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Black Kids Camp, Too...Don't They?: Embracing "Wildness" in Picture Books

My mother was a Girl Scout leader, my father was a Boy Scout leader, and my brother was a Tiger Cub in the Boy Scouts. Practically from the time I could walk, I tagged along with family to scout meetings and events. When I became a Girl Scout, and eventually...

Happy Anniversary: Number the Stars

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Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars was published by Houghton Mifflin in 1989. It won the Newbery Medal in 1990 and celebrates its thirtieth anniversary in 2019.    Thirty years after its publication, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry remains one of the best literary introductions to the Holocaust for children....

Lift Every Voice: Side B

When I was eight years old — you might say octave age — in 1971, I was a DJ playing a record, a single 45, in my bedroom. The song on vinyl I would play was side B of Michael Jackson’s “Got to Be There” — “Maria (You Were the...

Lift Every Voice: Thank You, Gusty

Funny thing is, I have never before shared this experience with anyone. It is most likely the event that had the most impact on the direction of my life. When I was young, my imagination was voracious. In the corner of one of the three rooms of our house (the...

2019 Mind the Gap Awards: The books that didn't win at ALA

  Not all deserving books bring home ALA awards. The books that didn’t win.     Rained out     A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes The Field by Baptiste Paul; illus. by Jacqueline Alcántara Water Land by Christy Hale       Singing the blues   They Say Blue...

What the CSK Means to Me

I’m not a children’s librarian. I don’t even work in the children’s book field. But as an African American, an academic librarian, and a library and information science (LIS) administrator/educator, I have always known the importance of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards. I began my professional career just about...

2018: The Year in Words and Pictures

Who are we? What kind of community are we going to be, do we want to be? These are the ever-more-urgent questions that were being asked — and answered — in 2018, not just by book award committees but also by professional organizations devoted to children’s books and reading, in discussions...

Lift Every Voice: My Grandparents' House

As a child, I loved to visit my grandparents. Their home was very different from ours. My grandmother had purchased it late in life with her own money, she would proudly say. In the house were cherry-wood end tables with scalloped edges and leather insets, beautiful ornate ceramic peacocks that...

Lift Every Voice: History and Stories

In addition to this year being the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards, it is also fifty years since I graduated from high school. My foundational education provided very few opportunities to read books by African American writers, either for school or pleasure. Interestingly,...
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