringing conditioned me to do hard things and to push myself. She is an entrepreneur, and I grew up always knowing that entrepreneurship was an option. I never had any clue of what type of business I would want to have but I was not afraid of the concept," Krystle explains. As a mother, she would say her upbringing influences her to want to encourage the absolute best out of her children and to shield them from the distractions that can so easily derail young people. "My 15-year-old self would tell a quite different story of my upbringing but as a mom. I see the intention and I am grateful for being more afraid of my mother than I was curious about the wrong things. My need to escape her "tyranny" made me chase success and financial independence --despite vision loss. " 

In terms of the effect losing sight has on her parenting style, she does not think of her disability in motherhood. "I feel like a whole and able Mother but I'm sure as my kids get older, they will start to realize that Mommy is a little different. I hope it will allow them to be more inclusive and accepting of people's differences. And hopefully, they will feel empowered to reach their full potential. God-Willing, their mountains won't be as tall to climb, but if they are they will know that with a little creativity in their approach they will make it." 

Despite the many challenges Krystle has faced in her life, she has been able to accomplish so much more, at the age of nineteen, when she lost her central vision, Krystle was not sure how many of life's milestones she would achieve. She has since become more comfortable with things happening in her own time because she has witnessed for herself that there's divine timing at play in our lives. "One minute you feel like you're behind but then you realize an opportunity that you would have missed if you had arrived any sooner. Occasionally, I may think, "if I wasn't legally blind" this or that would have worked out better, but the reality is I do not know that. All I know for sure is that I am blessed, and I was given my unique perspective and journey because only I have the gifts to see through the specific purpose of my life. So, I breathe deeply, I seek the positive and I keep moving forward. Even a small step in the right direction is progress. I wrap myself in positivity and I stay focused on things that feed my energy," she said. One thing she holds dear is writing-of all kinds-which is why she naturally transitioned to being a children's book author. Another longtime passion of hers is poetry. "It has allowed me to explore my mind and heart at the same time. I have used it as a tool to help me maintain a productive vs destructive mindset. An excerpt from one of my poems titled "Unapologetic" sums up my outlook: "perfection is a myth, a moving target. My will is aimed at growth and progress," she expresses. (ktttcdecor.com)   

She recalls the mindset that brought her through some of the most depressing times early on in her vision loss journey. "The life I pictured for myself was seeming more and more unlikely. My physicians recommended that I quit University, rest my eyes, and adjust to legal blindness. But I refused, I was not willing to "sit out" my life. I maintained a relentless spirit and I completed my Bachelor's in Business degree on time with a double major and was on the Dean's list. I had a successful career in HR within the corporate sector (despite discrimination and hostile work environments) and I have also found success within the non-profit sector helping other people living with vision loss to achieve their professional goals. I was once afraid to go outside, especially at night by myself. I am proud to say that over the years I have been employed in positions that required field work and I have traveled domestically and internationally by myself. I have had an active dating and social life and got married in 2016. I am now a mom of two and I am growing two brands simultaneously. Both of which are fulfilling passion projects. I turn forty next March and if I could speak to the 19-year-old me who could only see what she lost, I would tell her how much favor and blessings await her. It will be a winding road with thorns and the like but far more sunshine and roses. My greatest accomplishment is- never giving up." 

Here at Jay's Intuitive Life Coaching and Inspired Healing, LLC we have a saying that we like to use, "Healing is a journey, not a destination." We asked Krystle Boateng if she could give moms who aspire to start their businesses and continue their healing journey any advice, what would it be? She offered this, "Love yourself and believe in yourself at the same level that you love and believe in your kids. When I see my sons, I want the entire world for them, and they have vast potential within them. My advice would be to know that about yourself and be patient with yourself. Allow times of unsureness and use it to form the questions that you can then do the work to find answers to. Few things are impossible, if someone has done it, it means that it can be done. If someone knows something, it means you can find it out. Meditate and find your joy and your peace. Envision where you want to see yourself and your business and who it will benefit. Be willing to speak about your business and put yourself out there. Serendipitous moments will happen to connect you to the steps that will get you where you want to be. Write down your goals and make a to-do list that will bring you closer to them. Each day do at least one thing on the list, even if it is just a google search to find a resource you will investigate later. Write down your fears and next to them in larger words write the best possible outcome. Accept that the bad moments or days will come. Let them do their job--get a good cry- get some needed rest- get some perspective- then get back to it. Pick a mantra that is meaningful to you and say it whenever you feel like you are losing steam. Mine is biblical " Walk by faith, not by sight"  

If you would like to connect with Krystle, you can do so through:   

Instagram: @inside_ability_books  

                    @keystothycastle  

 Email: [email protected]  

               [email protected]