Category Archives: BEA

Bestsellers Lists, Authors, New Books & More – June 2015

Power List Spring 2015

Multi-Title Authors Find Success on Spring 2015 Edition of the Power List of Best-Selling African-American Books More ▶

Books published by Brown Girls Books dominate AALBC.com’s Bestsellers list for the period March to April of 2015.


Authors You Should Know


J. Ivy: Hip-Hop PoetJ. Ivy: Hip-Hop Poet

J. Ivy is a hip-hop poet, musician, actor, and speaker. He received a Peabody Award for his performance on Russell Simmons’s Def Poetry, as well as a Grammy Award for his contribution with Jay-Z on Kanye West’s The College Dropout album. J. has also collaborated with John Legend, RZA, The Last Poets, The Roots, Common, Mos Def, The Black Crowes, Bob Dylan, and many more.

He supports his community through his Write to Live Academy and the Dear Father Initiative, which encourages young people to explore careers in the arts. If you know a young man, or even an older, one troubled by a lack of a relationship with their father, share J. Ivy’s work with them. Check out our video of J. Ivy, at work, uplifting Black youth here ▶


Jaz Johnson: 21-Year-Old-NovelistJaz Johnson: 21-Year-Old-Novelist

Jasmine “Jaz” Johnson was born on December 13th, 1993 in Bridgeport, Connecticut and has been writing as long as she can remember. Jaz’s passions include art, writing, and graphic design. Her first novel, Sibling Secrets, was published in 2010.

This young writer is so very impressive. At 21, she has already published novels in several genres including, science fiction, and romance (or borderline erotica as she describes it). Readers of any age will enjoy her work. Writers of any age can draw inspiration from her example. She has a life goal of owning a bookshelf of her own books, and being surrounded by the lives and worlds she’s created. I’m sure she will realize that dream. More ▶


Regine L. Sawyer: Creator of Black ComicsRegine L. Sawyer: Creator of Black Comics

Sawyer is the founder of Lockett Down Productions and coordinator of Women in Comics NYC/International. We’ve published a video of Regine describing both her work and publications. She spoke with AALBC.com during the Bronx Book Fair. More ▶


Dr. Condoleezza RiceDr. Condoleezza Rice

Rice has authored and co-authored several books, including Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft, with Philip Zelikow; The Gorbachev Era, with Alexander Dallin,Uncertain Allegiance: The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army and Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family, which we reviewed back in 2010.

Unfortunately many in the Black community have marginalized Dr. Rice’s remarkable, often unprecedented, accomplishments. A few weeks ago she spoke at my daughter’s college graduation. It was a excellent speech and an inspiration to many. While  ainstream media gushed over Steve Jobs graduation speech a few years ago,
Condi’s speech, arguably more impressive, was overlooked by the media. You may watch the speech here ▶.


Banke Awopetu-McCulloughBanke Awopetu-McCullough

Banke is a native of Rochester, NY. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Drama and African and African-American Studies from the University of Virginia and a Masters in Adolescent Education from Roberts Wesleyan. McCullough’s literary style has most been influenced by hip hop music and classic African-American literature.

Her latest novel, Always Want More (Mill City Press, October 2014), tells the story of Tracy Mitchell whose rise in the hip-hop journalism world was swift and fierce. Having secured a position at her dream publication, Real, she hopes to write stories that make an impact. You’ll also enjoy the book’s trailer and book club discussion video. More ▶


Book Reviews


Child, Please: How Mama’s Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself Before I Wrecked MyselfChild, Please: How Mama’s Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check
Myself Before I Wrecked Myself

Toya Graham was at home watching TV coverage of the recent Baltimore riots when she spotted her only son, Michael, in an unruly crowd of kids taunting and throwing objects at the police. Without giving it a second thought, the shocked, single-mother of six sprang into action and rushed right down to the scene to retrieve her misbehaving 16 year-old. Cell phone cameras caught Toya lecturing and slapping Michael silly as she dragged him away…

In Child, Please (Tarcher, May 5, 2015) author, Ylonda Gault Caviness, has belatedly come to embrace more of her mom’s supposedly-antiquated approach after becoming exasperated by the challenge of rearing her own three daughters. “Any fool could see, Mama had the whole motherhood thing down to a science,” she concedes. “Now, in my forties, I finally get it.” More ▶


Book Recommendations


The Ultimate Betrayal by Kimberla Lawson RobyThe Ultimate Betrayal by Kimberla Lawson Roby

