Author Chat with Ashley Iman (RUBY RENÉ HAD SO MUCH TO SAY), Plus Giveaway! ~ US ONLY!

Today we are very excited to share an interview with author Ashley Iman!

Read on to learn more about the author, the book, and a giveaway!




Meet the Author: Ashley Iman

Ashley Iman is a former teacher and lifelong learner. She currently serves as the director of a teacher residency program in Washington, DC. When she’s not coaching new teachers, you can find her exploring a national park or working in her garden.

Website * Instagram




Meet the Illustrator: Gladys Jose

Gladys Jose is an illustrator, storyteller, and master to-do list maker. She earned a bachelor in fine arts degree with a specialization in graphic design from the University of Central Florida and has worked with several clients to perfect their brands. She lives in the sunny state of Florida with her husband and daughter. And her favorite drink is coffee; she’s always drinking coffee. You can visit her at

Website * Instagram





A debut picture book about a curious student who finds herself in trouble for talking in class—even though she just wants to share all that she’s learned.


“Did you know that flamingos don’t have teeth?” Questions, facts, and dreams—Ruby René could talk for hours. Once she got going, it was hard for her to stop. It didn’t matter if it was history, science, or the lunch menu—Ruby René had so much to say! But when her teacher called home because she found her sharing distracting, Ruby vowed to keep quiet. Until . . . she finds the perfect outlet for her gift of gab.

With charming text by debut author/educator Ashley Iman and colorful illustrations by Gladys Jose, Ruby René Had So Much to Say is a celebration of owning your voice, honing your skills, and turning challenges into opportunities.

Purchase * Goodreads




~Author Chat~


YABC:  What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

I’ve always had a lot to say and unfortunately this wasn’t always celebrated. I distinctly remember a classmate nicknaming me, “loquacious,” after we learned the word in a vocabulary lesson. In addition to it accurately describing my talkative personality, he thought it sounded like a “Black” name and I was one of very few Black students in my school. I was so embarrassed and stopped talking in class for years. I wanted little girls to know that their voice is valuable.


YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?

Ruby is such a funny and curious character, and I loved writing her, but my favorite character is actually Ms. Gale. I love how present and thoughtful she is. I think 8-year-old Ashley really relates to Ruby but as an educator, I see myself in Ms. Gale. I’ve always looked for ways to make my students feel seen and celebrated. Ms. Gale is the educator I needed as a kid, and I made it my mission to be her for my students.


YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?

The title came first. I had been thinking about writing this book for years but didn’t know how to get started. I was taking a walk when the main character’s name just came to me. The rest of the book flowed once I had the character.  I think I was hyper focused on the lesson I wanted children to walk away with but once I had the character, I could see the story.


YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
Definitely, the dodgeball scene – Ruby is dealing with some pretty heavy topics, and I appreciate the levity this scene brings to the book. It’s also based on real events. Ruby is loosely based on my own experience in elementary school and let’s just say, I’m not a fan of dodgeball.

YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2024?

I’ve been dying to read the third installment in Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone series, Children of Anguish and Anarchy. I don’t think I’ve ever been so invested in a series. I preordered the book over a year ago and when it’s finally released my phone will be on DND until I finish it.


YABC: What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?

The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store by James McBride was remarkable. I love when a book is so descriptive that I can see the characters in my head. It’s definitely the kind of book that I’ll revisit.


YABC:   What’s up next for you?

My first love is teaching, and I am so grateful that I get to train new teachers every day. We have 65 new resident teachers joining us this summer at the Capital Teaching Residency and I cannot wait to start working with them. I’m still writing though and I’d love to do something that celebrates my family in Gee’s Bend, Alabama. We’re known for our intricate quilts, but I think there’s so much more to share with the world.


YABC:    What is the main message or lesson you would like your reader to remember from this book?

Your gifts can seem like a burden in the wrong context. Ruby is a brilliant little girl and she just needed to find the right venue to share it.




Author: Ashley Iman

Illustrator: Gladys Jose

Release Date: May 14, 2024

Publisher:  Kokila

ISBN-10: 0593618890

ISBN-13: 9780593618899

Genre: Hardcover Picture Book

Age Range: 4-8




*Giveaway Details*

Three (3) winners will receive a hardcover copy of RUBY RENÉ HAD SO MUCH TO SAY (Ashley Iman) ~ US Only!


*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway!*


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4 thoughts on “Author Chat with Ashley Iman (RUBY RENÉ HAD SO MUCH TO SAY), Plus Giveaway! ~ US ONLY!”

  1. astromgren says:

    What a great read for little ones!

  2. Book looks great, congrats!

  3. ltecler says:

    This sounds so fun! Love the cover!

  4. The cover is cute and this sounds fun.

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