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★ Award Winning Titles, Book Reviews and More – April Newsletter

NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Literary Work

This year the NAACP celebrates the 50th anniversary of their Image Awards. Awards for “Outstanding Literary Work” are given in eight categories, Biography/Autobiography, Children, Debut Author, Fiction, Instructional, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Youth/Teens. There are a total of 40 nominees (five in each category). Check out all 40 titles and learn which ones garnered top honors ►

2019 Pulitzer Prize Winners

Jeffrey C. Stewart won a Pulitzer Prize in Biography for his critically acclaimed book The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke. His book also earned a National Book Award and an NAACP Image Award nomination.

Jackie Sibblies Drury won a Pulitzer in Drama for her brilliant play Fairview, which explores race and power in America through the lens of a family drama.

The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded in 1918. An African American was not honored until 1950; who was it? ►

Recently Reviewed Books

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

The novel begs for preparation and screams warnings against a near future brought on by climate ignorance, the theft of labor, inhuman economics, criminalization of poverty, corporate dominance, and illiteracy. Butler creatively addresses these ills throughout the work; her characters strive and love despite the attacks; families are created and friendships are formed. Butler’s writing brings light to precautions that could help avoid the bleak future while praising strong families, and family is not limited to biology. In Butler’s work, humanity’s survival depends on multi-cultural dependence. Read the complete review by Tony Lindsay ►

Parable of the Sower is also an AALBC Book Club and Go on Girl! Book Clubreading list selection.

God’s Will and Other Lies: Stories by Penny Mickelbury

Mickelbury’s stories chronicle the lives of black Americans, from an elderly woman at a Black Lives Matter rally to a family caught in the heart of Detroit’s 12th Street Riots in 1967. Women anchor many of the stories as they battle against racism, rumors, insinuations, and sexism. Still, the women in these stories take great pains to create and retain their own dignity, whether that means killing a man or saving one. Read the complete review by Camille-Yvette Welsch ►

Heart and Soul: Poems of Thoughts & Emotions by Mariah Thomas]

This compilation of more than 100 untitled, very short poems opens with a beautiful affirmation. You have likely had thoughts similar to those expressed in Thomas’ poetry, only Thomas captures these ideas marvelously and masterfully. You may find yourself nodding in agreement, and grunting in mirrored anger, disappointment, triumph, victory or appreciation. There are some rich gems embedded within these pages, and they rest neatly on the page like easily digestible soundbites. You will likely find some ideas reverberating and inviting you to ponder them deeply. Read the complete review by V.S. Chochezi►

New Kid by Jerry Craft

Jerry Craft’s graphic novel New Kid is a humorous teaching experience for any reader. Be warned, laughing out loud will occur while reading the text. The young African American protagonist, Jordan Banks, is transferred to a new middle school, but Jerry Craft doesn’t just cover the standard new kid issues: making friends, getting lost in school, avoiding bullies, and learning teachers. He has Jordan transferred to a school physical away from his neighborhood and financially above his parents means, and the student body and teachers are mostly white. With this type of transfer comes different issues, and Craft doesn’t shy away: prejudice is discussed, stereotyping is discussed, code switching is witnessed, and all three issues are juxtaposed against being an outsider. Read the complete review by Tony Lindsay ►

New Kid is also an AALBC Book Club reading list selection for May 2019 .

Momma: Gone by Nina Foxx

Nina Foxx’s personal story Momma: Gone is full of literary surprises. The reader’s expectations and predictions that are garnered from the story-line are constantly misdirected. For example, the reader meets the child protagonist sitting atop a bar’s jukebox. The child, Sweetie, is with her inebriated mother; one thinks the story will about a child being raised by an alcoholic, and in part that is true, but the story grows far beyond parental alcoholism. Read the complete review by Tony Lindsay ►

Black Pack Party: Wednesday, May 29, 2019, New York City

Our 13th Annual Black Pack Party Hosted by:, Linda Duggins, and One Book One Bronx

The Frying Pan 
Pier 66 at Hudson River Park, 
207 12th Ave, New York, NY 10001

Date: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 
Time: 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.


The celebration is free to attend. The first 75 attendees who RSVP, and show up, will get their first drink on us!

This year’s party is sponsored by Kwame Alexander and Versify Books.

Also, read a history of our annual Black Pack Party (with video and tons of photos) ►

Authors You Should Know

“I work toward the liberation of women, but I’m not a feminist I’m just a woman.” —Buchi Emecheta

Buchi Emecheta is a Nigerian novelist. Her themes of child slavery, motherhood, female independence and freedom through education have won her considerable critical acclaim and honors, including an Order of the British Empire in 2005.

In 2017 Buchi Emcheta died at the age of 72 leaving behind a legacy that will never be forgotten, her work for equality and the empowerment of women will continue to leave on through her works. Read Emecheta’s entire biography, written by AALBC Intern, Delia Mercado ►

“I began writing about power because I had so little.” —Octavia E. Butler

Butler was born in Pasadena California. At a young age, she lost her father Laurice J. Butler and was raised by her mother, Octavia M. Butler. Her mother worked as a maid to provide for them. With age, Butler began to understand the struggles her mother endured daily. She was known to be very shy and was also diagnosed with dyslexia as a child.

In 2006 Octavia E. Butler died at her home in Seattle she was 58 years old. Read Butler’s entire biography, written by AALBC Intern, Delia Mercado ►

Entries for Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence Due August 15 – $10K Prize

Sponsored by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, the Gaines Award was created to honor outstanding literary work from rising African-American authors while recognizing Louisiana native Ernest Gaines’ extraordinary contribution to the literary world. The upcoming Gaines Award will honor outstanding fiction – novels or short-story collections – published in 2019. Galleys for 2018 publications are also accepted.

Entries for the 13th annual Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence will be accepted through August 15. Information on criteria and entrance forms for the award, which includes a $10,000 cash prize, is available at their website.

AALBC Discussion Forums

There are not many Black-owned platforms left where we can have conversations, debate, and share ideas and information. AALBC’s forums are one of the few remaining places.

If you an author of Black Literature, our forum is a great place to share information about your books with readers. Our most popular forum is dedicated to Culture, Race & Economy.” This forum’s purpose is to facilitate the exchange of opinions, ideas, facts, and information as it relates to Black people. We also have forums dedicated to BloggersPoetryPress Releases, and more.

If you are looking for a alternative to social media check us out. You can remain completely anonymous, if you like, and we’ll always respect your privacy.

Dear Reader,

As the we enter the summer months, I have the opportunity get out and meet more of you. We have our Black Pack Party coming up at the end of May. I’ll be in St. Thomas, USVI joining the Rainbow Book Club as they discuss Baracoon. In June I’ll be at the Austin African American Book Festival, giving a presentation on entrepreneurship in the book business. If you’d like me to participate in your event, drop me a line.

Independent websites like AALBC can only thrive with your patronage and support. When you discover something of value on AALBC please be sure to share the information with others. If you value what we do, please purchase your subscription to AALBC’s eNewsletter. If you have already paid for an annual subscription, thank you on behalf of AALBC and the writers whose work you support.

Peace and Love,
Troy Johnson
Founder & Webmaster,

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★ eNewsletter – April 30, 2019 – Issue #269


Troy D. Johnson is the President, founder and webmaster of, LLC (The African American Literature Book Club). Launched in March of 1998, has grown to become the largest and most frequently visited website dedicated to books and films by and about people of African descent.