AALBC.com, Power List and New York Times bestselling author Kimberla Lawson Roby is back with the 12th book in the Reverend Curtis Black Series, The Ultimate Betrayal (Grand Central Publishing, June 9, 2015)

It’s been four years since twenty-eight-year old Alicia Black, daughter of Reverend Curtis Black, divorced her second husband, the most womanizing and corrupt man she has ever known. Since then, Alicia has been dating her first husband, Phillip Sullivan, a wonderfully kind and true man of God whom she’d hurt terribly by cheating on him. Alicia has worked hard to prove herself worthy of his trust once more, and when he asks her to marry him again, she couldn’t be happier. Until Sunday 21st only, buy The Ultimate Betrayal for 33% off (less than Amazon)..


Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi CoatesBetween the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

In the one hundred fifty years since the end of the Civil War and the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, the story of race and America has remained a brutally simple one, written on flesh: It is the story of the black body, exploited to create the country’s foundational wealth, violently segregated to unite a nation after a civil war, and, today, still disproportionately threatened, locked up, and killed in our streets. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all—regardless of race—honestly reckon with our country’s fraught racial history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau, September 8, 2015) is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer those questions, presented in the form of a letter to his adolescent son. More ▶


Michelle Obama: A Life by by Peter SlevinMichelle Obama: A Life by by Peter Slevin

Michelle Obama has been catching a lot of flak again, this time for her remarks during a recent commencement address at Tuskegee University [another brilliant speech]. The First Lady has been under the gun ever since the 2008 presidential campaign, when her detractors playing “gotcha politics” quoted something she said out of context to suggest that she hates the United States.

But Michelle was making more complicated points than the simplistic sound bites she’s been reduced to. For that reason, it is appropriate that her biography opens with an in-depth analysis of a very emotional speech she delivered to Anacostia High’s graduating class of 2010. More ▶


Grant Park by Leonard Pitts Jr.Grant Park by Leonard Pitts Jr.

Grant Park (Agate Bolden, October 13, 2015) is a page-turning and provocative look at black and white relations in contemporary America, blending the absurd and the poignant in a powerfully well-crafted narrative that showcases Pitts’s gift for telling emotionally wrenching stories.

Grant Park begins in 1968, with Martin Luther King’s final days in Memphis. The story then moves to the eve of the 2008 election, and cuts between the two eras as it unfolds. Disillusioned columnist Malcolm Toussaint, fueled by yet another report of unarmed black men killed by police, hacks into his newspaper’s server to post an incendiary column that had been rejected by his editors. Toussaint then disappears, and his longtime editor, Bob Carson, is summarily fired within hours of the column’s publication. More ▶


$$ The Twenty Million Dollar Race $$ by Vincent Armstrong$$ The Twenty Million Dollar Race $$ by Vincent Armstrong

The kidnapping of a precious six-year-old girl by the Mafia leads to an outrageous ransom demand of twenty million dollars. With only six weeks to deliver the high price ransom and save the girl’s life, an unprecedented race to attain the money by the abducted girl’s family quickly ensues. As the days tick down to the deadline for the ransom to be paid, a vicious crime spree on an unimaginable scope and level evolves as the entire country becomes glued and riveted to this mega media story (Magic Rainbow, April 19, 2015). More ▶


Events


9th National Conference of African American Librarians - August 5-7, 2015 - St. Louis, MO9th 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 it’s 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.

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 Learn more about their biennial conference ▶


Wade HudsonIn Search of Diverse Book Buyers Panel Discussion at Book Expo
America

You may watch the video of the “In Search of Diverse Book Buyers” panel discussion, which was held during Book Expo America. The panel took place, May 28, 2015, in New York City, and was recorded by Clyde Davis of Fathers and Sonns.

The panel participants were Wade Hudson of Just Us Books; Marva Allen of Hueman Books; Troy Johnson, webmaster of AALBC.com; and Vanesse Lloyd-Sgambati of the The African-American Children’s Book Project. Lloyd-Sgambati, who organized this panel, has also launched the Preserve a legacy, buy a book! campaign. More ▶


Film Reviews


Bass Clef Bliss (★★★★)Bass Clef Bliss (★★★★)

Directed by Patrick Scott, Bass Clef Bliss is an alternately heartrending and uplifting biopic chronicling the tight bond between a mother and son as together they confront an assortment of daunting challenges associated with autism. Scott makes a most impressive debut here, as he oh so delicately balances the access he was afforded to his subjects ‘daily lives with their plausible concerns about personal privacy.

