A Is For Anansi: Literature for Children of African Descent

I’m planning on attending as much as possible of this terrific-sounding (and free to the public) conference this Friday and Saturday.  (Can’t do all because of some personal conflicts, unfortunately.)

A Is For Anansi: Literature for Children of African Descent

October 8-9th 2010

presented by

Institute of African American Affairs – New York University

Location for all programs: Kimmel Center-NYU,

60 Washington Square South Rm. 914-Silver

Please RSVP at (212) 998-IAAA (4222)

A Is For Anansi will cover the history, criticism and theory of contemporary books for and about children of African descent, as told by its most influential critics, scholars, teachers and producers. The need for more in-depth analysis and for more information, critical evaluation, and publications on this topic still remain. The conference will look at these and consider other questions and issues as well.


Friday, October 8th, 2010 – Opening Reception

6:00 – 6:30 pm

● Opening KEYNOTE

Andrea Davis Pinkney—Vice President, Executive Editor, Scholastic

Bernette Ford—Editor and Founder of Color-Bridge Books


Nancy D. Tolson—Associate Professor, Early Childhood Education Department, Mitchell College

6:30-8:00 pm

History/Significance/Meaning of Writing/Publishing/Selling Literature for and about Children of African Descent (importance of bookstores; going beyond the obvious that it’s good for other people to learn about other people)

Moderator: Cheryl Willis Hudson—Vice President & Editorial Director, Just Us Books; Author, My Friend Maya Loves to Dance

Regina Brooks—Founder and President of Serendipity Literary Agency

Kathleen T. Horning— Director, Cooperative Children’s Book Center of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Joe Monti—Agent, Barry Goldblatt Literary; former children’s fiction buyer at Barnes & Noble

Hannah Ehrlich— Marketing & Publicity Associate, Lee & Low Books

Colin Bootman—Illustrator/Author, The Steel Pan Man of Harlem,

The Music in Derrick’s Heart

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

9:00 -9:30 am   Breakfast and Welcome

9:30 – 11:00 am

Issues of Identity & Representation (historical overview, phenotype-illustrating the books, role of language, look beyond books: cinema, advertisement, TV)

Moderator: Zetta Elliott—Author, Bird, A Wish After Midnight

George Ford—Illustrator, The Story Of Ruby Bridges, Ray Charles

Nicole Tadgell—Illustrator, Lucky Beans, No Mush Today

Myisha Priest—Assistant Professor, Gallatin, New York University

Khafilah McCurdy—Editor, The Journal of African American Children’s Literature

Nnedi Okorafor —Author, The Shadow Speaker, Zahrah the Windseeker

Respondent: Fabienne Doucet— Fabienne DoucetNew York UniversitySteinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human DevelopmentAssistant Professor of Education, New York University

11:00 – 12:30 pm

Let the Children Speak (roundtable of kids discussing children’s books, “books that have had a profound effect on me and why” video games vs. reading, why don’t I read, use of social media like Twitter, Facebook, blogs, video blogs and more, audience can include children, parents, teachers)

Moderator: Clairesa Clay—Teacher/Filmmaker

12:30 – 1:30 pm  ● Lunch

12:00 – 2:00 pm Rare Books Display from the collections of Fern Gillespie

and Rashidah Ismaili, Room 910

1:30 – 3:00 pm

Critiquing & Evaluating the Books/Content (stereotypes, censorship, violence, raw images in picture books, depictions of the black family, political correctness in writing for children in terms of its ability to stimulate imagination as well as enhance cognitive and cultural development)

Moderator: Laura Atkins —Lecturer, National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature in London, England

Wanda M. Brooks—Associate Professor of Literacy Education in the College of Education, Temple University

Andrew P. Jackson —Executive Director, Queens Library’s Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center

Oralia Garza de Cortes —Latino Children’s Literature Consultant

John Sellers—Children’s Reviews Editor, Publishers Weekly

Respondent: Summer Edward—Founder and Managing Editor of Anansesem-Caribbean children’s literature ezine.

3:00 – 4:30 pm

Literacy & Education for/of the Black Male

Moderator: Clairesa Clay—Teacher/Filmmaker

Katie Sciurba—Lecturer, University of San Diego

C. Jama Adams—Chairperson and Associate Professor, Department of African American Studies, John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY)

Tony Medina— Poet/Associate Professor of Creative Writing, Howard University

4:30 – 5:00 pm  ● Closure/Round Up/Survey

5:00 – 6:00 pm Rare Books Display from the collections of Fern Gillespie

and Rashidah Ismaili, Room 910

5:00 pm


Tribute to Virginia Hamilton, Tom Feelings, and Leo and Diane Dillon

Moderator: Esther Cooper Jackson—Editor, Freedomways Reader and Social Activist

Leo and Diane Dillon—Illustrators, Why Mosquitoes Buzz In People’s Ears

Arnold Adoff—Poet and Anthologist, Roots and Blues: A Celebration

Rashidah Ismaili—Poet/Educator

Kamili Feelings—Writer/Teacher

Michael Patrick Hearn—Author,  Myth, Magic, and Mystery: One Hundred Years of American Children’s Book Illustration



Filed under Other

2 responses to “A Is For Anansi: Literature for Children of African Descent

  1. Carla Grant

    How did I miss this?! If there are any audio portions, or articles that emerged from this conference,please let me know. In addition could I be placed on a mailing list so I can know of anything else like this that might be forthcoming. Thank you.


  2. To Carla and all interested: go to the conference website to see who to connect to be placed on a mailing list.


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