Category Archives: Authors You Should Know

Terrific Books Coming in May, Beyond Adichie, and More!

Terrific New Books Coming in May

news-may-bookFormer U.S. Poet Laureate, Rita Dove will publish a collection of her poetry from the 30 year period, 1974 to 2004. There are also new novels from AALBC.com bestselling authors, Bernice McFadden and J.D. Mason, and from critically acclaimed authors Kalisha Buckhanon and Yvvette Edwards.

On the nonfiction side, look for Murray Talks Music: Albert Murray on Jazz and Blues by Albert Murray, and The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir by D. Watkins. What a great year it has been so far in the world of Black literature; the variety and depth of what is available should keep you quite busy.


Beyond Adichie: Nigerian Writers Produce Great Literature

news-nigeriansChigozie Obioma has been called “…the heir to Chinua Achebe.” His novel The Fishermen won the NAACP Image Award for Debut Author, and was selected by the Go On Girl! Book Club for their 2016 reading list. Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s new novel, Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun, from Cassava Republic Press has already received a great deal of critical acclaim. As a novelist, Teju Cole has won many awards including the PEN/Hemingway Award and the New York City Book Award. His first book of essays, Known and Strange Things is eagerly anticipated. Nnedi Okorafor is a novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism, and winner of the World Fantasy Award and Wole Soyinka prize.

Learn about these brilliant writers and many others of Nigerian descent including Ben Okri, Helen Oyeyemi, Chinelo Okparanta, Uzodinma Iweala, Uwem Akpan, and Chris Abani.


Folktales’ Black Women’s Literary Society — Reading List

news-folk-talesFolktales’ Black Women’s Literary Society has shared their reading list with AALBC.com. Shonda Rhimes book, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person, makes their list and is a popular read among book clubs this year. Mat Johnson, Darryl Pinckney, Dr. Damon Tweedy, and Sister Souljah also made the cut and round out a nice selection of titles across genres. Let Folktales’ Black Women’s Literary Society and the other book clubs we follow help you discover your next great read.


NAACP Image Awards for Literature — Winners and Nominees

news-naacp-imageEach year 40 titles are nominated for NAACP Image Award in 8 different categories, Biography/Auto Biography, Children, Debut Author, Fiction, Instructional, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Youth/Teens. The 2016 Image Awards were presented on Feb. 5th.

AALBC.com is working to compile a list of all the nominees and winners since the award’s inception. We’ve already updated our website with the titles from the last 5 years and have information going back to 2005. If anyone knows when the NAACP Awards for Literature started please email me; troy@aalbc.com.


New Videos

Is Michael Eric Dyson Right? (Or Have Black Intellectuals Lost Their Minds?)

news-mike-on-obamaDr. Michael Eric Dyson was recorded in conversation with Dr. Khalil Muhammad on April 3, 2016, during the 13th National Black Writers Conference, which is run by the center for Black literature at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York. Dyson discussed the Obama Presidency which is also the subject of his latest book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America. Dyson pulled no punches, as he took President Obama to task during this 90 minute conversation.

AALBC.com captured just a small portion of this biannual conference. In addition the conversation with Dr. Dyson, we videoed poetry readings by Rita Dove, Afaa Michael Weaver, and Rowan Ricardo Phillips.

If you enjoy any of these videos please support AALBC.com by sharing them with others and subscribing to our YouTube channel.


Zane is a 213 Time AALBC.com Bestselling Author!

news-zaneWith 34 different titles, Zane has made AALBC.com’s bestsellers list an astounding 213 times—no other author comes close.

Here are the top 30 bestselling authors (89 counting ties) on AALBC.com over the past 18 years with links to those very popular books.

While Zane is our most prolific author, she did not write our all time bestselling book. That honor goes to another title… and you’ll probably never guess which one it is; click here to find out.


Shirley Gale Thinks Outside the Box to Promote Literacy

news-shirley“Literacy on the Go! If you spot my Armada (you really can’t miss it) and you can tell me the day, time, and location where I’m driving, you can be entered to win one of my awesome books for FREE! Just enter your email contact information on my website. It’s that easy! I will contact you when you win.

I’m going to be driving from Texas to Virginia to Washington D. C. starting late June 2016. I am also planning a road trip to Chicago to visit libraries, schools, and community centers in the Fall of 2016. Look for me. I’m coming to talk about literacy and the lack thereof (read more).”


Events Coming in May

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There are several book festivals taking place this weekend including the; PEN World Voices Festival in New York City; Bocas Lit Fest in Trinidad & Tobago; Greater St. Louis Book Fair in St. Louis, Missouri; Dallas Book Festival in Dallas, Texas; Yallwest Santa Monica Book Festival in Santa Monica, California; and Dayton Book Expo in Dayton, Ohio. Discover these and other great book festivals coming up the rest of the year.

Also, learn how easy it is to add our automatically updated, book festival calendar to your website or blog. Help promote and support these book festivals and provide great information for your website too.