Besides focusing on Terrence and Therese’s trials, tribulations and ultimate triumphs, this informative documentary features a cornucopia of facts and figures about autism, courtesy of both experts and anecdotal evidence. Did you know that in 1985, 1 in 2,500 babies developed the disorder, and that today the number is about 1 in 68? More ▶


Watch the full movie; “Finding The Funk,” a Film by Nelson George, Narrated by QuestloveWatch the full movie; “Finding The Funk,” a Film by Nelson George, Narrated by Questlove

Did you miss Finding The Funk’s network debut? You can now stream Nelson George’s exploration of the funk bloodline for free via VH1.

The documentary film, Finding the Funk (2013), is narrated by ?uestlove and features words from D’Angelo, George Clinton, Sly Stone, Bootsy Collins, Nile Rodgers and scholar Michael Eric Dyson, and many other visionaries and performers who help us navigate through the tangled bloodlines of musicians and showmen which have defined the lineage. More ▶


Related Articles & News


Pros and Cons of Mainstream and Self-Publishing by C. Liegh McInnisPros and Cons of Mainstream and Self-Publishing by C. Liegh
McInnis

There are two basic routes to getting published, mainstream and self-publishing. Mainstream is when one submits one’s work to journals/magazines and publishing companies to be published. Self-publishing is when one decides to publish one’s own books. They both can be equally effective although the mainstream manner is the most respected because it allows one to reach a larger audience more quickly and it has an aura or illusion of validation. Although self-publishing does not offer the validation from the establishment, it offers a satisfaction of artistic and economic control of one’s work. Yet, the most effective manner of publishing is to use various aspects of mainstream and self-publishing simultaneously. More ▶


Cynique's Corner - Culture, Race & Economy Discussion ForumCynique’s Corner – Culture, Race & Economy Discussion Forum

“Screw all these dysfunctional, self-absorbed, narcissistic, exhibitionist idiots who make up the freak show carnival of celebrity.”

For daring to share with the world her angst about being a woman trapped in a man’s body, “Bruclyn” has become the anathema of the Religious Right, the poster child for the LGBT community and an enigma for ex-wife Kris Kardashian. But, since “she” had the money to remedy this mix-up via plastic surgery and hormones, she has earned the honor of appearing on the cover of Vanity Fair, flaunting her new identity, all glamorous and feminine, skillfully made-up, sporting long hair extensions, implanted boobs, not to mention her big feet and the tucked-in penis she couldn’t bear to part with… Cynique is just getting warmed up. Read more and join the discussion ▶


Our African-American Literature Discussion Forum is Now Mobile!Our 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 also share rich media content without worrying about being bombarded with ads, having your privacy invaded, or having what you see be determined by efforts to maximize revenue.

Thumper’s Corner, the name of our African-American literature discussion forum, was started in 1998 and has been continuously running ever since. Historically, Thumper’s Corner has been a very special and popular area of our web site. In recent years however, participation has waned as social media gained in prominence. I hope this recent upgrade to our platform will encourage more participation. Join Us ▶


An On-line Advertising Primer for AuthorsAn On-line Advertising Primer for Authors

For a book, several factors determines the effectiveness of a online advertising campaign; (1) the reputation and name recognition of the author; (2) the quality of the book cover or banner and; (3) the potential reader’s interest in the subject. In general, an advertisement for a book with an ugly cover, by an unknown author writing about a subject no one cares about will perform worse than a book with an attractive cover, by a well known author writing in a popular and timely genre or subject.

Notice I did not mention anything about quality of writing. One can not determine the quality of a book’s writing solely from the banner or book cover. That information is best conveyed on the landing page; where readers who click the advertisement are sent. More ▶


A Tribe Called NewsA Tribe Called News

A Tribe Called News was founded on Howard University’s campus and seeks to be the voice of millennials of color.

They cover everything from culture to feminism. They believe the voices of millennials are timely and valuable to the conversations happening in communities of color. To contribute please emailatribecallednews@gmail.com.


Obama’s BookshelfObama’s Bookshelf


Waiting to Exhale
 by Terry McMillan, Richard Wright’sBlack Boy, and W. E. B. Du Bois: A Reader is on President Obama’s Bookshelf. What’s on your bookshelf? ▶

DMessage from AALBC.com Founder Troy Johnsonear Reader,

As always, I encourage feedback on our eNewsletter. Most months I experiment with different types of content in an effort to better serve you. This month I’ve recommended a couple of books, from brilliant writers, that do not come out until the fall. Does notification of books, that far in advance, interest you? Let me know what you think about that, or anything else, by emailing me or posting a comment on our discussion forum.

