The 2015 Coretta Scott King Award Winning Books Annouced! Authors You Should Know Mildred Taylor Taylor is the author of nine novels including The

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Mildred Taylor

Taylor is the author of nine novels including The Road to Memphis, Let the Circle Be Unbroken, The Land, and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Her books have won numerous awards, including a Newbery Medal and four Coretta Scott King Awards,

“From as far back as I can remember, my father taught me a different history from the one I learned in school. By the fireside in our Ohio home and in Mississippi, where I was born and where my father's family had lived since the days of slavery, I had heard about our past. It was not an organized history beginning in a certain year, but one told through stories--stories about great-grandparents and aunts and uncles and others that stretched back through the years of slavery and beyond. It was a history of ordinary people, some brave, some not so brave, but basically people who had done nothing more spectacular than survive in a society designed for their destruction.” More ▶


Christopher Paul Curtis

Curtis’s second novel Bud, Not Buddy, which this editor really enjoyed reading to his children, won the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award in 2000. The novel focuses on 10-year-old Bud Caldwell, who hits the road in search of his father and his home. Times may be hard in 1936 Flint, Michigan, but orphaned Bud has got a few things going for him; he believes his mother left a clue of who his father was—and nothing can stop Bud from trying to find him.

More recently Curtis published The Mighty Miss Malone, which was nominated for a 2013 NAACP Image Awards, Outstanding Literary Work Category: Youth/Teens. More ▶

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Pat Cummings

Cummings was born in Chicago but grew up traveling with her military family all over the world. Cummings is the creator of over 30 books for children, including titles that have won the Coretta Scott King Award, the Horn Book-Boston Globe Award and the Orbis Pictus Award for nonfiction.

As one of the illustrators for Our Children Can Soar (Bloomsbury 2009) she received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work: Children. More ▶


Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press

In recent years, some of the unsung black females who played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement have finally begun getting their due, sisters like Daisy Bates, Ida B. Wells, Diane Nash and Ella Baker. Another deserving icon belatedly being recognized is Ethel Payne (1911-1991), an intrepid journalist who embedded herself with grassroots activists while covering the fight for freedom from the front lines.

The reason why the history books have overlooked this worthy pioneer heretofore is ostensibly because she was a reporter for the Chicago Defender, an African-American paper not a part of the mainstream media with which white folks were familiar. However, that’s precisely what made Ethel’s stories unique. More ▶


F.B. Eyes: How J. Edgar Hoover’s Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature by William J. Maxwell

For decades, from the Harlem Renaissance of the Twenties clear through to the Black Arts Movement of the Seventies, J. Edgar Hoover not only closely monitored the movements and work of black authors but employed agents to create and promote content as a counterintelligence measure.

However, the degree of FBI interference chronicled here is nothing short of shocking, between the abuses of power and infringements of Constitutional rights. This meticulously-researched opus reveals the Bureau to be a diabolical outfit dedicated to the destruction of the African-American intelligentsia by any means necessary. More ▶


Bounce by K.M. Jackson

Author K.M. Jackson has a real winner in Bounce, a combination contemporary women's fiction/romance novel that is both entertaining and deeply emotional. The storyline of marital infidelity, is nothing new but this book takes it a bit further in exposing the most intimate details of a woman's heart when her husband admits to having cheated on her with a co-worker, a younger bouncy white girl with a “bimbo-like” persona. More ▶


Our Children Can Soar: A Celebration of Rosa, Barack, and the Pioneers of Change by Michelle Cook, Marian Wright Edelman (Foreword)

This unique picture book is part history, part poetry, and entirely inspirational. It takes the reader step by simple step through the cumulative story of the US Civil Rights Movement, showing how select pioneers' achievements led up to the landmark moment when we elected our first black president. Each historical figure is rendered by a different award-winning illustrator, highlighting the singular and vibrant contribution that each figure made.


Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Originally published in 1976, this a story of struggle and triumph, which won the 1977 Newbery Award from the American Library Association, was a National Book Award Nominee, and was made into a motion picture.