A Great Deals to Promote Your Book on AALBC.com

news-large-coverOur Large Book Cover Advertisement (or ad banner) appears on virtually every AALBC.com webpage. Each author whose book is promoted also receives a free Author Profile.

Also consider Sponsoring our Monthly Newsletter. This is a great way to reach readers of Black literature. All of our mailings are permanently archived on our website.


Dear Reader,

news-aalbc-18In addition to hand picking all of the books that are placed on the site, we are collect, share, and archive information that even major corporations, with vastly greater resources choose not to. There simply is not enough revenue to justify the activity for these entities.

Fortunately revenue is not our sole motivator; we are a mission driven website and are motivated by sharing the wealth of stories by people of African descent. Will you help us do this? Please click this link to purchase your subscription to our newsletter. Your financial support is needed to help AALBC.com grow and become an even better source for information on these important books.

I also hope to see some of you at the 10th anniversary celebration of our Black Pack Party in Chicago #blackpackparty

As always, thanks for reading!

Peace & Love,
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Troy Johnson,
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com


AALBC.com eNewsletter – April 29, 2016 – Issue #233

30+ Must Read Books – Something for Everyone

Our January 2016 eNewsletter was sponsored by author Russell A. Mabane.  Learn how you may sponsor an AALBC.com eNewsletter.

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Bestselling Books for November/December 2015

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Our bestsellers list has been published continuously since 1998. For several years we have published this list every two months, but the new website design allows us to publish our bestsellers list on a monthly basis—with greater ease. We are happy to have recently introduced a bestsellers list for children’s books, which was something our readers frequently requested. We are also in the process of creating, for the first time, our all-time bestselling books list. We still have more than 10 years of sales data to add, but you can monitor the progress of AALBC.com’s all-time bestselling books list.


Authors You Should Know

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Jason Reynolds

Jason knows there are a lot—A LOT—of people, young, old, and in-between, who hate reading. He knows that many o f these book haters are boys. He also knows that many of these book-hating boys, don’t actually hate books, they hate boredom. If you are reading this, and you happen to be one of these boys, first of all, you’re reading this Jason’s master plan is already working (muahahahahahaha) and second of all, know that Jason totally feels you. He REALLY does. Because even though he’s a writer, he hates reading boring books too.

So here’s what he plans to do: NOT WRITE BORING BOOKS.

Reynolds is on faculty at Lesley University, for the Writing For Young People MFA Program, and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.


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T. Geronimo Johnson

Born and raised in New Orleans, Johnson is the bestselling author of Welcome to Braggsville, (longlisted for a National Book Award) and Hold It ‘Til It Hurts, a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction. He received his M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and his M.A. in language, literacy, and culture from UC Berkeley

Johnson’s Welcome to Braggsville (Penguin Books, Feb 17, 2015) is the winner of the 2015 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence.


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Fabienne Josaphat

Fabienne Josaphat received her M.F.A. in creative writing from Florida International University. Her short stories have appeared in various journals and magazines, including The Caribbean Writer and MiamiZine.

Here’s what Edwidge Danticat says about Josaphat debut novel, “Dancing in the Baron’s Shadow takes us to hell and back, inside one of the most brutal prisons run by one of the world’s most ruthless dictators. Fabienne Josaphat impressively brings to life a horrible period as well as the men and women who fought against it. Filled with life, suspense, and humor, this powerful first novel is an irresistible read about the nature of good and evil, terror and injustice, and ultimately triumph and love. ”


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Carole Boston Weatherford

The daughter of educators, award-winning poet Carole began writing in first grade. Today she is the author of numerous books, including the Carter G. Woodson award winning title, The Sound That Jazz Makes and most recently, Dear Mr. Rosenwald. Her writing covers such topics as jazz and photography, as well as the slavery, reconstruction and Jim Crow eras. When she’s not traveling or visiting museums, Carole is mining the past for family stories, fading traditions, and forgotten struggles. Coming from a family of educators, she has a passion for rescuing events and figures from obscurity by documenting American history.


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Eddie S. Glaude Jr.

Glaude is the William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African American Studies and the chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. He is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including the 2002 Modern Language Association William Sanders Scarborough Prize for his book Exodus! Glaude is on the editorial board of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, African American National Biography, and Contemporary Pragmatism. Professor Glaude’s work also includes African American Religious Thought: An Anthology (2004) coedited with Cornel West.


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Marla Washington, PhD

Washington holds a doctorate degree in sociology. She is an expert on the subject matter of daddyless daughters. As a sociologist who grew up fatherless, she spent almost two decades charting her own dating experiences and collecting stories from other women. Dr. Washington realized they had the same common denominator, that is, they were all dating without any advice of a daddy or father figure.

In Dr. Washington’s book, Dating Without A Daddy: A Guide For Fatherless Women Looking For Love, she offers a unique perspective as to why some women find themselves in unhealthy romantic relationships.


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Shirley Perry-Church

Perry-Church is a devoted wife, proud parent, educator, author, and artist who dreamed about becoming a writer since she was a young girl. She is very excited to present to her parent and youth audience her first book, The Hunt for the Magic Pearl.