As always, remember to show your support for the writers and institutions we cover, with your paid subscription to our newsletter.

Peace & Love,

AALBC.com eNewsletter – June 9, 2015 – Issue #226

Walter Dean Myers: More Than an Outstanding Writer

by Wade Hudson

I was stunned when I heard that Walter Dean Myers had made his transition. During the 25 plus years that my wife Cheryl and I have been involved in publishing, it seemed that Walter was always “there.”

We started Just Us Books, Inc. in 1988 to publish more books for children that focused on black experiences. Writers and artists such as Virginia Hamilton and Arnold Adoff, Eloise Greenfield, Patricia and Fred McKissack, Tom Feelings, George Ford, Leo and Diane Dillon, and of course Walter Dean Myers, had already blazed a trail as book creators that we would follow. We were novices, in a way, learning the business of publishing on the fly.

Walter Dean Myres, Cheryl Hudson and Wade Hudson

Walter, Cheryl & Wade Hudson at a 1993 book signing held at a Toys R Us store in Manhattan, NY

Cheryl and I were somewhat brash, bent on making a difference, determined to correct the injustices we saw in publishing. One would think that Myers and the other trailblazers who had been at the forefront of the struggle to change publishing to be more reflective of who we are as a nation, would have been taken aback by the two new kids on the block. But they were not. They embraced us and welcomed us. When Cheryl and I did a radio interview with Tom Feelings in 1990, Just Us Books had only published three titles. Tom was already an established artist, a celebrity really. But he treated us as equals, applauded our efforts and encouraged us on the airways. We received support and encouragement from the other trailblazers, too.

Tom is gone. Virginia Hamilton is gone. Leo Dillon and Fred McKissack are gone, too. And now we have lost Walter Dean Myers.

I will miss seeing Walter at Book Expo America, ALA, NCTE and the many other conferences where he often held court, sharing, urging, encouraging, directing, advocating…always trying to make things better. When Walter’s article, Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books? appeared in the March 15, 2014 issue of the New York Times, many welcomed it as timely and much needed. But Walter had written an article that appeared in the New York Times in 1986, addressing the same concerns. He was always at the forefront, involved in many initiatives, some that he organized himself. He was determined to increase diversity in our body of literature for children. He also advocated for the inclusion of people of color in the offices of publishing houses.

In 1991, Walter, Cheryl and I worked together as jurors for a scholarship competition organized to identify talented writers and artists of color and introduce them to the publishing community. The scholarship competition was a part of Multicolored Mirror: Cultural Substance in Literature for Children and Young Adults, a conference sponsored by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Walter also supported literacy programs offered by the Children’s Defense Fund, sometimes donating his own money. I watched as he connected effortlessly with the young people who attended the summer sessions there. Whenever a speaking engagement was set up for him, Walter made sure that juvenile detention centers, prisons and other programs for youth were included.

“I know what falling off the cliff means,” he once said. “I know from being considered a very bright kid to being considered like a moron and dropping out of school.”

Yes, Walter Dean Myers was a prolific, multi award-winning writer. As stated on his web site he “touched so many with his eloquent and unflinching portrayal of young African-American lives.” Walter visualized a better world. In the tradition of Frederick Douglass, he used words to encourage, empower, challenge, advocate and agitate for the change that would bring that world about. In that regard, for me, at least, he was a freedom fighter, too.

______________

Wade HudsonWade Hudson’s career as a writer spans more than three decades. In 1988, Hudson’s passion for writing and life-long mission to help foster positive self-images within the Black community, prompted him and his wife Cheryl to launch Just Us Books, the nation’s leading independent publisher of Black-interest books for young people. Wade currently serves as president and CEO. Wade has also written more than 25 books for young people. 

Hudson recently spoke at Book Expo America on, May 31, 2014, on a panel entitled Where are the People of Color in Children’s.

Good Books, Films, Events & Articles – May 2014 eNewsletter

You may receive this eNewsletter directly in your email-box by subscribing or download a PDF version. It may also be read on your Kindle ebook reader. Enjoy our previous eNewsletters. Sponsor our eNewsletter.


This month’s eNewsletter is Sponsored by Naleighna Kai

news-naleighna-kai

Naleighna Kai is the bestselling author of Every Woman Needs a Wife, The Pleasure’s All Mine and Open Door Marriage. She is also a contributing author to the New York Times Best-selling book, Caramel Flava.

