Childrens Books Can Make Parents Become Detectives

Have you ever read a book that touched you so much that you had to find the author and communicate your gratitude?

Children’s books can elicit the same response.

Children can love a book so much that parents reach out to authors. The Internet makes it easy to do so. Parents can find authors through their websites and social media platforms. Before the wide use of social media finding authors usually could only be done through sending letters to publishers. I have received letters from parents that were sent to publishers for me and I have received correspondence directly from parents who found my contact information on the Internet. I cherish the letters and I also cherish the immediacy of the contact through social media.

The following is a message I received from a parent in Los Angeles who located me through social media.

“My daughter and I just finished reading When Grandmama Sings and it started a discussion about segregation, acceptance, and loving others. Thank you! We enjoyed the book.”

Mothers not only contact me, but fathers do too. The following is an email I received from a father who discovered my contact information on my website.

When Grandmama Sings is so realistic and convincing my daughter and I tried to find the history of the singer and her band.”

It brings me much joy to know that my books, not only touch children, but parents as well.

I have even received messages from parents in other countries. The following is an email I received from a father who lives in Israel.

“I am an American-Israeli citizen living practically my whole life in Israel. I have a daughter (5) whom I just finished reading the book you guys wrote and illustrated – Uncle Jed’s Barbershop. Apart from the story beautifully unfolding, the illustrations are amazing and true to life. When I got to the part where she arrives at the hospital and you describe the segregation, I ask my daughter, “What do you think? Are black people and white people any different?” Her answer is simple and touching. “Aba (father in Hebrew), you are a person. She is a person. We are all the same.” Needless to say, the rest of the story was read to her with tears in my eyes. The ending was inspiring and beautiful. And I do not usually go out of my way to find authors and illustrators of the many books I read to her. But this one was a special one. So thank you, for the beauty in storytelling, and the most splendid illustrations accompanying the book. Keep up the good work! With much appreciation!”

Hearing from parents warms my heart. I get such joy from receiving such communication. What makes the letters, emails, and social media messages extra special is that I do not know the people who take time to reach out to let me know that my books touched them.

It is beyond meaningful to know that my words have the ability to touch another human being to their core.

So parents keep up the detective work. Your messages mean more than you will ever know to authors.

For more information about my books click the link to visit my website

Brown Bookshelf Roundtable

I am participating in the Brown Bookshelf Roundtable this month, along with Kekla Magoon, Wade Hudson, and Johnny Ray Moore. Read our thoughts on Where Do We Go From Here regarding the children’s book industry. Below is an excerpt:

Here at the Brown Bookshelf, we’ve spoken often and long on the issues and ideas expressed in the Open Declaration. We do this work to lift up our young readers and show them how they can survive, thrive, and soar in this world. For many of us, the way forward might be clear, for others, not so much. We may sign on to petitions and open declarations, forward emails, RT, and “like”, and these can all be good and powerful things. But we believe that it’s important to reflect on how we will hold ourselves accountable, how we will act, and reflect; how we will “live out commitment to using our talents and varied forms of artistic expression to help eliminate the fear that takes root in the human heart amid lack of familiarity and understanding of others; the type of fear that feeds stereotypes, bitterness, racism and hatred; the type of fear that so often leads to tragic violence and senseless death.” We’ll present a series of those posts here; signatories asking, wondering, and doing an essential question: Where do we go from here?
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Below, in the second of these posts, are some thoughts from award-winning authors, artists, and creators, including Kekla Magoon-KM (Shadows of Sherwood, X: A Novel, How It Went Down), Wade Hudson-WH, author (Jamal’s Busy Day, In Praise of Our Mothers and Fathers, Book of Black Heroes) and publisher of the storied Just Us Books, Margaree King Mitchell-MKM (When Grandmama Sings, Uncle Jed’s Barbershop), and Johnny Ray Moore-JRM, (Meet Martin Luther King, Jr., Howie Has A Stomachache).

