Local artist publishes coloring book to empower women

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Uzo Njoku is a University of Virginia student from Nigeria who has changed her major from statistics to studio art to do what she loves. Now, she has published a coloring book to show other women they can be whatever they aspire to be.

Njoku's coloring book is filled with women of color across different countries, in diverse careers, and with powerful historical influences. It is all there to be colored in by women with their own vision.

"They feel some kind of empowerment from it," said Njoku. "They see women they can somewhat relate to or what they aspire to be."

Her book, "The Bluestocking Society," is named after an 18th-century women's group that worked toward the advancement of women. The UVA Women's Center has bought her book to pass out, and local bookstores are loving it.

It is being sold at the UVA Bookstore, New Dominion Bookshop, and Telegraph Art and Comics downtown.

Njoku said she never thought she could just walk in and ask for stores to sell her book.

"At first, I was thinking why would they buy a book from someone who just self-published, but I was like, 'might as well go for it,'" said Njoku. "Each conversation was less than five minutes. Instantly, they loved my book and they were eager to put it on their bookshelves."

She would have never taken this chance if she did not decide to follow her passion and turn art into a career.

Njoku said being from Nigeria, that decision took courage.

"Where I'm from, the STEM [science, technology, engineering, mathematics] field are pushed more upon you because it's a better outlook for jobs, but I just want to show them that it's okay to be creative," said Njoku.

Her book also addresses issues like self-esteem, domestic violence, and the suicide hotline to let women know they are not alone.

"It is therapeutic to just take some time to just color," said Njoku.

Her book is already getting feedback from those telling her, "thank you."

"Every time someone reaches out to me to say, 'oh I love the book...I was going through some things right now and this really helped me get through it,' I feel like I'm really doing something," said Njoku.

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