The goal of writing The Hunt for the Magic Pearl came as a result of teaching challenged 14 to 16 year old youths who were experiencing persistent difficulties in all levels of reading and writing. Perry-Church wanted to create fun, entertaining, and informative books that would spark imagination and creativity in youth who had often said to her, “Mrs. Church, I hate to read.”


Coretta Scott King Award Winning and Honored Books for 2016

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On January 11, 2016 the American Library Association (ALA) announced the top books, video, and audio books for children and young adults – including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards – at its Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Boston.

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.


Book Reviews

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For the Sake of Soul by Frederick K. Foote, Jr.

Sometimes short fiction can be a daunting task for the writer, especially when he decides to confront the challenges of plot, characterization, dialogue, and candor. Frederick K. Foote, a professor at California Community colleges and a traditional Black college in South Carolina, realizes this fact as he mines the details of his life for the printed page in his skillful short story collection, For The Sake Of Soul (Blue Nile Press, Oct 23, 2015). He knows his material well. He has lived it, so he understands if the reader can embrace his impressive imagination, then the tales of his ordinary men and women will grip his soul.

Comparisons to his work will be made to such stellar authors as Ernest Gaines, William Faulkner, Robert Penn Warren, Erskine Caldwell, and Robert Stone because of Foote’s effective use of time and place. He drops his people into the locales of the American South, central California, Vietnam in one of the significant time periods of the 1960s and 1970s. His vision is deceptively simple and authentic, and the overall effect is powerful. More


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The Summer of my Fifteenth Year by Geri Spencer Hunter

There are so many gems to be discovered in independent publishing. Every now and then, you come across the book that makes your mind sit up and take notice. If a writer wants to put his or her focus on a loathsome cultural issue that society would love to be shoved under the run, the editors of the established publishing world usually step over it and look elsewhere. This book’s author, Geri Spencer Hunter, a retired Public Health nurse and a great-grandmother, has written a gem and it should have published by one of the big reputable houses.

Why is incest so despicable? Why is it about this abhorrent form of sex that makes people cringe? In Hunter’s second novel, The Summer Of My Fifteenth Year (Blue Nile Press, Jun 5, 2015), she concentrates on the Netters, a wealthy Black family in a small Iowa town during the 1930s, and the return of the favored son, Charleston Epstein Netter. At present, Etta, now eighty-six, is recounting that summer that changed her life and shattered the calm of her family with a scandal that would sink most households. She sits in her favorite chair on the porch where she was born, telling her story into a tape recorder. More


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Dear Mary, Dear Luther: A Courtship in Letters by Jill Marie Snyder

Dear Mary, Dear Luther: A Courtship in Letters (AuthorHouse, Mar 5, 2015) is an epistolary love story of a 1930s courtship between Mary Brooks and Luther Snyder, the author’s parents. Their letters, which span from 1937 to 1940 tell not only their love story but they are also an insightful look at American and African American history.

Mary and Luther met in 1935 at a wedding in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. “After that first meeting, my father would frequently visit his aunt for a few minutes, then wander over to my mother’s front porch to spend hours chatting with her and her sister Sara. At first, they weren’t sure which sister was the attraction, but over time it became clear it was Mary.” More


Great Books Coming Out Soon

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If you are looking for a preview of great reads coming soon, check out our list of soon to be released books. You find a curated list of books that will be published in the next few months. You will discover new books from established authors, as well as terrific reads from debut authors.

If you are looking for a new book that you can read today, you may use our list of books published in the last two months. As with our soon to be released list of books, this is a hand picked list of books across genres that have been recommended by industry professionals, book clubs, booksellers and avid readers.


A Great Deal to Promote Your Book

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The Large Book Cover Advertisement Includes a Free Author Profile!

1. Free Author Profile
2. Large Book Cover Ads (or customized advertising banner ads) run on virtually all our web pages
3. Large Book Covers are very prominent on the page
4. Up to 2 Large Book Cover Ads may rotate in one of three available positions
5. Campaigns may start on any date and end at midnight 32 full days later.

The large book cover ad will be a key advertising unit on AALBC.com going forward. These ads perform very well. Bang for buck, you are unlikely to find a better way to reach readers of Black literature. Read this article to learn more about the large book cover ad type, and advertising in general.


Related Articles & News

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Ten Steps to Promote Diversity in Children‘s Literature

In October The New York Times released their list of the “Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2015.” They failed to include a single Black illustrator.

Just this month, Scholastic Press, published, defended, then ultimately pulled, due to public outrage, the racially insensitive children’s book, A Birthday Cake for George Washington.

