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Black children’s book authors shine at local book fair


The Harvey B. Gantt Center is hosting a children’s book fair festival Saturday, Sept. 23 that will focus on local Black authors and illustrators.

The festival will feature storytelling, exposure to new titles by Black authors and more. 

Gantt Center President David Taylor said it’s a way to encourage Black children to read and connect with the content they’re reading about.

“We are experiencing a ‘renaissance’ of children’s book offerings with a wide range of authors, where finally, all children can see themselves in the pages of children’s books,” Taylor told QCity Metro in a statement.

The event will offer several free activities, including face painting, improv theater workshops and drum circles.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, a partner in the festival, is offering prizes and giveaways.

A space for Black authors

Tameka Fryer Brown has been a published author since 2010 when she released her first picture book, “Around Our Way on Neighbors’ Day.”

The Charlotte-based author released her sixth title in January of this year, and plans to release two more soon.

Brown said most of her stories — fictional and nonfictional — highlight Black history and express the importance of family. 

She told QCity Metro that she’s honored to share her books as part of the Gantt’s upcoming festival. 

“We are sadly living in a time where there is a concerted effort to silence Black voices and stories, especially in schools and libraries,” she told QCity Metro.

 “[The festival] is like a public declaration that our experiences, history and stories must not only be shared but celebrated.”

Kelly Starking Lyons, another author participating in the festival, has written children’s books for almost two decades. Her work ranges from easy readers and picture books to chapter books.

Lyons plans to share two picture books, “Going Down Home with Daddy” and “Sing a Song: How Lift Every Voice & Sing Inspired Generations,” with children at the Gantt Center this weekend.

She said books are being “attacked” across the world, but having events for authors to share their work is essential.

“It means so much that they’ve giving space to Black creators and connecting us with the young people we serve,” she told QCity Metro.

Carla Jarrett, who leads visitor experience at the Gantt Center, said the museum plans to host the festival twice a year — the next one is scheduled for Spring 2024, she said.

 Books are available for purchase, ranging from $7.99 to $18.99.

If you go:

Time: 10:30 am – 5:30 pm

Ages: 4 and up

Cost: Free

Families can RSVP via Eventbrite.


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