Choosing Brave: Janelle Washington's 2023 BGHB Nonfiction Honor Speech

I express my deepest appreciation to the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards judges Erica Marks, Martha V. ­Parravano, and Roger Sutton for choosing Choosing Brave for a 2023 Nonfiction Honor Book award. It’s a tremendous honor to have ­Choosing Brave acknowledged among such a talented and passionate ­community of authors and illustrators. ­Congratulations to all of the winners and honor award winners!

I also extend my heartfelt thanks to the brilliant author of this book, Angela Joy, whose words and vision provided the canvas upon which I could cut my illustrations, each cut assisting in telling a piece of the powerful and essential story of Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till.

Illustrating Choosing Brave has been a profound journey for me. I was privileged to be able to capture such a significant moment in history through the use of paper and to amplify Mamie Till-Mobley’s life story. This book is a tribute to the countless individuals who have stood up against injustice and oppression, often at significant personal cost. Like Mamie Till-Mobley’s and Emmett Till’s, their stories remind us that change is ­possible when we choose bravery over complacency.

[Read Horn Book reviews of the 2023 BGHB Nonfiction winners.]

Again, I want to thank the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards Committee, the Choosing Brave team, and everyone who has supported Choosing Brave. May this book educate and inspire conversations, foster understanding, and encourage the next generation to choose bravery and stand up for justice.

From the January/February 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. For more on the 2023 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards, click on the tag BGHB23. Read more from The Horn Book by and about Janelle Washington.

Janelle Washington

Janelle Washington is the illustrator of Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement (Roaring Brook), written by Angela Joy, which won the 2023 Walter Award in the younger readers category and received a 2023 Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Award for Nonfiction. (Photo by Class & Style Productions.)

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