Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Black Caucus of the American Library Association Literary Award Winners

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Inc. (BCALA) announced the winners of the 2009 BCALA Literary Awards. The awards recognize excellence in adult fiction and nonfiction by African American authors published in 2008.

The winner in the Fiction category is Trading Dreams at Midnight by Diane McKinney-Whetstone (HarperCollins). The two Fiction Honor Book winners are Seen it All and Done the Rest by Pearl Cleage (One World/Ballantine) and Where the Line Bleeds by Jesmyn Ward (Agate).

The winner in the Nonfiction category is Ida: A Sword Among Lions by Paula J. Giddings (Amistad/Harper Collins). The Nonfiction Honor Book winner is Letter To My Daughter by Maya Angelou (Random House, Inc.).

The recipient of the First Novelist Award is Carleen Brice for Orange Mint and Honey (One World/Ballantine). (Wowza!!!)

For excellence in scholarship, the BCALA Literary Awards Committee presents the Outstanding Contribution to Publishing Citation to Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs (Amistad/HarperCollins) by Deborah Willis and Kevin Merida.

Thanks to Librarian for all this info.

Guest post by the Happy Nappy Bookseller and FREE books!

Once again, December isn't the only time you should support black authors. Every February brings plenty of opportunity. This Black History Month, Doret Canton, the Happy Nappy Bookseller, is hoping you'll support black children's and YA authors with the purchase of at least one book during the month of February. See her guest post below and keep reading: there are give-aways!

In honor of Black History Month, I am asking everyone who reads this to support diversity by buying a children's or young adult book by a Black author. If you visit the literature section in a bookstore, you can easily find stories from around the world. This is a little more difficult for children and teen readers. Though there are more books being released by minority authors for children's and teens, if customers aren't buying them bookstores won't stock them. As a bookseller all I can do is make sure the books are in, display and recommend them, after that it's up to the customer. If the books don't sell, they go back.

Now some books won't even make it to the shelf. Next publishers will be less inclined to sign new minority children's and young adult authors. Buying one book is not going to stop this vicious cycle but it is a beginning. So please go to a bookstore and buy a children's or young adult book by a black author. Also if you like the Black History Month display in the children's section tell the manager or owner. After your purchase, of course. A compliment means nothing to the bookstore, authors or publishers if it doesn't result in a sale.

Don't let this be a one time thing continue to support Black, Latino, Asian, Native American, Muslim children's and young adult authors, simply because you like the stories they tell. You want to continue to expose your young readers to different writing styles, nuances, cultures and ideas.

If you need some suggestions, click this link for a list of Black children's authors and titles by age.

Now on to the give-aways! Doret has kindly donated books and ARCs, and the authors Zetta Elliott and Dream Jordan have also donated a copy of their books. Here are the books:

Zahrah The Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu (ages 10 & up)
The Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby by Crystal Hubbard (6 up)
Little Divas by Philana Marie Boles (10 up)
Nikki & Deja Birthday Blues by Karen English (ARC) (7 up)
Dope Sick by Walter Dean Myers (ARC) (12 up)
Bird by Zetta Elliott** (6 up) (signed by the author and illustrator, Shadra Strickland, who just won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award!)
Hot Girl by Dream Jordan (12 up)

Jumped by Rita Williams Garcia (ARC) (12 up)

The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon (10 up)


1) Leave a comment about which book you'd like. 2) Promise to read the book and post about it on your blog in a timely fashion. 3) If you're a parent, have your child loan it to at least one friend. 4) One comment per person**. 5) If there are multiple requests for a book, we'll draw names.

** Since Bird is a signed book, Doret would like to do a drawing. Leave one comment with the promises above and you can earn a second entry by leaving another comment with a link to this post on your blog. See the book trailer for Elliott's new book, A Night After Midnight.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What's next?

Is anybody thinking of anything else today? I know I'm not.

But I have been thinking about what comes next with this blog and our writer-in-chief President Obama's successes make me hopeful about the possibilities. Buy a Book by Somebody Black and Give it to Somebody Not Black Month is over (though, still free to buy and give) for this year. But I want to continue to call people's attention to black authors. Of course, Black History Month is just around the corner. That takes care of February, but what about the other 11 months of the year?
There will be more reviews, more guest bloggers, most suggested reads. But what else can we do?