Open Door Marriage (Brown Girls Publishing, Jan 2014) centers around three people caught up in an all too familiar triangle. Alicia Mitchell, the love of Dallas Avery’s life disappeared, and resurfaced years later at the most inopportune time. Oh, he still loves Alicia, an older woman who captured his heart, but it’s unfortunate that he’s now engaged to a woman he learns—is her niece. When his fiancée, Tori, lays a proposition on the table, it seems that everyone will get a little of what they want, but maybe a whole lot of what they don’t. The stage is set for them to learn one valuable lesson: There’s no right way to do a wrong thing. Visit www.naleighnakai.com for more information.

AALBC.com’s Best-Selling Books March/April 2014

news-mar-apr-2014 -bestsellers
Our best-selling books lists combine both physical and electronic book formats. Ebooks represented 53% of all sales this period. Nikki Woods’ new novel, Easier Said Than Done, was the strongest seller overall.

Authors You Should Know

AALBC.com mourns the passing of Sam Greenlee (May 19, 2014)news-sam-greenlee

Greenlee was born in Chicago on July 13, 1930. He earned a BS in political science from the University of Wisconsin. Greenlee also attended the University of Chicago and the University of Thessaloniki in Greece.

In 1969 Greenlee published his first, and most famous, novel The Spook Who Sat By the Door. Other works by Greenlee include; Baghdad Blues; a 1971 collection of poems, Blues for an African Princess; and a 1971 collection of poems, Ammunition (poetry, 1975). In 1990 Greenlee was the Illinois poet laureate.

Tonya Boldennews-tonya-bolden

Tonya Bolden, a Princeton University magna cum laude baccalaureate with a master’s degree from Columbia University, is an award-winning author of more than twenty books for children and young adults. They include Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl, a Coretta Scott King honor book and James Madison Book Award winner. Bolden’s MLK: Journey of a King received the National Council of Teachers of English’s 2008 Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children. High praise for her George Washington Carver include a Virginia Library Association Jefferson Cup and a Cleveland Public Library Sugarman Award.

When Bolden isn’t writing she can be found gardening (if it’s not too hot or too cold) or watching period dramas (if it is) or laughing and learning with family or friends or with both.

George S. Schuylernews-george-schuyller

Schuyler (February 25, 1895 — August 31, 1977) was a journalist and cultural critic whose writings appeared in such diverse publications as Crisis, Nation, Negro Digest, American Mercury, and National Review. Schuyler was a prolific writer and an outspoken commentator during his fifty-four-year career.

Schuyler’s life and political views were, however, controversial. By the 1950s, he had become an ardent supporter of U.S. Sen. Joseph P. McCarthy and touted himself as an American patriot, believing that communism was a threat to African Americans. In the 1960s, Schuyler was one of the few African Americans who openly characterized the civil rights movement as a communist-inspired plot to destroy America. His wife, Josephine Cogdell Schuyler, was profiled in Carla Kaplan’s recent book, Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance.

Kiese Laymonnews-kiese

Kiese Laymon is a black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. Laymon attended Millsaps College and Jackson State University before graduating from Oberlin College. He earned an MFA from Indiana University and is the author of the novel, Long Division and a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America. Laymon is a contributing editor at gawker.com.

Long Division was named one of the Best of 2013 by a number of publications, including Salon, Guernica, Mosaic Magazine, Chicago Tribune and the Crunk Feminist Collective. Laymon is currently at work on a new novel and funky memoir called 309. He is an Associate Professor of English at Vassar College.

Maryse Condénews-maryse

Maryse Condé, was born in Guadeloupe, on February 11, 1937. In 1953, her parents sent her to study at Lycée Fénelon and Sorbonne in Paris, where she majored in English. After graduating, she taught in Guinea, Ghana and Senegal.

The critically acclaimed, award-winning author penned several historical novels including I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem; Victoire: My Mother’s Mother; and Who Slashed Celanire’s Throat? Condé’s “blending of memoir and imagination, detective work and storytelling artistry, is a literary gem that readers won’t soon forget.”

Professor Griffnews-griff

Professor Griff is an internationally renowned educator, writer, producer, musician, platinum recording/spoken word artist, lecturer and founding member and Minister of Information of the pioneering hip hop group Public Enemy.

Griff is a thought provoking and engaging lecturer. He has written several books including Analytixz 20 Years of Conversation and Enter-Views with Public Enemy’s Professor Griff, Acapella Revolution: The Alchemical Transformation of Reconstructing the Oral Tradition and The Psychological Covert War on Hip Hop: The Illuminati’s takeover of Hip Hop.

