Apr. 9—Orcutt siblings Anaiyah and Tyquam "Ty" Alexander have a relationship like many other families — sometimes they disagree, but ultimately they love one another.
However, unlike many brothers and sisters, their relationship is encapsulated in the children's book "Little Brothers Are Annoying," written by 8-year-old Anaiyah herself.
After catching the eye of an Indiana-based publishing company, the book now is being sold across the country through retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Anaiyah penned the tale of her sibling relationship as part of a homeschool assignment over two years ago. She was annoyed that she had homework when her brother didn't, so he became the focus of the assignment, mother Toni Dyer said.
The next year, long after the assignment, Anaiyah chose to finish the story in a book format. She detailed the difficulties of sharing her toys and friends but, also, finding appreciation for the gift of her bond with Ty, 7. In the end she concludes, "I guess what I should say ... is that little brothers are the best!"
Upon completion, Anaiyah expressed an interest in publishing, so Dyer began exploring options with the help of Local Copies, Etc. in Santa Maria. The family also found an illustrator online.
"We thought, we'd love to keep the product local," Dyer said. "Everyone wanted it. We self-published it, and within the first two weeks, she sold over 100 copies just from [posting] on social media."
The first copies, developed in a booklet style, were mostly sold to family and friends through Facebook.
However, in March, Dyer was stunned to hear that Xlibris Publishing wanted to take over printing "Little Brothers Are Annoying" and share the book with a wider audience.
A new version of the children's book then became available through worldwide retailers, with the proceeds going into Anaiyah's savings fund.
"It happened so fast, because we had already done all the groundwork for them, [like] the illustration and the copyright," Dyer said.
Anaiyah was ecstatic at her book's success, and the chance to share her story with others.
"It went all over the world!" she said.
A children's book titled "How to Deal with and Care for Your Annoying Little Brother," written by then-8-year-old Nia Mya Reese, also has been published and ended up on an Amazon bestseller list. Dyer said she saw the 2016 book come up when she would search for her own daughter's book but that she had not heard of it before then.
"I guess that's an 8-year-old thing, being annoyed with your little brother," she said.
For the Dyer family, their pursuits don't stop with book publishing. Anaiyah and Ty also organize charity events and sell other products through their organization, Young But Mighty.
"Young But Mighty is me and my brother's organization where we find ways to help out the community," Anaiyah explained.
As part of their service, the siblings and their mother have held a food drive, distributed socks and jackets to local homeless residents, and set up a "take one, leave one" table in their neighborhood for community members to take and share items like games and household supplies.
They also sell "Miss Thang" lip gloss made by Anaiyah, who enjoys using her mom's makeup whenever she can, and "Fly Ty" sunglasses made by her brother, on an online Etsy shop.
The family is holding a book signing from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at Chef Rick's Ultimately Fine Foods on Foster Road, with friends and community members invited to attend.
"She's gotten so much love," Dyer said. "It's overwhelming."