Project Description

Derrick Barnes

Children’s book author, two-time Kirkus Prize, Newberry and ALA Coretta Scott King Honors, Ezra Jack Keats New Writer, and New York Times best-seller.

Presentation categories

Creative writing, children’s books, writing for Black boys, teen and young adult literature

The obvious voids are African American characters playing key roles in stories that are universal to all children. I promised myself that I wouldn’t create characters and place them in downtrodden, hopeless, violent situations or environments. To me it seems like the publishing industry embraces stories that feature African American characters that are one dimensional; characters that fit into ‘their’ ideal and image of who we are. We have to continue to create our own reality in our own voices. I want to tell stories about Black love, create complete families with both parents, educated, progressive characters. It may seem idealized to some, but it gives children something to aspire to become. I want to tell stories of hope.

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