Book Reviews

news-inside-the-hotel-rwandaInside the Hotel Rwanda: The Surprising True Story… and Why It Matters Today

In 2004, the film Hotel Rwanda received widespread acclaim for its heartrending account of how one man had singlehandedly shielded over a thousand Tutsi refugees from certain death during the Rwandan Genocide by hiding them in the hotel he managed. Don Cheadle earned an Academy Award nomination for his powerful portrayal of Paul Rusesabagina, an apparent modern-day saint suddenly mentioned in the same breath as Oskar Schindler, the German factory owner who had saved so many Jews from the Holocaust during World War II.

What a difference a decade makes! Over the intervening years, telltale cracks gradually appeared in the image Rusesabagina had so carefully cultivated with the help of Hollywood and the human rights community. Those swirling rumors came out into the open when Rwandan President Kagame referred to the supposed paragon of virtue as a total fraud.

How To Knock A Bravebird From Her Perchnews-how-to-knock-a-brave-bird

Inspired by family and friends who have been victims of abuse, D. Bryant Simmons, an advocate of female empowerment and children’s rights, wrote How To Knock A Bravebird From Her Perch to encourage victims of domestic violence and dedicated it to “all women who doubt their abilities. Especially my mother.”

A naturally gifted storyteller, Simmons, has put her heart and soul into this cautionary tale of perseverance, hope and strength. I could understand how we sometimes end up in places we’d never imagined and don’t know how to get out of. How we don’t know how strong we can be until being strong is our only option. This is the story of how Pecan [the novel’s protagonist] finally finds her strength, and when she does it will make you want to cheer.

A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Homenews-adream-deffered

The author, Laura Gottesdiener powerfully investigates the ongoing real estate crisis in A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home. In her heartbreaking book, the author intimately illustrates examples of what is really a mass-scale tragedy in scope by zeroing in on the fates of four families facing and fighting eviction.

A debt of gratitude is owed to this eye-opening opus for providing proof positive that, even in the Age of Obama, the American Dream remains elusive for the vast majority of black people.

news-what-the-word-beWhat the Word Be: Why Black English… Is the King’s (James) English

When most people talk about the “King’s English,” they’re referring to a very proper, aristocratic way of speaking in terms of grammar and syntax. That style is far afield from the uniquely African-American phraseology also known as Ebonics.

For, according to its author, Diane Proctor Reeder, the roots of Ebonics can readily be found in the King James Bible, the text employed by most slave masters to teach Africans English. To prove her point, Ms. Reeder simply quotes from scripture, such as “Surely the people is grass,” which is found in Isaiah 40:7.

Related Articles

Report: Dramatic Drop in Reading Among Teensnews-children-teens-and-reading

Common Sense Media recently announced the release of Children, Teens, and Reading, a research brief that offers a unique, big-picture perspective on children’s reading habits in the United States and how they may have changed during the technological revolution of recent decades. The report brings together many disparate studies on children’s reading rates and achievement for the first time, summarizing key findings and highlighting where research is scarce, incomplete, or outdated, as well as offering suggestions for new areas of study.

Though the report finds that reading is still a big part of many children’s lives—and reading scores among young children have improved steadily—achievement among older teens has stagnated, and many children don’t read well or often.

Marcus Books of San Francisco Evicted—Should We Care?news-why-care-about-marcus-books

Where do you buy the books that you read?

While Marcus Books situation is sad and unfortunate, the closure of bookstores is being repeated at an increasingly alarming rate across the country. From my perspective, the fight is not just about saving one store, it is about saving all the stores—and websites too, including this one.

Will you support independent, Black owned, bookstores and websites, or will we willingly relinquish the few that remain? Will we sit idly by while complete control over which stories and information about our community, is handed over to some corporate entity concerned with only with maximizing profit?

Prince Among Slaves by Terry Alfordnews-prince-amoung-slaves

In this remarkable work, Terry Alford tells the story of Abd al Rahman Ibrahima, an enslaved Muslim who, in 1807, was recognized by an Irish ship’s surgeon as the son of an African king who had saved his life many years earlier. “The Prince,” as he had become known to local Natchez, Mississippi residents, had been captured in war when he was 26 years old, sold to slave traders, and shipped to America.

Enslaved though he was, Ibrahima was an educated, aristocratic man, and he was made overseer of the large cotton and tobacco plantation of his master, who refused to sell him for any price.

