On this last day of Black History Month, here’s part III of my round up of Black children’s book creators around the Triangle and state. Their books are moving, funny, lyrical, inspiring. They’re must-reads year round.
Award-winning illustrator and author, Vanessa Brantley-Newton creates magic wherever she goes. As a child, Vanessa saw herself in The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Now, she makes sure all kids know they’re seen and loved. Creator of more than 90 books for kids, celebrating diversity is a hallmark of her work. Kirkus said this of her touching picture book, Just Like Me: “Simple, upbeat, and affirming—a great reminder of what is to be gained when girls appreciate their own uniqueness and that of others. A dynamic, uplifting, and welcoming world of girls.” Learn more about Vanessa at https://www.vanessabrantleynewton.com/.
Dorothy H. Price
A former high school teacher, Dorothy H. Price hopes her picture book debut, Nana’s Favorite Things, sparks diabetes awareness. The poignant story, illustrated by TeMika Grooms, explores the relationship between a girl and her grandma who bond around delicious treats until a diabetes diagnosis brings a new understanding. A 2019 We Need Diverse Books mentee, Dorothy is working hard to create more books. You can read her short story, “Songs of Zion,” and see a video rendition here. Learn more about Dorothy at http://dorothyhprice.com/.
Eleanora E. Tate
Eleanora E. Tate is an award-winning author and difference maker whose books for children celebrate cultural pride, family, identity and much more. Winner of a North Carolina Book Award for Juvenile Literature, her stirring novel Celeste’s Harlem Renaissance is set in Raleigh and Harlem. Another of her literary treasures, Just An Overnight Guest, was turned into a television movie starring Richard Roundtree and Rosalind Cash. Creator of nearly a dozen titles, her work empowers and endures. Learn more about Eleanora at www.eleanoraeatate.com.
A beloved, internationally known storyteller, Donna L. Washington is a talented picture book author too. Her titles include A Pride of African Tales, Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa, The Story of Kwanzaa, A Big Spooky House and the forthcoming Boo Stew which originated from a storytelling roundtable game she played with her children. Donna’s stories swing and sway and bring culture to life in inventive ways. Learn more about Donna at https://dlwstoryteller.com/.
Carole Boston Weatherford
A New York Times bestselling author and Newbery Honor winner with more than 50 award-winning books, Carole Boston Weatherford says her mission is to “mine the past for family stories, fading traditions and forgotten struggles.” Her powerful work spans nonfiction, poetry and historical fiction. Carole is known for her stunning biographies that celebrate countless heroes from Oprah Winfrey and Fannie Lou Hamer to John Coltrane and Wendell Scott. Her latest picture book, Unspeakable, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, explores the Tulsa Race Massacre and received six starred reviews. Learn more about Carole at http://www.cbweatherford.com.
Alicia D. Williams
Winner of multiple awards including the Newbery Honor for her debut young adult novel, Genesis Begins Again, Alicia D. Williams is an educator, teaching artist and storyteller whose work is full of purpose and heart. “We write stories that we’re afraid to tell,” she wrote in a post for The Brown Bookshelf. “We write stories that will change us, change others. We write stories that might be deemed uncomfortable. We write stories that require us to be brave.” Alicia’s latest is Jump at the Sun, illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara, a picture book biography of Zora Neale Hurston that has already earned four starred reviews. Learn more about Alicia at https://www.aliciadwilliams.com/.