Wade Hudson, president and CEO of Just Us Books, an independent publisher of children’s books has some solutions. Hudson has given us ten ways we can help increase the number of quality children’s books that celebrate diversity, and how we can support the diverse books already available, This is sage advice needed during a time when our culture is, at best, marginalized and, at worse, under assault. More


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Our Future is Cyberspace

“With the introduction of cyberspace, younger writers have the ability to reach audiences unheard of during the sixties when African American writers produced broadsides and saddle-stitched chapbooks. As access to cyberspace becomes less expensive, more voices will be heard and this period, the most prolific in the history of African American Literature, will rise to worldwide prominence, no longer having to obey the tastes of the outsiders in power or the dictates of the establishment-manufactured Talented Tenth.” —Ishmael Reed (Black Issues Book Review; November-December 1999)

After reading this again, over 16 years, later I couldn’t help but think that this vision has yet to be realized. I believe we have the potential—I’ve bet my future on it. However we have a long way to go, even to make up for the reversals over the last 10 years. I still miss Black Issues Book Review magazine.


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Why Black Owned Websites Fail

When the web first started Black-owned websites were very likely to link to other sites. We all recognized that by helping visitors discover other interesting websites, that added value to our own websites. In fact, before search, this was the primary way we discovered other Black websites. This is why I continue to link to other websites and may be the reason I’ve been able to keep this website viable for 18 years. Read the rest of the article to find out what changed?


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Please take a few seconds to subscribe to AALBC.com’s YouTube channel. This won’t cost you anything; I need to add an additional 220 subscribers to enable paid content on our YouTube channel. Thanks!


Book Clubs Lead The Way

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Literary Ladies Book Club (New Jersey)

Book clubs are a powerful force in the Black Book Ecosystem. With the loss of bookstores and media coverage, book clubs are increasingly a significant, if not the primary supporter, an author’s work.

AALBC.com will try to serve as a “book club of book clubs,” by providing a platfrom for clubs to, share information and ideas with other clubs, recruit members, leverage our collective buying power, and more.

Readers who are not members of a book club will benefit too. We can attend book club sponsored events like, The Literary Lounge, hosted by the Literary Ladies (pictured above). We can also benefit by reviewing the books clubs have selected for their reading lists (they don’t just read any ole book). In fact I discovered Mat Johnson’s latest novel on the Folktales’ Black Women’s Literary Society, from Austin, TX, reading list.


Events

By the time the February eNewsletter is published, I hope to have completed the upgrade of the Events section of our website. I will not only include major festival and fairs, but authors signings and more. If you are hosting an event, and want it included on AALBC.com, just visit our African American Literature Discussion Forum and post your event’s details there. I will add it to our events section.
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The National Writers Union’s Fifth Annual New York Conference – February 13, 2016 – New York, NY

I will be giving a presentation on publicizing your books.

The National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981) is the only labor union representing writers in every genre. With chapters across the nation, the NWU works to advance economic and working conditions of writers – lobbying for legislation, initiating lawsuits, educating writers on their rights, networking, organizing picket lines, publicizing viable alternatives to unfair practices by both the traditional and Internet publishers, and by mobilizing members to fight for their collective self‐interest.


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13th National Black Writers Conference Thursday, March 31 – Sunday, April 3, 2015 – Brooklyn, NY

Honorary Chair: Rita Dove, Former Poet Laureate of The U.S. 2016 Honorees: Edwidge Danticat, Woodie King Jr., Michael Eric Dyson & Charles Johnson

AALBC.com will host a seminar on book publishing, covering editorial, production, marketing, and more. Additional updates are coming soon.


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Dear Reader,

Happy New Year! AALBC.com’s website upgrade continues to progressing nicely—but it is killing me LOL!

I appreciate all of the feedback that you have provided. It will all contribute to making our website world class. Feel free to leave feedback in the comments section of any page or simply email me at troy@aalbc.com.

Please link to AALBC.com from your website and share any content you find valueable on social media platforms, via word of mouth, or in any fashion that makes sense to you.

Subscribe
Most importantly, please consider purchasing, or renewing, your paid subscription to this eNewsletter.  The ability of AALBC.com to thrive, or die, is literarlly up to you Troy. Your support is needed.

As always, thanks for reading!

Peace & Love,

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Troy Johnson,
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com

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Sponsored by Akashic Books and Infamous Booksnews-akaschib-banner-august
AALBC.com’s Bestselling Books May/June 2015news-bestsellers-may2015We’ve made two significant to the best sellers list this period. First, we’ve removed our dependence on the Amazon tool, by building our own database. This allows us to more easily create and maintain our best sellers lists. This change also facilitated our second enhancement, the introduction of a children’s best sellers list.

Authors You Should Know

new-johnaJohn A. Williams

AALBC.com mourns the passing of John Alfred Williams, author of the classic, The Man Who Cried I Am, which was on our book club’s reading list back in 1998. This is how I discovered Williams’ work. Over a decade ago, Williams took an interest in AALBC.com and supported us (read: supported me) in a number of ways. That level of support from an author of his stature is exceedingly rare. I will always remember and miss him for it. Williams passed on July 3, 2015, at the age of 89, from complications due to Alzheimer’s disease.

Also check out a terrific article Williams wrote, for Ebony Magazine, covering the Black literary scene back in 1963, “Negro in Literature Today.”

news-claudiiaClaudia Alexander, Ph.D.,

AALBC.com also mourns the loss of Claudia Alexander, who lost her battle with breast cancer at the age of 56 on July 11, 2015. Alexander was a scientist on the Rosetta Project, which landed a spacecraft on a comet (67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko) in November of 2014. She just 56 years old.

