Nikki Cooper ’98 is the second-generation owner of a San Francisco restaurant and recently embarked on a new experience — as a children’s book author. She said she took on this new role because she wanted increase representation of people of color in the genre. She followed up 2019’s Chocolate Covered Gratitude with Chocolate Covered Courage last year. They both follow a young girl named Davis and teach valuable life lessons. But you can still find Cooper running Two Jack’s Nik’s Place, which serves southern comfort food. And she has recently become the program director for the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce.
What was your undergrad experience like?
I had a very interesting college experience. I had to commute from campus to my parents’ restaurant located in San Francisco. After graduating I took over my parents’ restaurant. My experience at Davis helped me become a business owner. It taught me how to prioritize my time and prepared me for adulting.
What was the writing process like for you?
I feel that college definitely taught me the discipline I needed to both manage my time and deal with life. I am a wife, I have two kids in high school, and I manage a business. Each day I had to set aside a couple of hours a day to write, so time management was important. However, those hours were some of the most relaxing hours I had to myself, and it allowed my imagination to run.
What has the response to the books been like?
I have had so many people tell me how grateful they are for the representation that I decided to include in my books. I felt that there needs to be more representation for our communities of color and teaching our younger generations about the importance of having courage and expressing gratitude. I feel that if I had personally read more books like these growing up, I would have greatly benefited from them. That is what I wish these books do for younger readers.