JET Magazine Goes From Print to Digital Onlynews-jet-mag

Johnson Publishing Company (JPC) announced, in a recent press release that “JET magazine, founded in 1951, will transition to a digital magazine app at the end of June. JPC is making the proactive decision to adapt to the changing needs of its readers as their desire to get information quickly and easily increases.” While I’m glad Jet survives digitally, I’m disheartened the print publication is no more.

As AALBC.com’s webmaster and someone who has been actively engaged with the internet since it became a commercial entity two decades ago, I do not believe the digitization of everything leaves us better off. We are reading less and less well. For many, the management of every digital asset we own from books, music, videos, and photos has become a costly technical challenge. The “digital divide” is still a reality for many in our community.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw – The “Belle” Interviewnews-gugu

Born in Oxford, England on June 30, 1983, Gugu Mbatha-Raw trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Her first professional role was as Celia in an open air production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Gugu subsequently landed roles at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre where she performed the title roles of Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, the latter opposite Andrew “Spider-Man” Garfield.

Here, talks about playing the title character in Belle, a biopic about Dido Elizabeth Belle (1761-1804), the orphaned offspring of an African slave and a British ship captain who was raised in England by her father’s rich relations.

Film Reviews

Half of a Yellow Sunnews-a-half-a-yelloe-sun

The film marks the impressive directorial debut of Biyi Bandele, who also adapted the 543-page opus into a 113-minute saga that walks a fine line between romance drama and sprawling epic. That being said, the picture’s examination of the country’s explosive Christian-Muslim tribal tensions proves to be both timely and compelling, given how they’ve recently resurfaced during the radical group Boko Haram’s current reign of terror.

A steamy soap opera unfolding against the backdrop of a cautionary history lesson reminding us that in Nigeria, the more things change, the more they stay insane.

Fed Upnews-fedup

In the same fashion that corporations have been allowed to market and sell cancer causing cigarettes, resulting in countless early deaths, corporations are now allowed to sell food that is known to be unhealthy.

Today, in many communities, 30% or more of the children are obese; many tens of thousands of children in the U.S. suffer from type-2 diabetes. Type-2 diabetes in a child was unheard of until recently. Obesity on this scale is a relatively new problem. Fed Up describes how food companies add copious amounts of addictive sugar to our food simply to make money—at the expense of our nation’s health.

Recommendations

Not for Everyday Use: A Memoir by Elizabeth Nuneznews-not-for-everyday-use

Nunez’s memoir was recently featured in Oprah.com’s collection of “Memoirs Too Powerful to Put Down.”

“In this swiftly moving memoir, Elizabeth Nunez returns to Trinidad after the death of her mother. While helping her sister and father arrange the burial, Nunez reflects on everything from her admiration of her parents’ loving, 65-year-long marriage (and the failure of her own) and her early, isolated years as an immigrant in New York, to the strange, unshakable grip colonialism has on her homeland today.”

The Brown Bookshelfnews-the-brown-book-shelf

The Brown Bookshelf is designed to push awareness of the myriad of African American voices writing for young readers. Their flagship initiative is, 28 Days Later, a month-long showcase of the best in picture books, middle grade and young adult novels written and illustrated by African Americans.

The founders are authors Crystal Allen, Tameka Fryer Brown, Paula Chase-Hyman, Gwendolyn Hooks, Varian Johnson, Kelly Starling Lyons, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, and Don Tate.

Adinkrahene: Fear of a Black Planet by J.A. Faulkersonnews-adinkrahene

In a world where America has elected its first Black president, a new generation of heroes must emerge to unite a divided kingdom.

When Mississippi Senator Kyle Shuler announces his bid to unseat presidential incumbent Herbert Newsom, America’s first, black president, Washington Post political reporter Jonathan Fraiser is miffed. He knows Senator Shuler’s dirty, little secret—that he and two of his friends murdered an elderly, black woman as teenagers. But Jonathan isn’t the only person disturbed by Shuler’s announcement. His longtime friend Selina Giles, an FBI agent, was eleven years old when Shuler slit her grandmother’s throat. Now, Jonathan and Selina must join forces as Adinkrahene agents to prevent a Jim Crow criminal from becoming the leader of the free world.

news-malcolm-littleMalcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz

Malcolm X grew to be one of America’s most influential figures. But first, he was a boy named Malcolm Little. Written by his daughter, this inspiring picture book biography celebrates a vision of freedom and justice.

Bolstered by the love and wisdom of his large, warm family, young Malcolm Little was a natural born leader. But when confronted with intolerance and a series of tragedies, Malcolm’s optimism and faith were threatened. He had to learn how to be strong and how to hold on to his individuality. He had to learn self-reliance.