Alexander also published her own children’s science-learning books and her alter-ego, E.L. Celeste is a lady astronomer, and captain of space-ready aerocraft to the planets and beyond. By night she re-imagines the universe. She has written a number of steampunk short stories and a full length elf-punk novel.

news-bebeBebe Moore Campbell

Campbell, who passed back in 2006, was the author of three New York Times best sellers: Brothers and Sisters, Singing in the Comeback Choir, and What You Owe Me, which was also a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2001. Her other works include the novel Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and the winner of the NAACP Image Award for literature. Campbell’s titles frequently made AALBC.com bestsellers lists as well.

Campbell was also spokesperson for mental illness a condition which her daughter, actress Maia Campbell, battled.

new-ursulaUrsula Rucker

Ursula Rucker is one of the premiere spoken word recording artists in the music industry today. As a poet and performance artist, Ursula has enchanted critics and fans across the globe with her diverse repertoire, captivating vocals and accessible poetic verse.

Since 1994, Ursula has shared her songwriting talent and mesmerizing voice with an array of recording artists and producers including King Britt, 4 Hero, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Josh Wink and The Roots. Each was drawn to the soft spoken eloquence and undeterred honesty which have become Ursula’s signature.

news-maritaMarita L. Kinney

Kinney is a best-selling author with over 25 books published. As a published author, life coach, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur, Marita has inspired thousands of people to overcome adversity with triumph through faith and perseverance. While facing several life changing challenges herself, Marita had enough faith to conquer tribulations, coming out victorious.

She is best known for her Christian Fiction novellas and heart felt inspirational books. Loving God with her whole heart, she has vowed to live a life of transparency winning souls to Christ with the realness of her journey and the relatability of her testimony. In March of 2009 Marita published her debut book, The Unspoken Walk. Capturing the true essence of what it means to turn “lemons into lemonade”, she has taken the harsh lessons of life and developed a plan for successfully living.

Book Reviews

newbetween-the-world-and-meBetween the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates garnered national attention a year ago when he published “A Case for Reparations” in the Atlantic Monthly magazine. Now, the progressive pundit is back with Between the World and Me an equally-incendiary assessment of the state of race relations in the United States.

The book is basically designed as an open letter from Ta-Nehisi to his 15 year-old only-child, Samori. The author fears the boy might suffer the same horrific fate as African-American youngsters like Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis who were killed on a whim by white men for the “crimes” of walking home while black and listening to loud music, respectively (Spiegel & Grau, July 17, 2015, debuted at #1 on the New York Times best-sellers list).

news-stand-your-ground (1)Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God by Kelly Brown Douglas

The author opens the opus with a history lesson, tracing the source of the problem back hundreds of years to the birth of “Exceptionalism” in Anglo-Saxon England. Reserved for whites, that notion enabled Caucasians to adopt the concept of “Manifest Destiny” that led to the extermination of Native Americans (relying on the rallying cry “The only good Indian is a dead Indian”) and to the wholesale subjugation of Africans as property.

She sees today’s Stand Your Ground law as a logical extension of the supremacist philosophy that sustained slavery, Jim Crow segregation, lynching and other institutionalized forms of color-coded oppression. Apparently, part and parcel of that shameful scheme was a “natural law theo-ideology” hyper-valuing whiteness while denigrating the black body as “perpetually-guilty chattel” (Orbis Books, May 10, 2015).

newsnyviewMy View From The Summit by Nicole Thomas

My View From The Summit is succinct and readable, and will probably be read in one sitting. Thomas’s tone is conversational, and her writing is straightforward, accessible, and uncomplicated. Although Thomas’s life has had its many ups and downs—the loss of loved ones, the dissolution of her marriage—she never looks back with regret. She sees each moment, good or bad, as a life lesson that has helped her on her journey to be the person she wants to be.

What makes My View From The Summit appealing is that, although told from a modern perspective some vignettes are filled with age-old lessons: Letting go, not taking on more than we can handle, being grateful, understanding that we can’t control everything and shouldn’t even try. These essays could help the overworked superwoman who is trying to balance being a mother, wife, sister, daughter, employee, who is constantly on the go, and doing it all. Thomas reminds us of the small marvels of life that we should be thankful for, even in the midst of our daily grind. And that, “You can lose your sense of self trying to please other people” (CreateSpace, January 20, 2014).

news-it-all-beginsIt All Begins with ‘I’: The “New Rules” of Thinking and the Simple Secrets to Living a Rich, Joyous and Fulfilled Life by Stuart K. Robinson

You’ve probably heard most of his common sense advice before in one form or another. Take, Rule #6: “I Will Fire the Announcer.” By that, the author means ignoring that distracting, negative voice in your head capable of discouraging you via a defeatist attitude. He suggests that, instead, you “Trust your heart, because you feel it.”

