Day 19: Jay Coles

I’m super behind on posting these. I’m trying to catch up. Enjoy!

JayColes

JAY COLES is a young adult and middle grade writer, a composer with ASCAP, and a professional musician residing in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is a graduate of Vincennes University and Ball State University and holds degrees in English and Liberal Arts. When he’s not writing diverse books, he’s advocating for them, teaching middle school students, and composing music for various music publishers. Jay’s young adult novel TYLER JOHNSON WAS HERE is about a boy whose life is torn apart by police brutality when his twin brother goes missing, inspired by events from the author’s life and the Black Lives Matter movement.

THE JOURNEY and THE BACK STORY

I’d been querying and sending out manuscripts to agents since I was in high school. I was pretty ambitious (Ha ha). A lot of those manuscripts were really not good and thank God no agent signed me for them. Then, one day, I…

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Day 18: Carmen Bogan

I’m super behind on posting these. I’m trying to catch up. Enjoy!

Carrmen Bogan

Carmen Bogan is the award- winning author of the picture books, Where’s Rodney?, Granny, Who is God? and its upcoming sequel Up in God’s House. Carmen also founded Dream On Publishing in 2013. On her website, Carmen explains that the mission of her mulitcultural children’s book publishing company is to respect and free the voices and minds of all children and youth through the journey of reading and writing because literacy gives wings to dreams.

She is a member of the Oakland Literacy Coalition and is a writing coach for children and youth. The recipient of the coveted New Voices Literary Award from Lee & Low Books, Carmen holds BA degrees in journalism and English from Stanford University and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Carmen is a frequent trainer and lecturer to women’s groups, nonprofit professionals, and faith-based organization leaders. Carmen has two daughters…

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Day 17: Gordon C. James

I’m super behind on posting these. I’m trying to catch up. Enjoy!

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Well. A lot has happened since the BBS team elected to honor fine artist and breakout children’s book illustrator Gordon C. James in this year’s 28 Days Later campaign. By a lot I mean the blowing up of his beautiful new book, CROWN: An Ode to the Fresh Cut (written by Derrick Barnes, published by Denene Millner Books), which has garnered the following recognition in the five months since its release:

  • 4 Starred Reviews from Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, and Horn Book Magazine
  • Inclusion in 20 “Best of 2017” Book Lists, including NPRHuffington Post, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Horn Book Magazine, the News & Observer, BookPage, the Chicago Public Library, and more
  • Seven prestigious awards: Caldecott Honor Award, Newbery Honor Award, Coretta Scott King Illustrator and

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Day 16: Marley Dias

It’s not everyday that one of the authors we spotlight also happens to be a member of the primary audience of the books that those of us Marley Dias 1at BBS creates.  But today, is that day.

The same month that she turned 13 years old, Marley Dias also became a debut author. An impressive milestone on its own, yet only the latest in the young author’s journey that started in November 2015 when she launched the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign.

Famously quoted as rebuking the amount of books out there about White boys and dogs, Marley set out to collect 1,000 books that featured African American female protagonists. The campaign drew national attention and resulted in the donation of over 9,000 books.

Marley Book CoverMarley is now walking the walk by offering her own book, Marley Dias Gets It Done, a do-it-yourself guide to assist young readers with activism and tips on how to…

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Day 15: Keturah A. Bobo

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Born in Toledo, Ohio with strong family roots in Detroit, Michigan, Keturah grew up with parents that instilled in her the importance of individuality and creativity.

Many of her illustrations depict empowering messages of black women and girls. Her paintings are renown for having large bold beautiful hair styles and representing an underserved, but growing, population of self-aware people within the African diaspora.

And one look at the abundance of her products online is all you’ll need to see exactly what we mean. Keturah is literally a one person shop that features everything from hand-painted denim jackets, to Tees, to prints and mugs all adorned with her beautifully rendered black women.

We asked her about her journey, her backstory and her inspiration.

