Books Through Bars

What started as a simple letter to a publisher requesting books, has manifested into an organization that delivers non-fiction and fiction book packages to incarcerated individuals. Books Through Bars will be turning 25 in 2015, but we are honoring them today for their inspiring work. The process of delivering the books to people engages the community, and appeals to an under-recognized desire to read (learn). Although the focus of this organization is not Black people particularly – it appeals to a diverse population – we understand that fiction (To Kill a Mocking Bird, A Lesson Before Dying, Monster) and non-fiction (The New Jim Crow) all show how the criminal justice system has disadvantaged many people of color. This organization does not remedy any political injustices, but it draws attention to the human needs of the persons who have been sentenced time in jail and prison. 

Read more about their work at this link:


The Brown Bookshelf

The Brown Bookshelf is an amazing blog with awesome educators, artists, and illustrators as contributors. I featured them yesterday on the Facebook page because of their year-long dedication to multicultural content. Sometimes when I research information about authors or book fairs, a post from one of their contributors appears. They have the inspiring “28 Days Later” campaign in order to highlight authors and illustrators at different points in the spectrum of their career. You should definitely view their blog for some great content, and introduction to up-and-coming youth publications. 

First Book

Yesterday I honored First Book, a wonderful organization which gives children in need their first book. While they specifically do not work with the African-Americans, there are many children/families of color who benefit from their work. They operate in The US and CA officially, but their reach is more extensive. I had the honor of working at the Eric Carle Museum during the Friendiversary, where they gave over 500 free Mo Willems books to the  young visitors. Somewhere between Mo’s quirky text, and my “shout out” to the organization, is a description of how meaningful their work is. 

View their website for more information. 

Marcus Books

“A family owned business, Marcus Books is more than just a book store. It is a gathering place; it is a center for Black culture, but more importantly, Marcus Books is a community.”

We’re honoring the first Black Independent Book Store in the Nation today. Marcus Books was opened in the Fillmore district of San Francisco. Noted by some as the “Harlem of the West,” this place, and the bookstore which is situated in it has a rich history of jazz and black culture.

Unfortunately, 54 years after it was opened, there is a chance the owners might lose the Bop City building in which it’s San Francisco location is housed. Please consider pledging money to help the wonderful store sustain it’s business, amidst the changes which are occuring around it. More information about the fundraising efforts are on the link here


Black History Month Observance

Now while I knew I was not the only one who reviews mainly books about diverse people, I had no substantive proof. Frankly, myself, and this community of multicultural book lovers highlight these books year-round. In honor of this Black History Month, I am the highlighting educators, bloggers, and organizations who not only promote books about Black History, but help provide access to them. Now most of the celebration will be on my organization’s Facebook page, but I will be posting the links, and ‘reblogging’ pertinent posts from them here. 

I kicked off the celebration yesterday with educator Ella Johnson, who has given over 1,000 books to children through give-aways over the past 4 years. View her blog “Mymcbooks” on WordPress. In addition to books, she provides the public with great reviews of books. 

I hope you enjoy this celebration of Black leadership, exemplified by the work of everyday heroes online, in schools, and in the community. 

Black History Month 2014 Giveaway. Ends Feb 28th

I usually give individual book recommendations, but I’d rather celebrate by honoring those who providing information about and access to Black History books to children.

Mymcbooks's Blog

Aunt Harriet

Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky by Faith Ringgold

Brother of the Knight

Brother of the Knight by Debbie Allen

Follow the Drinking Gourd

Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter

Henry Box Freedom

Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine

I Am Harriet Tubman

I am Harriet Tubman by Grace Norwich

I Survived

I Survived The Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 by Lauren Tarshis

Ron Big Mission

Ron’s Big Mission y Rose Blue and Corinne J Naden

Ruth and the Green Book

Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey

The Prince of Fenway Park

The Prince of Fenway Park by Julianna Baggott

The Wedding Drama

Wedding Drama by Karen English

Talee Book

Talee and the Fallen Object by Jacquitta A McManus

Thank You Dr MLK

Thank You, Dr MLK, JR! By Eleanora E. Tate

Trouble Don't Last

Trouble don’t last by Shelly Pearsall

In keeping with the celebration of Black History Month, Mymcbooks is giveaway 4 books each to 2 lucky winner. Please list your 4 choices with your comment.