The Logan family works hard to keep the small piece of farmland they own. They endure many racial injustices. The children are harassed by a school bus full of white children. The Wallace boys burn some local black men, killing one, and so the Logan family begins a boycott of their store. Mama decides to take a tour of the local community and urge people not to let their children go there and not to purchase goods there. However, many families have nowhere else to shop. The Logans offer to buy good for them in Vicksburg, and Mr. Jamison backs their credit. More ▶


Bud Not Buddy

Bud Not Buddy, won the Coretta Scott King Author Award in 2000, the 2000 Newbery Medal, and was a one of my favorite books that I read to my daughters.

Bud is fed up with the cruel treatment he has received at various foster homes, and after being locked up for the night in a shed with a swarm of angry hornets, he decides to run away. His goal: to reach the man he—on the flimsiest of evidence—believes to be his father, jazz musician Herman E. Calloway. More ▶


Black History Month Paperback Collection (Lee & Low Books)

The four book collection includes John Lewis in the Lead by Jim Haskins, In Her Hands by Schroeder, i see the rhythm by Toyomi Igus, and Howard Thurman’s Great Hope by Kai Issa.

Lee & Low’s story began with a simple mission: to publish contemporary diverse stories that all children could enjoy. They wanted their books to emphasize the richness of today’s cultures. They have also pledged to make a special effort to work with unpublished authors and illustrators of color.


Through the African American Lens: Double Exposure

“The book essentially reflects the vastness and the dynamism that is the subject matter for the museum,” says Rhea Combs, Curator of Film and Photography at the museum, who led the team that distilled a collection of 15,000 images into the 60 photographs that make the book.

Many of the images in the series are by famous photographers such as Spider Martin, Gordon Parks, Ernest C. Withers, Wayne F. Miller, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. There are also iconic images, such as McPherson & Oliver's Gordon under Medical Inspection (circa 1867), and Charles Moore's photographs of the 1963 Birmingham Children's Crusade. These take their place next to unfamiliar or recently discovered images, including work by Henry Clay Anderson of everyday life in the black community in Greenville, MS, during the height of the Jim Crow segregation laws. More ▶

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Welcome to My Breakdown: A Memoir by Benilde Little

What’s the takeaway? What do you want people to get, to do?

To take off the mask. I look forward to having honest conversations about some of the topics in the book, grief, motherhood—staying home/having a career, depression, mid-life, perfection pressure. So much of what we do in this culture is to soothe our wounds: we buy too much, eat too much, and drink too much. Don’t get me wrong, doing the work, looking at one’s self and examining all those warts is not easy. But I believe, in the long run, it’s the only option.

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will destroy you.”—Jesus Christ More ▶


Against All Odds: From The Projects to the Penthouse

Against All Odds is the best-selling book on for the month of February 2015

For Mahisha Dellinger, life in the rough streets of Sacramento, California was paving the way for a lifetime of poverty, despair and dysfunction. But while criminals ran rampant, gangs took over, and her own relatives chose drugs over dreams, Mahisha knew she was destined for something greater.

In 2002 Mahisha Dellinger left Corporate America to follow her passion. She launched CURLS, an award winning line of organic hair care products for women and girls with natural waves, curls and kinks. She singlehandedly built a strong demand for her brand and Target, Sally Beauty, Wal-Mart and CVS came knocking at her door. CURLS has been featured in a host of beauty publications including InStyle, Essence, Glamour, Ebony, Redbook, and many others. More ▶




The Third Annual African American Children’s Book Fair - May 9 2015 - Baltimore, MD.

The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture hosts its Third Annual African American Children’s Book Fair on Saturday May 9, 12pm-5pm., in Baltimore, MD.

Delight your children with a fun afternoon of story time with award-winning authors, meet-and-greets with illustrators, live performances, and craft activities. Bring memories home by shopping for titles that reflect African American heritage and themes. More ▶


Read the transcript from the “Where are the People of Color in Children’s Books?” panel discussion, which took place during Book Expo America in 2014. Learn about the history the Black Children's Book industry and the struggle to preserve and strengthen it. More ▶


Three Black Childrens Book Authors Make the New York Times Best Sellers List

Congratulations to; Jacqueline Woodson, her book brown girl dreaming is #3 on the list, and won every award that could be won, including a National Book Award; Kwame Alexander, who is a long time supporter of, debuts on the list at #4 with The Crossover ; and Sharon M. Draper’s Out of my Mind rounds out the list, at #6, of Black authors made the Middle Grade, Children’ Best Sellers List on The New York Times.