Cariblit: Caribbean Literature Action Groupnews-cariblit

The CaribLit website serves as a central resource for writers and publishers to gain information on publishing, marketing, distribution and bookselling in the Caribbean and to share their expertise and best practices. They know that many other websites exist through which writers promote their work to readers; rather than compete with those, CaribLit will focus on providing information and resources relevant for persons within the Caribbean publishing industry.

MahoganyBooks’ Deal of the Week – Lowest Price Online!news-prodigal-son

This week’s special is Power List and AALBC.com Bestselling author Kimberla Lawson Roby’s new novel, The Prodigal Son (Reverend Curtis Black Novel). MahoganyBooks, the official bookseller of the Power List, is bringing us this new book for 30% off—$5 less than Amazon!

The Black book ecosystem is much more complex than selling books at the lowest price. It is a battle to retain control over how our stories and history are told. MahoganyBooks, AALBC.com and other independent booksellers are driven to ensure that this happens in an uplifting and empowering way.

Enjoy our eNewsletter and Blog on your Kindlenews-subscribe-via-kindle

Read the AALBC.com eNewsletter and our blog posts on your Kindle eBook reader. Try it free for 14 days.

Events

Infamous Books Launch Party – May 28, 2014 in NYCnews-infamous-launch

On Wednesday, May 28th, join Akashic and Infamous Books at The Mysterious Bookshop (58 Warren Street, Manhattan, NYC) at 6:30 PM for an Infamous launch party! Join special guest Albert “Prodigy” Johnson of Mobb Deep, author of H.N.I.C, in celebrating the release of Miasha’s Swing, JaQuavis Coleman’s The White House, and K’wan’s Black Lotus with complimentary refreshments, including beer lovingly provided by Brooklyn Brewery.

news-black-pack-party
The Black Pack Party is an annual gathering of publishing industry professionals, and is held during Book Expo America. The 2014 Black Pack Party is scheduled for May 29, 2014, in New York City. Register for the 2014 celebration.

news-people-of-colorWhere Are the People of Color in Children’s Books? – Panel Discussion May 31, 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Industry professionals will share their insight and knowledge of the state of African-American children’s books; their past, present and solutions for the future. Join in this deep dive with; Patrik Henry Bass, author of Zero Degree Zombie Zone & Book Editor for Essence Magazine; Tonya Bolden, author of many books, including, Searching for Sarah Rector: The Richest Black Girl in America; Regina Brooks, author of Writing Great Books for Young Adults, and CEO of Serendipity Literary Agency; Bernette Ford, author and CEO of Color-Bridge, LLC; Wade Hudson, President, Just Us Books; Vanesse Lloyd-Sgambati, Founder The African American Children’s Book Project, Cultural/Entertainment Contributor, WURD-AM, CEO The Literary Media and Publishing Consultants; and Harlyn Pacheco, CEO of Qlovi.

Moderator: Troy Johnson, Founder of The African American Literature Book Club (AALBC.com)

news-sacremento-black-book-festival
The First Annual Sacramento Black Book Festival takes place June 6 – 8, 2014 at the Historic Center of Oak Park.  There will be over 80 other authors participating as well. Visit sacramentoblackbookfair.com for more information.

Edit 1st — Manuscript Editing Services

What Editors Look for When Considering a Book for Acquisitionnews-edit-first

For Fiction
* Voice: The overall narrative voice.
* Pace: How quickly the story moves.
* Plot: The overall story.
* Style: How the story is written.
* Verisimilitude: Are the details right?
* Character: Are there interesting and multifaceted characters in conflict?

To learn more visit Edit 1st. Be sure to contact Edit 1st for all your manuscript editing needs.

news-advertise-your-bookPower to the Author – Your Book Cover on the AALBC.com Homepage for as Little as $39 for 32 Days

Place your book cover on the AALBC.com homepage and the main page of our Books Section. This type of placement includes the author’s name, the book’s title, and a link to any website.

Dear Reader,

news-subscribeCC LGIn order to continue our work, and to improve our offerings, we need your support. Please consider purchasing or renewing your subscription to AALBC.com monthly eNewsletter—less than a dollar an issue.

If you’ve read something, in our eNewsletter, that you enjoyed or felt was important, please share it with others. We are responsible for ensuring the depth and breadth of our stories are told, shared and recorded.

If you are interested in providing more substantial support through website sponsorship please contact Troy Johnson.

Peace,
Troy Johnson,
Founder and Webmaster

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