One idea: a monthly contest!
Every month this blog will announce a "Welcome Read Pick of the Month," a book by a black author (never me) that I think people ought to know about. I'll blog a little about the book and pick names from a hat from all the commenters on that post and that person will get a free copy of the book. If I can get one from the publisher, I will, if not I'll buy it with my own $.
Speaking of contests, Shauna Roberts is the winner of the free, signed copy of GOING DOWN SOUTH. Congrats, Shauna!

Another idea: in-store events!
Some writers and I are hoping to put together a day of events in various cities across the country in which black authors do readings and/or book-signings. Stay tuned for deets. If you have suggestions or want to participate (either as an author or book-seller or librarian or book-club), let us know.

Another idea: bringing white and black readers together!
Book Maven Tee C. Royal, Ali from the blog Diversity Rocks! and I are working on a way to bring black and white readers together to read books that aren't based on race, but feature a diversity of authors. Interested in participating? Let me know.

Other ideas? Let me hear them.

In the meantime, Happy Inauguration Day and cheers to the audacity of hope!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

NAACP Image Award Nominees

Congratulations to all the finalists for the 2009 NAACP Image Awards, including friend of the blog, Bonnie Glover! I'm going to suggest some of these books might be enjoyable by non-blacks as well. So white folks, read on.
To celebrate her nomination, Bonnie's giving a FREE, SIGNED copy of Going Down South to one lucky winner. Leave a comment on this post and I'll draw a name at random at 5 p.m. MST Monday, January 19 and announce the winner on Tuesday, Jan. 20.

Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction

Blood Colony: A Novel – Tananarive Due (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster)
Going Down South: A Novel – Bonnie J. Glover (Random House/One World/Ballantine)
In the Night of the Heat: A Tennyson Hardwick Novel – Blair Underwood, Tananarive Due, Steven Barnes (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster)
Just Too Good to Be True – E. Lynn Harris (Doubleday)
Song Yet Sung – James McBride (Riverhead Books)

Outstanding Literary Work – Non-Fiction

Hope on a Tightrope: Words and Wisdom – Cornel West (Smiley Books)
Letter to My Daughter – Maya Angelou (Random House)
Moving to Higher Ground – Wynton Marsalis, Geoffrey Ward (Random House)
The Sea is So Wide And My Boat is So Small – Marian Wright Edelman (Hyperion)
There’s No Traffic on the Extra Mile: Lessons on the Road From Dreams to Destiny – Rickey Minor (Gotham Books)

Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author

Barack, Race, and the Media: Drawing My Own Conclusion – David Glenn Brown (David G. Brown Studios)
The Beautiful Struggle – Ta-Nehisi Coates (Spiegel and Grau)
Homeroom Heroes: Freshman Edition – Michael B. Jordan, Rahfeal Gordan (RahGor Publishing)
No Way Home – Carlos Acosta (Scribner)
War of the Blood In My Veins – Dashaun "Jiwe" Morris (Scribner)

Outstanding Literary Work – Biography/Autobiography

21 Nights – Prince (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster)
Baldwin’s Harlem: A Biography of James Baldwin – Herb Boyd (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster)
The Black List – Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Elvis Mitchell (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster)
The Legs Are The Last to Go – Diahann Carroll (Amistad)
Maya Angelou: A Glorious Celebration – Marcia Ann Gillespie, Rosa Johnson Butler, Richard A. Long (Doubleday)

Outstanding Literary Work – Instructional

32 Ways to Be A Champion in Business – Earvin "Magic" Johnson (Crown Business)
The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life – Kevin Powell (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster)
Dining in – G. Garvin (Meredith Books)
Good is not Enough and Other Unwritten Rules for Minority Professionals – Keith R. Wyche (Portfolio/Centennial)
Tapping the Power Within: A Path To Self-Empowerment For Women – Iyanla Vanzant (Smiley Books)

Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry

Hardheaded Weather – Cornelius Eady (Marian Wood Books)
Hip Hop Speaks To Children: A Celebration of Poetry With A Beat – Nikki Giovanni (Source Books/Jabberwocky)
Honoring the Ancestors – James Cherry (Third World Press)
Things I Must Have Known – A B Spellman (Coffee House Press)
Warhorses – Yusef Komunyakaa (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Outstanding Literary Work – Children

Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem – Maya Angelou (illustrators - Lou Fancher & Steven Johnson) (Schwartz & Wade)
Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope – Nikki Grimes, (illustrator - Bryan Collier) (Simon & Schuster)
Say a Little Prayer – Dionne Warwick, David Freeman Wooley, Tonya Bolden, (illustrator – Soud) (Running Press)
We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball – Kadir Nelson (Disney Publishing)
You Can Do It! – Tony Dungy, (illustrator - Amy June Bates) (Simon & Schuster)