Read the complete conversation at: The Brown Bookshelf

 

3 Reasons to Give Uncle Jed’s Barbershop This Christmas

Uncle Jed was the only black barber in the county. And he had a dream. Living in the segregated South of the 1920’s, Uncle Jed had to travel all over the county to cut his customers’ hair. He lived for the day when he could open his very own barbershop. But Uncle Jed encountered setback after setback that delayed his dream. However, not even the Great Depression could force him to give up on his dream.  Uncle Jed finally opened his barbershop after saving for years and years. The community celebrated with him and so did his niece, Sarah Jean.

Uncle Jed’s Barbershop is a stirring story of dreams long deferred and finally realized.

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Here are three reasons to give Uncle Jed’s Barbershop to the child on your  Christmas list.

  1. Uncle Jed’s Barbershop inspires children to dream great dreams for their lives and realize that those dreams can come true. I will always remember the girl in Little Rock, Arkansas who said to me, “I want to be a doctor when I grow up, but my Grandmama says I will never be one. Now I know I can be a doctor.”
  2. An award-winning musical has been adapted from Uncle Jed’s Barbershop. The most recent honor is a Henry Award nomination for Outstanding New Musical. Theatre critics say: “Get ready for some toe-tapping fun!”“Uncle Jed’s Barbershop leaps from the bookshelf to the stage!”ujb24    ujb50  angels hair9
  3. James Ransome’s wonderful richly colored paintings bring the story to life.

Learn about Uncle Jed’s Barbershop

Learn about Uncle Jed’s Barbershop Musical

A Wonderful Joyous Day

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The National Museum of African-American History & Culture opened Saturday with a ceremony befitting it’s importance. Rev. Howard-John Wesley, pastor of Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia said that this museum “Symbolizes all of the contributions, the culture and the crisis of black America. It’s a beautiful thing, especially in this day and time when we’re fighting to remind ourselves how important black lives are.”

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The museum holds more than 3,000 items, including exhibits of an authentic slave cabin from a plantation in South Carolina, a Tuskegee Airmen training plane , the casket of Emmett Till, Chuck Berry’s candy-apple red 1973 Cadillac Eldorado, and nine of the ten Olympic medals won by Carl Lewis.

Descend into the lowest level. The exhibits start with the trans-Atlantic slave trade and goes to Emancipation. Along the way you will see a whip used aboard slave ships, an auction block where slaves were sold, and Nat Turner’s Bible.

The next level and ramps cover segregation to today. They include a rail car from the Southern Railway which shows the different accommodations for white and black passengers, who paid the same fare.

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Above ground are floors 3 and 4. Here you will find African-American achievements in the fields of music, art, sports, the military, and other areas highlighted. From these levels visitors can look out and view the Washington Monument, Arlington National Cemetery, the White House, and the National Mall.

In his dedication of the museum, President Obama said, “Hopefully, this museum will help us to talk to each other, and more importantly listen to each other, and most importantly see each other.”

The dedication ceremony ended with the oldest and the youngest members of the Bonner family, who are descendants of slaves, ringing the Freedom Bell to officially open the Smithsonian’s new museum.

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A trip to Washington, D.C. to see  the National Museum of African-American History and Culture is a must. The museum is power packed, absorbing, and filled with exhibits that will elicit a wide range of emotions.

I Am Featured On Inspire Me Today

I’m so excited to share some great news with you! Today I am the featured Inspirational Luminary on InspireMeToday.com, sharing my wisdom with the world.

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Excerpts from Decide To Shine Wherever You Are:

Don’t be afraid of becoming who you are.

The minute you decide that you are going to become who you are meant to be in this world, is the moment you begin to soar.

Criticism stops us at times. But look at your critic as a person, not as a god. When we place critics in the proper perspective we can get on with our life’s mission.

Click to continue reading: Decide To Shine Wherever You Are

 

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