Thursday, November 01, 2007

Introducing The Brown Bookshelf

I am pleased, honored, and proud to announce the launch of The Brown Bookshelf, a group of 5 authors and illustrators, brought together for the collective goal of showcasing the best and brightest voices in African-American Children’s Literature, with a special emphasis on new authors and books that are “flying under the radar.”

After bumping into one another on various children’s writers’ boards, YA authors, Paula Chase and Varian Johnson, realized the same issue popped up again and again — the overwhelming lack of awareness to African Americans writing for children, especially YA, outside of the heavy-hitting veteran authors. Determined to launch an initiative that would shine a spotlight on the varied African American voices writing for young readers, Chase and Johnson created The Brown Bookshelf.

Soon after, they recruited fellow writers Carla Sarratt, Kelly Starling Lyons, and illustrator/author, Don Tate (moi), to serve as a research and review team.

On February 1, 2008, the group, in conjunction with the African-American Read-In Chain, The Black Caucus of NCTE, and AACBWI, will launch the 28 Days Later Campaign, an initiative designed to highlight African-American authors with recently released books or books that have “gone unnoticed.” Each day during Black History Month, a different book and author will be featured. The campaign will culminate with a day of giveaways and announcements of future programs on February 29th.

All that said, The Brown Bookshelf needs your help. We are looking for the best new and unnoticed works by African-American authors. From picture books to novels, books fresh off the presses to treasured classics–whatever books you like, we want to know. We’re specifically looking for new books and books that have “flown under the radar,” but you can nominate any book, as long as it’s a children’s or YA book written by an African-American author.

The Brown Bookshelf will be taking nominations from November 1, 2007, to December 1. Simply post a comment at the Brown Bookshelf website, or send an email to us at: You can nominate as many books as you like. And be sure to leave your email, as each nominator automatically has the chance to win one of our great giveaways.

Also, be sure to check The Brown Bookshelf blog often, as we’ll have regular updates and blog posts by the members of the Brown Bookshelf, and maybe even a post or two by some special guests.

So what are you waiting for? Nominate an author! And spread the word!

- The Brown Bookshelf


Kim said...

What a great idea! Congratulations for being a part of it!

Varian Johnson said...

Don's being modest here; he didn't mention that he designed all of our logos.

Paula said...

Designed the logos and found a way cool way of displaying them here with photos, no less, on his blog. Go Don! I've just barely mastered posting pics on my blog at all. LOL

rindawriter said...

AND designed the logos, too, Don!! Way to go. I was delighted to see when your book is coming out in 2009, you AUTHOR you!!

This new blog sounds like something really needed. I know they steered well when they chose you to be on it. I hope it helps give all African-American books the visibility they need.