It’s me, Tyler! was created in 2010 by Mark Askin, as a tool for jump-starting his young son, Kameron’s educational development. “My wife and I spent the first years of his life looking for creative ways to engage and excite him about learning,” Mark recalls. With a lack of African-American material available for infants/ toddlers in stores and on television, Mark decided to create a character that resembled his son. “I wanted to create something that he could relate to and identify with … Someone who looked like him!”
After posting a few ideas on Facebook, Mark saw a huge demand for exactly what it was he envisioned. This demand prompted him to launch, itsmetyler.com as a way of providing free printable coloring pages and educational exercises that featured his new character, Tyler. In 2011, he self-published his first picture book, “It’s me, Tyler!” Family and Friends, which he co-wrote with his wife, Kenyea Askin.
At first, their publishing venture garnered moderate acclaim, so Mark began to enlist the help and insight of local teachers and PTA members to reevaluate his approach. Armed with valuable feedback, he realized the opportunity to extend beyond solely publishing books, and expanded his website to also serve as an online resource for parents and teachers. The site now offers product reviews, giveaways, fun facts, downloads, child/ parent related articles, and more! When asked about the website’s new facelift, Mark stated, “With this new approach, I’m providing both child and parent/teacher with an experience, not just a product.”
Today, It’s me, Tyler! provides weekly fun learning activities to parents and teachers of preschool/ kindergarten aged children. While books and other printable education materials remain the core of the website’s offerings, the inclusion of additional resources for parents and teachers, as Mark states, “Helps us all to encourage, not force childhood education.”