With Black Children’s Book Week happening around the globe from February 27 through March 5, 2022, I decided to ask a few local children’s book authors about the importance of this inaugural event.
Why is Black Children’s Book Week so important?
Tiffani Teachey, author of What Can I Be? STEM Careers from A to Z
Tiffani feels that Black Children’s Book Week is important because there is a growing need for more children to see themselves and their cultures in books.
“This week was created so that people could celebrate diversity, including race or ethnicity, with events like book readings from diverse authors. It’s important because without this type of exposure we’re missing out on what other perspectives look like which can lead to becoming less aware of what exists outside one’s own experiences or beliefs…It’s important that we open doors early enough so all kids have access before they judge their potential based on what society tells them. Hence the importance of Black Children’s Book Week.”
As a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) children’s book author, Tiffani feels “there is a need for children to see the diversity and opportunities of what they can be in life even through STEM representation.”
Naseeha Sabree, author of Noori and Friends: On Being Welcoming
Naseeha grew up as a black, Muslim girl in South Carolina. She said,
“I struggle to recall a time during my childhood where I picked up a book and saw a character who even slightly resembled me. That deficiency in representation has more of an effect on our youth than we realize. As a child, not seeing myself in any of the characters in my favorite books made me feel excluded. It made me feel as though I couldn’t relate to anyone, and no one could relate to me. That’s why representation in children’s books matter. It allows for our youth to see themselves in their favorite stories.”
Fatmata Jalloh, author of My Beautiful Son
Fatmata has this advice for young Black children who want to be authors someday:
“We all have something unique to share and it will be a shame to not share your voice and vision via storytelling. Writing can be therapeutic, entertaining, educational, fulfilling or a combination of all. Becoming a published author can now be achieved in a variety of ways. You can go the traditional publishing route, which means going with a big publishing company (if they accept your manuscript) or you can go the self publishing route. The second route gives you more creative freedom but it also means you have to develop your team and do it all yourself. Whatever route you go, make sure you stay true to yourself. Your book does not have to appeal to the masses. But make sure that it serves a purpose while representing your values and promoting your culture. Strive to dispel misconceptions about your community and write books you would want to read as a child or an adult.”
Each of these authors will be participating in a virtual children’s book reading and author talk on Saturday, March 5, at 2 p.m. (EST). You can register for the event HERE.
Why is Black Children’s Book Week important to you? Share with us in the comments!