“Create The Things You Wish Existed.”
My name is Pamela Aculey. I’m an award-winning author, entrepreneur and CEO of both Just Like Me Books and MIXD Reality. Just Like Me Books is the UK’s first interactive and inclusive picture book that utilizes Augmented Reality technology (AR) to bring stories to life. MIXD Reality is a dedicated provider of AR learning experiences.
“It all started with my son, a book, and a desire for real change”.
There are few things as powerful as regularly reading to young children. But what about children who struggle to read, have learning difficulties, or have additional needs?
As a Black neurodivergent female founder raising three boys of mixed heritage, I know first-hand the power and importance of representation. In 2017 my eldest son Walter was diagnosed with Autism and was non-verbal. Children’s books are often referred to as windows and mirrors. Windows gives readers a look into someone else’s life, while mirrors allow a reader to see themselves. Unfortunately as a family we struggled to find books where Walter could see himself represented. The saying goes ‘Create the things you wish existed’ So in 2019 I created ‘Just Like Me books’ – a picture book series. that champions diversity, inclusiveness whilst using AR technology to tell the whole story.
Bringing the real and virtual worlds together with AR supports intuitive, fun, and inclusive learning experiences for all, but especially those with different abilities.
“Necessity may be the mother of invention, but diversity is the mother of innovation”.
In 2023 I launched MIXD Reality – a dedicated provider of interactive and inclusive
Augmented Reality (AR) learning experiences.
MIXD Reality can take any intellectual property including books, illustrations and printed materials and convert it into an AR experience using an accompanying app that works for both Android and iOS. We prioritize doing work that consciously, systemically, and sustainably changes the landscape of learning because we recognize that all great minds do not think alike!
MIXD Reality can enhance at-home and classroom experiences – addressing bias through empathy giving the ability to place the user in a setting or scenario. Users can view and interact with changes to their physical surroundings in real time and feel like they are really there in a virtual experience. While pop-up books used to be the only way to make reading an interactive experience, Augmented reality means that publishers and authors are now able to bring stories to life in a whole new way.
“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change, I’m changing the things Icannot accept”. – Angela Davis
The reason why I love and live by this quote is because it opens up a world of possibilities. A world where you are in the driver’s seat and are initiating change. As a mother and entrepreneur, I want to encourage individuals to read and learn and not let accessibility or lack of inclusiveness be a barrier.The most powerful technology in the world is technology that everyone, including people with disabilities, can use.
I’m humbled to have received industry recognition and I am incredibly proud to be a Great British Entrepreneur winner, Innovation Champion (Black Tech Achievement Awards) and a National Diversity Award finalist. In 2020 my first book ‘Buster Finds His Beat’ was a winner of the Faber Children’s publisher’s prize award, was featured in the Independent ‘10 Best Kids Books to Celebrate Diversity’ and as has been read by many including ‘Guardians of the Galaxy vol 3’ star Will Poulter.
Awards and recognition are lovely but impact is more important. It’s about inspiring future generations, particularly those who come from communities that historically and systemically have been underfunded, undervalued, and underrepresented. Black women’s perspectives and input are more important than ever to reduce the biases that are already creeping into so many industries. My mission is to completely revolutionaize and diversify the Ed-tech and publishing industry. To support, mentor and offer employment to those with different abilities and who also come from marginalized communities.
MIXD Reality is a tiny team of creative, neurodiverse tech enthusiasts with a mission to make Education Extraordinary, Immersive and Inclusive. Where children are supported, inspired and feel a sense of belonging. Because if all children could see people who looked like them doing amazing things; could you imagine what that spark could do in their mind for their future?
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