I’m not one to suggest we need The New York Times to validate our work. The reality, however, is that rest of the world, and many of us, do value making The Times’ best sellers list. Practically speaking, making this list can often put an author into a position that allows earn a living from their writing, which can benefit the Black book ecosystem. More ▶


How a Nation Engages with Art: Highlights from the 2012 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts

The newest study by the National Endowment for the Arts (published September 2013) on how much American adults participate with the arts found that general book reading in 2012 was even with levels in 2008, but that reading literature (defined as novels, short stories, plays and poetry) had declined. More ▶


Gwen Richardson’s Experience at the 2015 NAACP Image Awards Ceremony for Outstanding Literary Work

“In September of last year, I received an email from the Image Awards announcing that the nomination process for the literary awards had begun. As co-founder and national coordinator of the National Black Book Festival, I often receive these types of notifications, which I distribute to authors within our network. As I scanned the list of categories, I noticed one titled “Instructional,” and I decided to submit my book, which was released later that month.

The Awards Committee requires applicants to submit 15 copies of their books for review, plus a processing fee of $215.00. The competition was tremendous, and there was no guarantee of success. Since my books are self-published, the fee and the cost of printing the books was an additional personal expense, but I decided to take a chance.” More ▶


Crossing the Digital Divide Black Pioneers in the High-Tech World, Ebony Magazine, June 2000

Reading this article is both nostalgic and depressing. Living through that period, and comparing it to today, is the main reason I often rant about the state of Black content on the web. As we lose publications, and the remaining ones struggle to survive, articles like this are virtually nonexistent today—even in Ebony.

The potential reflected above has all but disappeared. Netnoir, The Black Word Today, Black Geeks, and many of the other web sites mentioned in this article have disappeared, without fanfare or remorse.

Then chairman of Netnoir, E. David Ellington’s comment was quite revealing; when looking for support from Black media companies, they either wanted to shut him down or buy him out. This mentality helps explain why we have lost so much, and run so little today, on the World Wide Web. More ▶

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Spike’s New Film is Bad, Kickstarter Funding is Worse

Spike’s sharp decline as a filmmaker in recent years is nothing short of shocking, with Oldboy (2013) and Red Hook Summer (2012) also submitted for your disapproval. Claims to the contrary notwithstanding, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus is basically a boring vampire adventure that’s severely lacking in terms of tension, thrills, premise, storyline, special f/x, plausibility, production value, editing and character development. Am I forgetting anything?

Kickstarter, who made a lot of money from Spike’s massive campaign, explained how Spike’s campaign actually helps other filmmakers, “Spike Lee brought three decades of fans to Kickstarter when he launched his project.” Kickstarter implied, but was careful not to state, that Spike’s backers would also back other filmmakers. Kickstarter has all the data, to tell what actually happened. I suspect the funds made available to other filmmakers were were not reported as it would not support the story Kickstarter has created. More ▶


Reader, More than half of this month’s enewsletter is dedicated to children. A significant portion of the rest covers historical information, an obvious nod to Black History month, which celebrates all year long. I hope you find issue enriching and informative.

Over the past five years it has become increasingly difficult to reach readers if you are a book, newspaper, or magazine publisher. Independent authors and those who run content independent websites like suffer from tye same difficulties.

Today, more than ever before, in order for your content be discovered in search, on Amazon, or social media, it requires paying those platform owners money. Having good content alone is simply not enough. If you want to draw people to you platform you have to pay one of the few corporations that control the world wide web.

This does not have to be the case. We can do something about it.

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Reader, if you truly care about seeing the type of content publishes, like this issue for children; I need your financial support. It really does not take much to make a difference. Your paid subscription to our monthly eNewsletter not only supports, but it supports all of the authors and entities we support.

If every subscriber paid for their subscription,'s resources, and time, could be directed to supporting the writers who enrich our lives; rather than to platforms like Facebook, whose sole interest is money.

You may also support the enewsletter by sponsoring an issue. There is only one sponsor per issue (this issue does not have a sponsor, and therefore does not contain a single advertisement). You may also sponsor a dedicated enewsletter. Only one dedicated enewsletter sent each month. Even paid sponsorship is curated to ensure it would be of interest to our readers.

There will be no more extended appeals for subscriptions for the rest of the year—promise.

Peace & Love,

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Founder & Webmaster,

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