These are her words:

THE JOURNEY

As an artist it is my duty to make art that inspires, uplifts, and advocates for my community. Nothing is more important…

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Day 14: Tiffany D. Jackson

Tiffany D JacksonLast winter, Tiffany D. Jackson’s debut YA novel ALLEGEDLY had a lot of people talking with it’s emotionally charged story literally ripped from the courtroom. Kirkus called the novel “searing and true,” adding it “effectively joins Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th and Michelle Alexander’s THE NEW JIM CROW(2010) to become another indictment of the penal system’s decimating power beyond its bars.” In June, we’ll be treated to a second novel, also based on a real life court case.

THE JOURNEY

TB: When did you start your writing journey?

allegedly coverTJ: My journey started when I was four! I wrote short stories for my mom, lumping random letters together to make them look like real words, and always grew frustrated when she couldn’t read them back to me. Fast forward to college, where I majored in Film and Television but still dreamed of becoming an author, working on stories during summer…

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Day 13: Fracaswell Hyman

fracaswellA veteran TV writer and producer, the talents of Fracaswell Hyman have brought you shows like Ghostwriter, Gullah Gullah, Island, The Famous Jett Jackson, Taina and Romeo. He never planned on writing children’s television programs, Fracaswell’s dream was to be in front of the camera. The lesson: Dream Big. He did it all. As an actor, he appeared in Malcolm X, Ghostwriter, Separate But Equal and Law and Order. He’s in an upcoming stage production of Fences in Wilmington, NC where he lives. His latest leap? Becoming a middle-grade author. His acclaimed novel, Mango Delight, has won a starred review from Booklist and earned praise for its originality, complexity and understanding of the friendship issues tweens face. We look forward to more great work from him.

Please join us in celebrating Fracaswell Hyman on Day 13 of our campaign:

The Journey

I…

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Day 12: Ebony Glenn

EbonyGlennEdit Ebony Glenn is an illustrator and artist living on the quiet outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia. With an arts degree in Drawing and Painting from UNG , she aspires to bring stories to life with fanciful illustrations that are filled with whimsy and charm.

While looking through her website,  I was captivated by her  bright colorful illustrations. And somehow everything she draws seems to have a warm childlike innocence. Even the adults!  It’s no wonder that her new book, Mommy’s Khimar, has received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist!

While we anxiously await its release date of April 3, 2018, I was lucky enough to pick her brain on a few things. Here are her comments.

THE JOURNEY

JC: When did you start your writing journey?

EG: Ever since I was a girl, I’ve always known that I wanted to make art for a living.  Illustration has always been…

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Day 11: Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl

photo credit: Paige Louw * 
“My goal is to focus on crafting stories for global audiences inspired by my Ugandan heritage. Set primarily in East and Southern Africa, my stories aim to illuminate the everyday and diverse experiences of African children, while celebrating human universality.” says Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl on Mater Mea. And with its celebration of both the unique and the universal, SLEEP WELL, SIBA AND SABA reads like a loving literary hug. Please join us in welcoming Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl and her children’s literature debut!

The Journey:
I think like many writers, my path to publishing started long ago…as a reader. I read quite a bit as a child and as a young adult, and at some point (about 15 years ago), I recognized that stories that featured an African perspective were missing along the spectrum of fiction from children’s literature to adult literary fiction.  I noticed…

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Day 10: L.L. McKinney

BladeSoBlack_CVRThere have been days where I’ve literally felt like grabbing my favorite snack and watch L.L. McKinney go after folks on Twitter who seem to have made it a part-time job to come for her and her views.  I was excited to talk about how much the Twitterverse has changed since she joined the platform in 2009.  Specifically related to books and  publishing industry talk.

BBS: How different is ElleonWords 2017 than ElleonWords 2009?

She is less naïve about what it takes to be a writer in this world and this industry that, to be frank, doesn’t want to see Black Women succeed at anything. Not really. She is more outspoken, she goes after what she wants, she lets nothing stand in her way. She’s honestly a bit angrier, but it’s more a fire that drives her than some unwieldy emotion that makes her irrational.

Contrary to popular belief—and what…

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