Special News Series: Rising Up For Justice! – Black lives matter in children’s books, too.


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Introduction To This Series:

This post is one installment in an ongoing news series: a “living history” of the current national and international uprising for justice.

Today’s movement descends directly from the many earlier civil rights struggles against repeated injustices and race-based violence, including the killing of unarmed Black people. The posts in this series serve as a timeline of the uprising that began on May 26, 2020, the day after a Minneapolis police officer killed an unarmed Black man, George Floyd, by kneeling on his neck. The viral video of Floyd’s torturous suffocation brought unprecedented national awareness to the ongoing demand to truly make Black Lives Matter in this country.

The posts in this series focus on stories of the particular killings that have spurred the current uprising and on the protests taking place around the USA and across the globe. Sadly, thousands of people have lost their lives to systemic racial, gender, sexuality, judicial, and economic injustice. The few whose names are listed here represent the countless others lost before and since. Likewise, we can report but a few of the countless demonstrations for justice now taking place in our major cities, small towns, and suburbs.

To view the entire series of Rising Up for Justice! posts, insert “rising up” in the search bar above.

Black lives matter in children’s books, too. That’s why this couple started a nonprofit

By Amy Chillag, CNN

September 14, 2020

8 year old boy reading Hidden Figures
Amir Wilson, 8, reads the book, “Hidden Figures,” donated to his third-grade class by the nonprofit, Young, Black & Lit. CNN

Krenice Roseman went birthday shopping for her niece in a Chicago-area bookstore two years ago. She was in a hurry, scanning book covers, but couldn’t find any that reflected who her niece, an African American girl, is. The attorney, who’s an avid reader, went online instead and found a couple of books with Black characters. She bought them for her niece — and donated some more to local community centers.

“I became frustrated and decided I wanted to do something about it,” Roseman told CNN of the dearth of Black title characters in children’s literature. She told her future husband about her experience. “He had a bigger vision for what we can do,” the 36-year-old said.

The couple filed paperwork to start a nonprofit. Six weeks later, Young, Black & Lit was born.

Making an impact, one child at a time 

Young, Black & Lit provides free books that feature Black main characters to children. The organization has distributed more than 5,000 books in the Chicagoland area through book fairs, community groups and schools. “When a child sees themselves reflected in the books that they read, when the books are a mirror to them, they feel valued,” said Roseman. Eleven percent of children’s books had Black main characters last year, according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Representation has been growing: In 2015, just 7% of books featured Black characters…

Read the full article here.

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An elementary class in Evanston, Illinois
An elementary class in Evanston, Illinois, receives free books from the nonprofit Young, Black & Lit, whose mission is to give away books with Black main characters.

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