Robinson’s other axioms range from “I Will Determine My Habits” to “I Will Believe in Myself” to “I Am Who I Think I Am, and I Get What I Expect.” In terms of more innovative ideas, he devotes an entire chapter to the difference between the “I” (good) and “Me” (bad) mentalities (Tallfellow Press, June 22, 2015).

9780803740860I Am Jackie Robinson by Brad Meltzer

Brad Meltzer was born in Brooklyn, which is where Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color line when he joined for the Dodgers in 1947. But that’s not what inspired the best-selling author to write I Am Jackie Robinson. Rather, the father of a daughter and identical twin boys had grown tired of watching his children admire reality-TV stars and trash-talking pro athletes as if they were true heroes.

These attention-seeking celebrities were famous, yes. But were they worth emulating and looking up to? No. As Brad puts it, “I wanted my kids to see real heroes… and real people no different from themselves.” So, he decided to publish a series of books for young readers touching upon the real-life childhoods and achievements of such icons as Dr. Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks and Albert Einstein.

news-america-the-blackAmerica The Black Point of View by Tony Rose

Tony’s upbringing in Boston back in the Fifties and Sixties was way worse than merely modest, given how he and his sister were raised in a rough Roxbury ghetto they were lucky to survive.

His absentee-dad was rarely around after being caught molesting his daughter, not that the heroin addicted-pimp/Mafia hit man would have made much of a role model. Consequently, Tony’s mom was totally dependent on that bi-weekly Welfare check from the government. And up until she lost her mind in 1965, the emotionally-abusive woman was fond of routinely reminding her kids that they were “black and ugly” and that nobody wanted them (Amber Communications Group, April 28, 2015).

news-12-waysHow to Avoid the Superwoman Complex 12 Ways to Balance Mind, Body & Spirit by C. Nicole Swiner, MD

How to Avoid the Superwoman Complex bills itself as a how-to book designed to help working females at risk of spreading themselves too thin. Unfortunately, in a classic case of bait and switch, the actual advice dispensed on its pages bears little resemblance to what’s suggested by the self-help sounding title.

Instead, this opus is filled with a lot of the sort of boiler plate medical advice you might find on pamphlets in a general practitioner’s waiting room. And the author, C. Nicole Swiner, MD, just happens to be a physician with a family practice (C.Nicole Swiner, December 29, 2014).

Book Recommendations

news-ghost-summerGhost Summer: Stories by Tananarive Due

“Ms. Due accomplishes the hardest thing of all with deceptive ease, creating characters we care about on their most human level.”
—Stephen King

Named one of Publishers Weekly Top 10 Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror titles for the fall! Whether weaving family life and history into dark fiction or writing speculative Afrofuturism, American Book Award winner and Essence bestselling author Tananarive Due’s work is both riveting and enlightening. In her debut collection of short fiction, Due takes us to Gracetown, a small Florida town that has both literal and figurative ghost; into future scenarios that seem all too real; and provides empathetic portraits of those whose lives are touched by Otherness. Featuring an award-winning novella and fifteen stories-one of which has never been published before-Ghost Summer: Stories, is sure to both haunt and delight. The title novella, Ghost Summer, won a Kindred Award from the Carl Brandon Society (Prime Books, September 15, 2015).

garden-of-unfortunate-souls (1)The Garden of Unfortunate Souls by Eddie Mark

In 1980s Buffalo, New York, the recession has transformed the city’s proudest African American neighborhood into a ghetto. Loretta Ford, an eccentric single mother and religious fanatic, survives for years by masquerading as the owner of a dead woman’s house. Her reclusive life is interrupted when an unlikely incident brings the mayor of Buffalo to her home in the middle of the night. Their secret meeting sets off a chain of events that will leave two families altered forever.

With all the passion of a Shakespearean tragedy and a cast of characters never to be forgotten, The Garden of Unfortunate Souls vividly depicts the consequences of violence, sex, and gender conflict in African American communities (Booktrope, April 17, 2015).

newbottle-topBottle Cap Boys Dancing On Royal Street by Rita Williams-Garcia

Tap dancing on sidewalks, especially in the city’s French Quarter, is a New Orleans tradition as familiar to some as Jazz, Creole and Cajun food and Mardi Gras. For generations, Black youngsters have danced for tourists on the streets of New Orleans some because they enjoy it, but many others to earn money for their families. Instead of dancing in store bought tap shoes, young boys and girls stamp and grind bottle caps into the soles of their sneakers until the bottle caps stay firmly in place at the toe. And they don’t miss a beat! Clickity-clack, Clack……tipity-tap, tap tap……tipity-tap, tap In Bottle Cap Boys Dancing on Royal Street, award-winning author Rita Williams-Garcia introduces two bottle cap dancers, brothers Randy and Rudy. Through rich and upbeat rhyme, Williams-Garcia gives voice to the dancing and the youngsters who keep this unique New Orleans tradition alive. Damian Ward’s exuberant illustrations are perfect complements to Williams Garcia’s perfectly pitched poetry (Marimba Books, October 15, 2015).

new-friendship9.No Fear For Freedom: The Story Of The Friendship 9

SC raised Confederate flag in 1961 to insult nine black protesters — and took it down to honor nine slain
South Carolina put Confederate flag above capitol in 1961 after 9 students held sit-in at segregated lunch counter. A peculiar historical symmetry exists between South Carolina’s decision to raise the Confederate flag in 1961.

