BLACK CHILDREN’S BOOK AUTHORS WHO ARE CHANGING CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
Walter Dean Myers grew up with a deep love of literature, but he quickly noticed the disappointing lack of diversity in children’s books. He was deeply concerned about how excluding Black children from literature might make them feel ‘otherized.’ He has written over 110 books in an attempt to legitimize Black identity, and he has also won more awards than any other author for young adults. Some of his most popular children’s books are We are America: A Tribute from the Heart, Looking Like Me, Ida B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told, and Where Does the Day Go?
Jacqueline Woodson featured as well.
ALICE B. MCGINTY/TWO OF THE BEST STORIES FROM 2018
In acclaimed author and poet Jacqueline Woodson’s “The Day You Begin” (2018, Nancy Paulsen Books, written by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael Lopez, ages 4-9), we see a close-up of a brown-skinned girl fretfully walking through the door of a classroom. “There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you,” the text reads. “Maybe it will be your skin, your clothes, or the curl of your hair… or the lovely language of the country you left behind.”
Subject/Theme: Award Year 2019, Broadening outlook to appreciate a variety of cultures
Illustrated by Rafael López
CHILDREN’S BOOK OF THE MONTH REVIEW: GHOST BOYS
Ghost Boys, by Jewell Parker Rhodes, is an emotionally challenging but very rewarding book, based on all-too-topical real events. It’s narrated by the ghost of a 12-year-old black boy, Jerome Rogers and begins with his death. We discover that he has been shot on the street by a white policeman who assumed the toy gun Jerome was playing with was real. However, despite the book’s somber subject matter, the author manages to bring in flashes of humor that leaven the narrative, and she ends the story with a feeling of hope that such events can be changed.
BEFORE SHE WAS HARRIET: 2018 JANE ADDAMS CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARD HONOR TITLE FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN
This striking reverse chronology opens with a regal portrait of an elderly Harriet Tubman, after which the Ransomes chart her decades of work in pursuit of equality. (Publisher Weekly)
On this episode of Read Out Loud, author Lesa Cline-Ransome reads BEFORE SHE WAS HARRIET! Learn more about the history of Harriet Tubman.
While the text introduces readers to the details of Tubman’s life, Ransome’s use of watercolor—such a striking departure from his oil illustrations in many of his other picture books—reveals Tubman’s humanity, determination, drive, and hope. Ransome’s lavishly detailed and expansive double-page spreads situate young readers in each time and place as the text takes them further into the past. (Kirkus Review)