A Thousand Winters: 2015 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award Acceptance

In Jackie Woodson's Brooklyn living room, "on hiatus from saving the world." Photo: Nataki Hewling

I am a poet. On the morning of the youth media announcements, Jacqueline Woodson and I are texting each other. There is a shift happening in the wonderful world of children’s books, and we feel it, and I guess we want to share that moment. “Jackie, this is awesome, isn’t it? We need to get […]

#WeGotDiverseAwardBooks: Reflections on Awards and Allies

lambert and family

I missed out on ALA Midwinter this year. At nine months pregnant, there was just no way I could hop on a plane (or hop anywhere, really) to be a part of the conference and its festivities. But shortly after the 2015 ALA Youth Media Awards were announced, a colleague emailed me, “How about all […]

Dream Keepers: 2015 Coretta Scott King Author Award Acceptance

woodson_brown girl dreaming

It is Friday afternoon and I’m sitting in a restaurant in Vancouver, B.C. In an hour, I will give my final talk of a two-day visit. In these two days, I’ve visited a number of schools in Vancouver — both independent and public. As I stood in front of each crowd, I was astonished by […]

2015 CSK Illustrator Award Acceptance

copeland_firebird

I’ve just about given up on the world. A friend of mine, a book-wise, hanger-thin Jamaican, whose spider fingers dance across endless stories, whose easy smile softens the formality of his dress, sent me an essay he wrote, about how much safer he felt as a child in the gangster-riddled streets of 1980s Kingston than […]

Walter Dean Myers’s legacy

Photo by Constance Myers

Librarian Sara Lissa Paulson was so inspired by the work of Walter Dean Myers that she wrote this new article for us. It’s both a tribute to the man and a kick in the pants for publishers to create books for all children by all stripes of new authors and illustrators — and to produce […]

“There Is Work to Be Done” -Walter Dean Myers

Photo by Constance Myers

It was difficult to accept Walter Dean Myers’s death last summer. Just months earlier, and almost exactly a year to this date, he brought the conversation, decades unresolved, to the general public, with his searing New York Times op-ed “Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books?” He gave us the CCBC statistics: only […]

Mind the Gaps: Books for All Young Readers

HBAS keynote speaker Vaunda Micheaux Nelson.

When Roger invited me to deliver the keynote for today’s program, I was a bit intimidated. He told me that the idea for the “Mind the Gaps” theme was inspired by Christopher Myers’s essay “Young Dreamers,” published in The Horn Book last November. Christopher’s essay grew from the ongoing question: where are the people of […]

Building strong bodies 16 ways

Firebird

Irene Smalls, who is moderating the children’s book panel I told you about, has sent along this bibliography of books she put together  to encourage children–particularly African American children–to be more active. Or, as my mother always said,” Go out and play.” Thank goodness Daylight Saving Time is less than two weeks away–I got in […]

Some people smarter than I

baby-foot-in-mouth-200px

While putting my thoughts back in to fully bake–just kidding, I’ve ditched that recipe–I wanted to share some of the valuable links people provided in the comments to my last post and on Facebook. And let me say again how grateful I am for your bearing with me. I think a lot about what it […]

Rockwell and Engelbreit

engelbreit_ferguson

Over the weekend my family visited the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA. It was suggested as a things-to-do-with-kids-in-the-Berkshires activity because of Rockwell’s “accessibility” as an artist. (Be that as it may, the little boys were much more interested in climbing on the outdoor sculptures — allowed! — and running around on the lawn.) Amidst […]