Friday, May 2, 2014

FREE AFRICAN AMERICAN CHILDREN’S BOOK FAIR RETURNS TO REGINALD F. LEWIS MUSEUM ON MARCH 10

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture

The 2nd Annual African American Children's Book Fair
Spotlighting Books that Reflect the Population

WHEN: Saturday May 10, 1-4 PM
WHERE:
Reginald F. Lewis Museum, near Baltimore's Inner Harbor at the corner of Pratt and President Streets . The museum is also accessible on Baltimore's Charm City Circulator Orange and Green Routes. For more information, please call 443.263.1800 or visit www.RFLewisMuseum.org
ADMISSION: Free and open to all ages.

 

According to the University of Wisconsin, of the 5,000 books published in 2013 for children and teens, only 63 were by African American authors, and only 48 books were by Latino authors. Just when will books reflect the population? This is the question posed in a recent editorial in The Baltimore Sun. This makes the museum's 2nd Annual African American Children's Book Festival a timely event. The piece follows a March editorial in the New York Times about the lack of minority authors in children's literature.

The free book fair features readings by 25 award-winning authors and illustrators, cultural performances, interactive storytelling and craft activities including bookbinding demonstrations by local book artists. It is the largest fair between Atlanta and Philadelphia that celebrates books about African Americans, as well as African American authors and illustrators. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake gives a reading at 2 PM.

"It's critical to have books and role models that reflect young readers," says Executive Director Dr. Skipp Sanders. "Otherwise, the risk becomes that our next generation grows up feeling invisible, and it becomes that much harder for them to build a positive self-image at a critical time in development."

Author talks include one by Wade and Cheryl Hudson, pioneers in children's publishing. They launched Just Us Books more than two decades ago after an unsuccessful search for books for their children about black history and experiences. The final push came when an editor told them that "there's no market for black children's books."

Illustrator and Maryland native Bryan Collier, winner of the 2014 Coretta Scott King Book Award for Illustration, will talk about his award-winning work for the book Knock Knock: My Dad's Dream For Me.

To assist with promoting literacy, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum will distribute 500 paperback books with knapsacks to children who attend the event.

For a complete list of Book Fair authors and events, visit the Reginald Lewis website here.

Encouraging Change In Children's Literature

The Reginald Lewis Museum believes that now is a critical time to encourage change within the world of children's literature. Although racial and ethnic minorities make up 35 percent of the U.S. population, less than 5% of books published are about them.

"Through this fair, we also hope to foster a love of reading and perhaps tomorrow's award-winning author or illustrator, to begin breaking the cycle of absence of minorities in children's literature," says Dr. Sanders. "This event is not just for African Americans, but anyone who wishes to introduce a child to the diverse world in which we live."  (Right: Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake gives a special guest reading at 2PM Credit: Mark Dennis, Office of the Mayor)

The book fair is presented in partnership with Baltimore City Public Schools and the Enoch Pratt Free Library and sponsored by BGE. Special thanks to MECU and the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts. Media sponsorship provided by Mocha Moms.

The Reginald F. Lewis Museum is also providing an illustrator's visit to two Baltimore City Schools on Friday, May 9, the day before the Book Fair. NYC illustrator London Ladd will visit Mount Royal Elementary/Middle School and Roland Park Elementary/Middle School.

For more information, contact Laura Rodini at marketing@maamc.org or 202.669.3065.

About The Reginald F. Lewis Museum
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture is Baltimore's premier facility highlighting the history and accomplishments of African Americans with a special focus on Maryland's African American community. A Smithsonian affiliate, the museum is the East Coast's largest African American museum, occupying an 82,000 square-foot facility with ample permanent and special exhibition space, interactive learning environments, auditorium, resource center, oral history recording studio, museum shop, café, classrooms, meeting rooms, outside terrace and reception areas. The museum is located near Baltimore's Inner Harbor at the corner of Pratt and President Streets. The museum is also accessible on Baltimore's Charm City Circulator Orange and Green Routes. For more information, please call 443-263-1800 or visit
www.RFLewisMuseum.org.