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An Excerpt from "I Am Myrtilla's Daughter" — The Zena Sutherland Lecture

Like so many authors, I have had to deal with book banners, though on a relatively small scale. Last year my picture book A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart was challenged in Virginia by a parent whose child thought it was about skateboards. Spoiler alert...

Register for Zetta Elliott's 2023 Zena Sutherland Lecture

Zoom registration is open for the 2023 Zena Sutherland Lecture, presented by Zetta Elliott on May 5, 2023:...

Review of Moonwalking

Moonwalking by Zetta Elliott and Lyn Miller-LachmannMiddle School    Farrar    224 pp.    g4/22    978-0-374-31437-8    $16.99e-book ed.  978-0-374-31438-5    $9.99Through alternating first-person accounts, and with varied poetic styles, Elliott (A Place Inside of Me, rev. 11/20) and Miller-Lachmann (Rogue, rev. 9/13) present a thoughtfully structured and sensitively rendered verse novel set in early-1980s...

Review of A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart

A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart by Zetta Elliott; illus. by Noa Denmon Primary, Intermediate    Farrar    32 pp.    g 7/20    978-0-374-30741-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-374-38863-8    $9.99 In this powerfully lyrical poem, Elliott articulates what resides “deep down inside” of the African American, skateboard-loving, first-person protagonist:...

The Writer's Page: "At the Mercy or Whim of Others": Policing Protest in Children's Publishing

“I will not write another lament.” That’s the first line of my poem “Room to Breathe,” which I wrote on May 29, 2020, the day a White Minneapolis police officer was charged with the murder of George Floyd. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, I turned to poetry, since I couldn’t...

Review of The Dragon Thief

The Dragon Thief by Zetta Elliott; illus. by Geneva B Primary, Intermediate    Random    170 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-5247-7049-5    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-5247-7050-1    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-7051-8    $9.99 According to Aunty, "every problem has a solution." But what if your problem is a dragon that won't stop growing? This sequel to Dragons in a Bag (rev. 9/18) alternates between Jaxon, the previous book's protagonist, and Kavita, sister of Jaxon's best friend Vikram....

Five questions for Zetta Elliott

Zetta Elliott's Dragons in a Bag (Random, 8–11 years) kicks off a new middle-grade fantasy series starring Jaxon, a young African American Brooklynite who gets a glimpse of the magical possibilities of our world (and others) when he spends a day with new acquaintance Ma.1. In the acknowledgements of Dragons...

The Writer's Page: Decolonizing the Imagination

The door is a place, real, imaginary and imagined. As islands and dark continents are. It is a place which exists or existed. The door out of which Africans were captured, loaded onto ships heading for the New World. It was the door of a million exits multiplied. It is...

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