Giveaway Rules


There will be 2 winners.

This Giveaway is Open to the USA Only!

Winner will be selected by


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Oprah Winfrey

“Books were my pass to personal freedom. I learned to read at age three, and soon learned there was a world to conquer that went beyond our farm in Mississippi.” -Oprah 

In honor of Oprah’s Birthday, I want you to meditate on her words, and her life as a reader. Her love of reading has manifested into an acting career, an educational leader, and a leader in various facets of the media industry (broadcast, television, and magazine for example). To say reading opened doors for her is an injustice to the impact she made. Reading opened the world for her, and she navigated its seas, glided through it’s airs in transit to some of the most beautiful and under-recognized cities, and left footprints in the living rooms of a variety of citizens with her show. 

Happy Birthday to an inspiring speaker, philanthropist, and reader.



To celebrate this joyous occasion, read Oprah, by Carole Bosaton Weatherford and London Ladd. 

A Change Has Come

A little over 5 years later, I have found an opportunity to revive the life that Obama breathed into the English language when he gave his acceptance speech. I am returning another great Kadir Nelson work to it’s rightful place in the forefront of the book list. We have seen the President’s face many times in the past five years, addressing audiences in laughter and despair, so it has not come as a surprise that he will be in such a high-esteemed position. The same allure that led up to his speaking engagements several years ago as people compared his speaking style to the greatest orators, has been replaced with news-feeds abuzz with debate over which social issues are the MOST pressing to discuss. Although I too, contributed my 140 characters many-a-time to this cyber conversation, I feel as though it is my responsibility to remind the community of the significance of his Black body in a historically white dominated space. My words alone can’t do enough justice to preface the upcoming State of The Union address with the necessary historical, and social facts that made such an event seem almost impossible to my people as little as 30 years ago. I instead, am recommending another Kadir Nelson book in the hope that his evocative illustrations will capture the significance of every time our Barack Obama has, and will address the United States of America as our President. 


(Photo Source:

Below is the video preview for the above book, Change Has Come–bGkA

Multicultural Book Day

I had the pleasure of opening a copy of Black Children’s Literature Got the De Blues on this joyous Multicultural Book Day. While we can not control that the celebrations for under-represented minorities are relegated to literal days, and shortest months of the year, we can rejoice in the written and illustrated works which transcend the invisible barriers of time. 

In honor of this day, I suggest a book recommendation, and a notable quote that was pulled by the author Nancy D. Tolson. Jacqueline Woodson, my recently-added facebook friend, and narrator to my childhood. Woodson made profound statements about the significance of Black children’s book authors that I am obligated to share. On page 7, she provides an excerpt from Jacqueline Woodson’s “Fictions”:

I do not believe someone who is not a person of color can know the roads I and my people have traveled, the depths and heights we reach in our trek from children to young adults. 


This quote is situated within a greater post to advocate for the lyrical, and open authors who have wrote about our experience, to be disseminated to the masses. In today’s celebration we are honoring the importance of having a diversity of writers in the field, telling THEIR stories, and asking readers to humble themselves to engage in the childhood different from their own. 

With that, I give you my recommendation, within the last hours of the Multicultural Book Day. Show Way is based on the Woodson and other’s experiences with Show Ways, or quilts that mapped out the passage to freedom from slavery. The book shows literal growth, as a family reproduces across generations, and symbolic growth as, over time, it represents a quest for freedom that many African-Americans can chart within their own lineage. The story spans geographic space, and travels far in time, to the streets of Brooklyn where Woodson now lives. Join the inter-generational journey through a variety of childhoods which comprised the Black Experience. Join me, and a network of authors and illustrators in this celebration of multicultural voices and drawings that are beginning to decorate bookshelves all over the world. 


Picture Source: Jacqueline Woodson’s website