a forum for open, honest dialogue among allies within the children's literature community
Kid Lit and Ferguson, MO
Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, MO provided a powerful and emotional reminder on a difficult journey toward equality in this country. Knowing what we can do and how we can respond effectively can feel like a challenge beyond our ability. For those of us who serve our youth, this can feel especially potent because we are in touch with the hearts of children and how our youth are affected by the world we live in.
With our first campaign we begin with our Black youth. We ask illustrators, authors, educators, activists, and other members of the Kid Lit community to consider the role of children’s literature in reflecting and/or responding to events like those in Ferguson and their larger implications in relation to Black youth.
Contributors were encouraged to be creative, pose questions, write a poem, share a photograph, make art, engage in the conversation in whatever way felt right. Below are the art, words and videos from some of the Kid Lit community…
Kid Lit Equality would take into consideration the role that colonialism has played in stripping away our birthright to preserve our myths, folktales, and legends in the form of books. Why are there so few magical stories featuring children of color by writers of color? Because it’s been squeezed out of us. Our ancestors were persecuted if they tried to hold on to these stories and make their mythological heroes their gods. Leaving us writers of color with only the dusty, cobwebbed ghosts of our cultures. We try to piece together the muffled whispers of our oral tradition, to rescue them from obscurity, and hope that they can live on for our children’s children within the pages of books.
Black youth matter simply because they are born and they are human. Someone loves them enough, even if it is a mustard seed kind of love, or a thick molasses kind of love. And they deserve the dignity to grow, and evolve, and rise above any and all obstacles. The stories are their birthright. It is their cultural map, their moral compass, their spiritual lens out of which they can see their place and purpose in this world.
And we writers, who are the born storytellers because the memories are etched in our bones, and the whispers of our ancestors ring in our ears, deserve the wherewithal to learn and practice the craft, to tell our stories without fear of continued rejection and censorship.
Maya Gonzalez – Artist, Author, and Educator, San Francisco, CA (Download Coloring Pages of images from this video to share, color, paint, mark, transform, reinvent, and inspire you to create your own image and tell your own story!)
**feel free to join in the conversation by commenting below.