Black Authors in Literature are Important
The Black community currently faces a huge problem. This problem is only growing worse during the pandemic: Low literacy rates, high dropout rates, and most books in curriculum and schools written by non-Black authors. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a sector of the U.S. Department of Education, 84% of Black students are not proficient in math and 85% of Black students are not proficient in reading. The lack of books written by Black authors in wide circulation creates a vicious cycle of unread books and uneducated people.
In 2018, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center found that approximately six percent (6%) of children’s books were written by Black authors.
When our children cannot find someone they can relate to on the pages of the book in their hands, they lose interest in reading altogether. This causes even more issues down the road when they try to get a job or pursue a college degree.
Black Stories Matter
If we want our children to succeed in life, then we need to make sure that they see Black representation in books every day. Frequent representation enables everyone to learn more interesting things and perspectives about Black culture.
“Black authors are relevant for everyone because they have a lot of stories to share, and their stories aren’t the same as a story from an author with another race.“
Black authors are relevant to everyone because their stories go beyond the norm. The stories of Black authors are different and interesting, and they can help us all expand our worldviews.
What is Black Literature?
Black literature is anything written by a black author. It’s not a genre—it’s just a book, written by a black author.
The work of Black authors isn’t only for people of color—it can also be for anyone who wants to learn more about the lives of people different from them. Most Black literature is about the African American experience, but there are also works that are universal and take place in other countries or with other cultures in mind.
Books like these can teach readers how someone else might live or how another part of the world thinks or looks.
Black Literature Can Be For Everyone
People often think of Black literature as being just for Black people—but it isn’t at all! Sometimes books by Black authors deal with race issues, sometimes fairy dust and sometimes it has nothing to do with race whatsoever. And who’s to say non-Black people aren’t interested in the subject?
It is important to focus on the power of the words written no matter the intended audience for the Black stories.
Words can oppress and denigrate and words can educate and uplift. They can be used as weapons or as vehicles of hope. The author infuses meaning and intent into the words they choose.
Authors can choose to either use them to capture the enjoyment of life or use them to diminish the life of others and cripple their right to enjoy their lives. Everyone should read the books from Black authors because we sometimes forget that we are more alike than different. Reading stories of other races, especially if it reinforces your current belief and understanding, helps everyone become familiar with each other’s cultures.
Anticipated Children’s Book Releases from Black Authors
Black authors face additional hurdles in publishing because their stories often do not fit into traditional publishing boxes. It’s very difficult for them to find mainstream literary representation or funding. Consequently, they must find other ways to create capital to bring their stories to life. One way is by using the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter which enables people to support a project by pre-ordering that project. The author sets a minimum amount needed for production. Once they reach their goal through pre-orders, they move forward with publication. Readers are only charged if the author meets their goal by the deadline. It is a win/win situation for supporters!
Here are a few Black authors whose books we would love to see on store shelves.
1. Mason and Milo by Nyliah Sulaimana
This book is a unique STEM learning bedtime story that includes a lullaby audio for comforting dreams. Mason and Milo is a beautifully illustrated book currently available on Kickstarter. To learn more about this project visit https://masonandmilobox.com.
2. What Did We Miss? By Tiffany Semmons
This is a hilarious, whimsical bedtime story that highlights the importance of sleep and serves as a bedtime bonding tool for families. This book is coming to Kickstarter on March 1st. To learn more about this project visit www.somuchsemmons.com.
3. The Wealth Playground Series by Jasmine Paul
This book series teaches kids about financial literacy and makes creating wealth fun! This series is available for a limited time on Kickstarter at www.thewealthplayground.com.
4. Silly Little Squabbles by J.J. Shegog
Silly Little Squabbles is a social-emotional learning book for children. It introduces conflict resolution skills to children as young as 3, which in today’s climate, is a lifesaving skill. It is currently available now on Kickstarter at www.sillylittlesquabbles.com.
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