14th National Black Writers Conference
Gathering at the Waters: Healing, Legacy and Activism in Black Literature
Youth Day Literacy Program
On Tuesday, April 24, 2018, The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College was host to more than 350 enthusiastic elementary school students from Teunis G Bergen Public School 9 and Crispus Attucks Public School 21, both in Brooklyn, who filled the College’s Founders Auditorium for a Youth Literacy Program. The rescheduled program was part of the Center’s 14th National Black Writers Conference, which was held March 22–25, 2018; and the schools’ participation was organized by Prof. Adero-Zaire Green, lecturer, Department of Multicultural Early Childhood and Elementary Education School of Education and faculty lead of the Medgar Evers College’s Pipeline Program. The program activities were coordinated by Cheryl Willis Hudson and Wade Hudson, authors and founders of Just Us Books Inc., the “Premier publisher of Black-interest books for children.” The program featured interactive presentations by Cheryl Willis Hudson, author of My Friend Maya Loves to Dance and Songs I Love to Sing; Wade Hudson, author of Jamal’s Busy Day and coeditor of the forthcoming title We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices; Calvin Alexander Ramsey, author of Ruth and the Green Book and Belle, the Last Mule at Gee’s Bend; and Nina Crews, author/illustrator of One Hot Summer Day and Seeing into Tomorrow: Haiku by Richard Wright.
Nina Crews gave the students an inside look at the picture book process in her presentation about her writing and illustrating process. She began by asking the children “Why should we read books?” and found that they had a lot of wonderful reasons to engage with the written word. She spoke about writing and rewriting her first book, One Hot Summer Day, to tell the best story she could about the things she enjoyed about summer as a child. She also spoke about researching and illustrating her new book, Seeing Into Tomorrow: Haiku by Richard Wright. She talked about haiku poetry and the life of this famous writer.
The program included a question-and-answer period with the children and book giveaways.