Outstanding Literary Work – Youth/Teens

Beacon Hills High – Mo’Nique Imes Jackson, Sherri McGee McCovey (Amistad)
Joseph – Shelia P. Moses (Simon & Schuster)
Letters To A Young Sister: Define Your Destiny – Hill Harper (Gotham Books)
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s American Heroes: Robert Smalls, The Boat Thief – Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., (illustrator Patrick Faricy) (Disney Hyperion)
Sugar Plum Ballerinas: Plum Fantastic – Whoopi Goldberg, Nancy Cato, (illustrator - Maryn Roos)(Disney Publishing)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rich Watson on The New Black Comic Books

I am very psyched about this post. This blog is leading me to whole new worlds of literature. I hope you feel the same.

Rich Watson has been involved with comics since 1993 as an artist, retailer, journalist, and more. He is a staff writer for Pop Culture Shock and the creator of the web comic City Mouse Goes West. He lives in Columbus, OH. Everything below is from Rich:

In recent years, comic books have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity the like of which has not been seen in generations. As the public has slowly become aware of the wide variety of genres the medium offers, the awareness of creator diversity has also increased. African-Americans, in particular, are beginning to reap the benefits of this new comics renaissance. More black creators are entering the field and making their presence known, and publishers are green-lighting more books with black characters and themes.

In 2005, I founded the Glyph Comics Awards (GCA), with the invaluable cooperation of the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention (ECBACC), to recognize the quality of these creators and their work in a medium where it is easy to overlook. The awards strive to not only single out the best in black comics, but to provide a pinnacle for future creators to aspire to. It was also founded to provide entry points for new readers and thereby expand the audience. The following is an abbreviated list of notable past winners, meant to provide an idea of the kinds of books that are feted.

Nat Turner
Kyle Baker, writer and artist

Inspired by the life of the 19th century slave who inspired a brief but bloody revolution in the American south, this four-time GCA winner (including Story of the Year 2006) relies on the words of Turner himself to tell the story, accentuated by a gritty cartoon style that never flinches in depicting the brutality of not only the
slave trade, but Turner's rebellion.

Astonishing X-Men: Storm
Eric Jerome Dickey, writer, David Yardin & Lan Medina and Jay
Leisten & Sean Parsons, artists

Comics have attracted many "celebrity" creators in recent years. Marvel Comics recently brought in noted romance novelist Dickey to portray this love story from the early days of two of comics' greatest black characters: the X-Man Storm and the African monarch known as the Black Panther. The result was a tale grounded in the reality of African life and politics, while providing a healthy dose of the action and adventure that have made Marvel a household name. It won the 2007 Fan Award for Best Comic.

Templar, Arizona
Spike, writer and artist

Some of the freshest new comics talent of the 21st century can be found on the internet, including the recipient of the 2007 Rising Star Award, Spike. Her series builds an entire world of oddball characters and curious places, all inhabiting the fictitious town of the title. One part David Lynch, one part Charlie Kaufman, the strip (collected in two hardcopy volumes and counting) is truly a singular vision that reflects the mind of its creator.

Marguerite Abouet, writer, Clement Oubrerie, artist

Comics are a global phenomenon, from England and France to Brazil, the Philippines, India, and Japan and Korea. With this coming-of-age tale of teenagers in the Ivory Coast of the 70s, Abouet presented a side of Africa not often seen in the media, and invested her story with equal parts warmth, humor, and sincerity, abetted by the lively and colorful artwork of Oubrerie. It is the winner of two GCAs, including the 2008 Rising Star Award, and a second volume is currently available.

The K Chronicles
Keith Knight, writer and artist

In a climate where editorial cartoonists are a slowly dying species, it's a struggle for survival for the ones still making a living. As the winner of three consecutive GCAs for Best Comic Strip - indeed, the only winner of the award in the GCAs' brief history - as well as many other awards, Keith Knight sits at the top of the heap. His insightful and incisive take on modern life is reflected in all his strips, including th(Ink) and his latest, The Knight Life, but never more so than in this one. It is available in a large omnibus collection.

The GCA ceremony is held every May as part of ECBACC, the comics convention that celebrates black comics talent. For more information about both, visit the ECBACC website, and follow this year's nominees at my blog, Glyphs.