Granddaddy’s Gift Recognized For Social Justice By NNSTOY

I’m super excited that my book, Granddaddy’s Gift, has been recognized by the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) as a valuable classroom addition on Social Justice. #TeachSocJustice

Granddaddy’s Gift is a tribute to my grandfather – Joe King, Jr.

Having the right to vote was very important to him. One of my most treasured memories is when I turned 18 my grandfather took me to the courthouse to register to vote. He would be beyond thrilled to learn that his actions all those years ago inspired Granddaddy’s Gift.

Granddaddy’s Gift has stood the test of time. It is included in the Social Justice Book List which is available here: Social Justice Book List

Granddaddy’s Gift is available through Scholastic

An Exciting New Museum On The Horizon

African American Music Appreciation Month is the perfect opportunity to talk about the new museum that is on the horizon.


The National Museum of African American Music is scheduled to open in 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. It will be the only museum dedicated to preserving the legacy of the different types of music that was created, influenced, and inspired by African-Americans.

Proposed in 2002 by members of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, a task force was organized to determine the feasibility of such a project. The task force concluded that Nashville needed a place that could attract more African American conventions, as well as visitors from all backgrounds.

The museum will cover 50 genres of music, including Southern religious, blues, hip-hop, Rhythm & Blues, Jazz, call-and-response spirituals, work songs, gospel, etc.

Black Music Month began in 1979 and was organized by Kenny Gamble, Ed Wright, and Dyana Williams. They convinced President Jimmy Carter to host a reception to formally recognize the cultural and financial contributions of black music. Since then, Black Music Month is celebrated with events across the country. In 2009, President Barack Obama designated June as African American Music Appreciation Month.

The National Museum of African American Music will definitely be a welcome addition, not only to Nashville residents, but to visitors throughout the United States and the world.  Even though there is not a physical building in existence, the National Museum of African American Music has developed programs that served over 8,000 people in 2016.

Although the opening of the National Museum of African American Music is two years away, I am excited about the prospect of having over 50 genres of music, which African-Americans influenced, in one place.

My contribution to the history of jazz music is When Grandmama Sings. When I visit with students I talk to them about the origins of jazz and the various types of jazz artists. They eagerly listen to the excerpts of songs and discuss the story that is being told through the words.

The National Museum of African American Music will further open students minds to the contributions made by black Americans to the musical tapestry of the world.

For information: When Grandmama Sings



Great News – Inspire Me Today Feature

I’m so excited to share some great news with you. Today (April 29, 2017) I am the featured Inspirational Luminary on the international website InspireMeToday sharing my wisdom with the world.

Inspire Me Today features the inspiration of a new Luminary every day. I am delighted to be included in the company of Richard Branson, Seth Godin, and others.

Please visit InspireMeToday and help me inspire the world. If my traffic and comments break records, my essay Decide To Shine Wherever You Are will be shared with millions of additional people too! This is the 3rd time I have been featured.

I hope you’ll check it out, leave a comment and share it with your friends.

Decide To Shine Wherever You Are

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