The Friendship 9, a group of college students and activists in Rock Hill, South Carolina, claimed a rightful place in history by challenging inequality and unfair laws. In 1961, their decision to help place into motion the Jail, No Bail strategy empowered many communities (Frown-Free Publications, March 1, 2014). Watch a video of Their Story.

news-stand-your-groundStand Your Ground by Victoria Christopher Murray

Janice Johnson is living every mother’s nightmare. Her seventeen-year-old son was murdered and the shooter has not been arrested. Can the DA and the police be trusted to investigate and do the right thing? Should Janice take advantage of the public outcry and join her husband alongside the angry protesters who are out for revenge?

Meredith Spencer is married to the man accused of the killing and she sees her husband and the situation with far more clarity than anyone realizes. What she knows could blow the case wide open, but what will that mean for her life and that of her son? Will she have the courage to come forward in time so justice can be done? Published by Touchstone, June 30, 2015.

news-mamas-boyMama’s Boy by ReShonda Tate Billingsley

When her son is in trouble, a heartbroken mother finds the courage and faith to save him, in ReShonda Tate Billingsley’s powerful family drama—a novel as timely as today’s headlines.

The breaking TV news rocks Jasper, Texas, to the core: a white police officer is fatally shot in a scuffle with three black youths—and a cellphone video captures Jamal Jones, the sixteen-year-old son of esteemed Reverend Elton Jones, escalating the tragic encounter. Now, as the national spotlight shines on a town already rife with racial tension, Jamal is a murder suspect on the run. And all of Jasper—even the Reverend’s congregation—rushes to judge the boy they thought they knew (Gallery Books, 8/30/15).

Billingsley’s, Novel Let the Church Say Amen has been adapted as a film and will debut, August 30th, on BET.

news-memoirsMemoirs of a Mad Black Educator Bobby R. Dixon

A critical reflection on the education reform movement through the personal experiences of this African-American educator. Dixon fictionalizes some of his experiences to delineate the emergence of a new educational power structure, which entails the marriage of philanthropy, federal government policy, charter school operators, new forms of teacher training and administrator training programs, the profitable testing industry, mayoral control of large school districts, among other entities. This new educational power structure not only advocates the privatization of public education, but forces it down the public’s throat. The consequence is the growing obsolescence of the public school and the public school teacher. There are massive firings and layoffs of skilled, veteran teachers and principals nationwide to make way for alternatively trained teachers and principals. Likewise there are nationwide closings of schools in minority and poor communities to make way for charter schools and special school districts (CreateSpace, September 11, 2014).

newgirls-write-now-2015Voice to Voice: The Girls Write Now 2015 Anthology

From one of the nation’s top after school programs, an acclaimed collection of poetry and prose showcasing the voices of young women and their mentors in a powerful exploration of the theme of Voice to Voice. Distinguished twice by the White House as one of the top after-school arts and cultural organizations in the nation, and recently honored by Newsweek in their article on “After school programs that make a difference,” Girls Write Now works to empower underserved teen girls in New York City by pairing them with professional writing mentors (Girls Write Now, May 19, 2015).

news-raising-black-boysRaising Black Boys to Men: A Mother’s Guide to Raising Thugless Sons by Patricia Joseph

One mother’s journey: her successes, trials, and errors, in raising her three boys, in a society that glorifies thug-life. Author, Patricia Joseph, who successfully navigated the lives of her three sons, through the ever so present negative influences in society, felt compelled to write about her experience in raising thugless sons. Patricia credits much of her success to just “good, ole-fashion child rearing.”

In her book, Patricia provides simple anecdotes and tips, to help mothers faced with the challenges of raising Black boys. Patricia cleverly sprinkles humor throughout the book, and provides laughter to the role of parenting. The book is a short, quick-read, which can be read in a few hours. At the end of each chapter, Patricia provides “Mom Tips,” which are little nuggets of information, for moms to reference long after reading the book (BookBaby, December 5, 2014).

news-still-a-pygmyStill a Pygmy: The unique memoir of one man’s fight to save his identity from extinction

The unique memoir of one man’s fight to save his identity from extinction

Still a Pygmy is a story of love, pride and prejudice that traces the journey of BaTembo Pygmy Isaac Bacirongo from the forests of Central Africa, through the brutality of dictator­ship and war, to arrival and settlement in Australia’s melting pot. Isaac’s inimi­table style and voice draw readers into the heart of this memoir, his relation­ship with his wife, who survived his mother’s attempts to kill her to help Isaac through experiences of appall­ing violence. It is full of warmth, wit and wise insights about life (Finch Publishing, July 1, 2015).

Events

 

news-bcala-program9th National Conference of African American Librarians – August 5-7, 2015 – St. Louis, MO

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association is excited to return NCAAL to its original biennial conference schedule. New to NCAAL 2015, is a Wednesday through Saturday schedule, allowing conference goers to take advantage of lower transportation rates typically available on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The new schedule also provides a wonderful opportunity for attendees to stay over and explore the city of Saint Louis once the conference concludes Saturday afternoon. Black Caucus of the American Library Association 9th Conference Program is available

Exhibitors are invited to participate in the 9th National Conference. The association continues to work to make its conferences relevant and enjoyable for the hundreds of librarians who attend.

Film Reviews

news-boundBound: Africans vs. African-Americans

Bound opens with a folk tale about two loving brothers, born in the land of warm waters, Africa. Suddenly one brother is torn from the other never to be seen again. The one brother waits at the water’s edge all his life then charges his son to do the same. This goes on for generations until several hundred years later, in the land of cold winters, America, when the daughter of one brother walks towards the daughter of the other brother and with every step they get closer until they walk past each other, one never noticing the other.

How did these descendants of two loving brothers become so isolated? The journey to the answer begins with Africans and African Americans recounting personal, hurtful experiences with each other. It immediately identifies the media as the source of the negative perceptions we have of each other. Throughout its young history, celluloid has depicted people of African descent as childlike, stupid and violent, pretty much how we have come to view each other.

news-tang-negroTango Negro, The African Roots of Tango

The word “tango” mean “sun” in Congolese. Given that derivation, it comes as no surprise that the dance thought of as South American might be traced back to Africa.

That explains the mission of Tango Negro, a labor of love marking the writing and directorial debut of Dom Pedro. What makes the project of educational value is the fact that Argentina, the country most closely associated with Tango, has generally been averse to admitting its African heritage.

Related Articles & News

news-amazon-sad“Amazon has used its dominance in ways that we believe harm the interests of America’s readers…”

The Authors Guild, the American Booksellers Association, the Association of Authors’ Representatives and Authors United said in letters and statements being sent this week to the Justice Department that “Amazon has used its dominance in ways that we believe harm the interests of America’s readers, impoverish the book industry as a whole, damage the careers of (and generate fear among) many authors, and impede the free flow of ideas in our society.”

newrobert-l-johnsonRobert L. Johnson — The “Urban Movie Channel” Interview

Troy Johnson asks, do you think it would be possible for another Black owned media conglomerate, like BET, to emerge in today’s environment?

Robert L. Johnson: It’s definitely possible, but it would be very difficult to do in this environment. It was difficult when I started BET. Today, the internet makes it possible for a lot of African-American content to flow freely to the consumers since there are no gatekeepers, and it is global in terms of its accessibility. We at RLJ Entertainment are laying the foundation to be sort of a BET in the Digital Age by creating the distribution platform of the Urban Movie Channel, by licensing content from independent producers of urban content, by helping them produce that content, and by promoting the awareness of it. We believe that as a first mover in this space, RLJ Entertainment has the potential to become a success story like BET and, obviously, I have a lot of experience in making that happen.

news-black-caucusNew Self-Publishing Literary Award to Promote Diverse Books in Libraries

The Black Caucus of the ALA (BCALA) and BiblioBoard announce the creation of an annual self-publishing award. Following the model of the current BCALA Literary Awards, the new award will honor the best self-published eBooks in fiction and poetry by an African American author in the U.S.

Authors who enter the contest will have the opportunity to opt into the SELF-e program and their own Indie State module, providing them with an invaluable resource for promotion and exposure of their work. SELF-e is a partnership between BiblioBoard and the Library Journal and is aimed at finding the best self-published books and making those books seamlessly available to library patrons.

news-discussion-banner-redOur African-American Literature Discussion Forum is Now Mobile!

Join the conversation and talk about books you’ve written, or books you’ve read. You may exchange views with authors, avid readers and those who wish to learn more about Black literature and publishing. You can share rich media content without worrying about being bombarded with ads, having your privacy invaded, or having what is presented to others (or two you) determined by efforts to maximize revenue. Also read our article “Our 10 Most Popular Discussions (and Why Discussion Forums Matter)”

Authors, this is where you need to share information about your books: Since 1998, Thumper’s Corner has been a very special and popular area of our web site. In fact, each month I discover interesting books to share with our eNewsletter readers. Check out our recent conversations 

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news-troy-signoffDear Reader,

This month as been extremely busy as I continue to rebuild AALBC.com from the ground up. This major upgrade is scheduled for completion in early 2016. It is a massive undertaking to redesign a completely new website, migrate almost 20 years of content, while keeping both sites updated (say a prayer for me).

As always if there is a feature you’d like to see on the new website me know by emailing me or posting a comment on our discussion forum.

Remember, your support is absolutely mandatory for AALBC.com to continue. A paid subscription to our eNewsletter is a great way to help and lets me know there is indeed demand for the information covered in this eNewsletter and on our website.

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Peace & Love,
Troy Johnson,
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com
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AALBC.com eNewsletter – July 30, 2015 – Issue #227