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Oprah for President?

8 Jan

Oprah: The Little Speaker

In her Golden Globe speech, Oprah told girls, “A new day has come!” This picture book shows how the media  mogul got her start–speaking in a rural Mississippi church during the Jim Crow era. She wanted to be paid to talk when she grew up. Could she talk her way into the Oval Office?


2017 Best Books Honors for (drumroll, please)…

13 Dec




Updates to come…

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library, illustrated by Eric Velasquez (Candlewick)

School Library Journal Best Nonfiction

Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature Best Books

New York Public Library 100 Best Books for Children and Teens

Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Books of 2017 for Budding Social-Justice Warriors

Shelf Awareness Best Picture Books

Fuse 8 Productions 31 Days, 31 Lists: Unique Biographies

2017 Nerdies: Best Nonfiction


In Your Hands, illustrated by Brian Pinkney (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster)

School Library Journal Best Picture Books

Booklist Top 10 Religion & Spirtuality Books for Youth

Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2017


The Legendary Miss Lena Horne, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster)

Booklist Lasting Connections

Society of Illustrators, Original Art Show

Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature Best Books

Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids

Chicago Public Library’s Best Informational Books for Younger Readers

Mighty Girl’s Books of the Year


Dorothea Lange: How the Phogorapher Found the Faces of the Depression, illustrated by Sarah Greene (Albert Whitman)

Mighty Girl’s Books of the Year


Listen to the poem “Pearl Harbor” from YOU CAN FLY: THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN

6 Dec

Jeffery Weatherford, illustrator of You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen (2016, Atheneum/Simon & Schuster), reads the poem “Pearl Harbor,” to mark this week’s anniversary of the 1941 Japanese attack that decimated the Pacific Fleet and drew the U.S. into World War II.


WWII Resources: Pearl Harbor & Tuskegee Airmen

1 Dec

Listen to the poem, “Pearl Harbor,” from You Can Fly the Tuskegee Airmen by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jeffery Boston Weatherford (Published by Atheneum/Simon & Schuster).

Listen here.

December 7 marks the 76th anniversary of the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that destroyed the Pacific Fleet, left 2,403 Americans dead and drew the United States into World War II. Watch President Franklin Roosevelt’s address to the nation, declar war.

For saving lives that day, Dorie Miller (below left) was awarded the Navy Cross—the first African American honoree in the conflict.


Boxing champion Joe Louis (far right) did his part by appearing on an Army recruitment poster and pressing to get Jackie Robinson and other black men into Officer Candidate School. But rather than seek a commission himself, Louis enlisted.


Though eager to fight, the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American military pilots, were not deployed until 17 months after Pearl Harbor. These pioneering heroes went on to fly 205 bombing missions—200 without losing one bomber—and to destroy one enemy destroyer (with bullets alone!), 262 German planes and 950 vehicles. Their records not only defied racist stereotypes but also led to desegregation of the U.S. military, paving the way for the Civil Rights Movement.

The Book

Jeff and Carole at Barnaby Elementary School Oxon Hill MDThe verse novel You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen follows the legendary squadrons from training in Alabama to triumph on the battlefield as they fight fascism overseas and racism on the home front. Second person poems put readers in the cockpit.

Author and illustrator launched You Can Fly at Barnaby Manor Elementary School in Prince George’s County, Md. Book a visit or virtual lecture for your school. Contact

Honors & Praise for You Can Fly

Tuskegee cover ALA Notable Children’s Books

CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book

Great Lakes Great Books Master List (MI)

NCTE Notable Poetry List

NCTE Notable Verse Novel List

New York Public Library Best Books for Kids

A masterful, inspiring evocation of an era.—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

[A] gripping historical story, reinforced by dramatically shaded scratchboard illustrations…—Publishers Weekly (starred review)


Here’s a Tuskegee Airmen paper airplane reproducible to lift the ceiling off of students’ dreams. On the blank side list character traits of the Tuskegee Airmen plus one of more uplifting quotations. Then, fold the airplane. Students can trade airplanes with friends.

Primary Sources

Browse WWII and Tuskegee Airmen photos from the Library of Congress and National Archives.

View documents from the FDR Presidential Library and Museum.

Read President Harry Truman’s 1948 Executive Order desegregating the U.S. Military.

Watch the U.S. Army recruiting film “Wings for This Man.” It’s narrated by actor named Ronald Reagan, who went on to become the 40th President of the United States.

Original Art from You Can Fly Is Now Touring

Inline image 1

The most recent stop for the touring exhibition was Atlanta Public Library’s Auburn Avenue Research Center. Before that, the original art was displayed at Fayetteville State University, Guilford Technical Community College and Cumberland County Public Library. The next stop is Oxon Hill Public Library in Maryland. Contact us to find out how to bring the exhibition to your area.


4-Star Fall Releases

19 Aug

Schomburg cover  in-your-hands cover

Schomburg: The Man Who Build a Library (Candlewick, August 2017), my  fifth collaboration with Eric Velasquez; and In Your Hands (Atheneum/Simon& Schuster), my first book with Brian Pinkney, have both earned four starred reviews. The stars came from Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, Booklist and Publishers Weekly. Both books reflect my mission of truth-telling. Reviewers, thanks for all the love.

Lovely Review for Lena

8 Jun

Review of The Legendary Miss Lena Horne at Librarian’s Quest blog. Many thanks.

Ending Poetry/Jazz Month with Billie

30 Apr

Billie older by Floyd Cooper-page-001 (1)



Poetry and jazz are perfectly paired in April–the month when Lady Day, my muse, was born. Stream my fictional verse memoir, Becoming Billie Holiday, illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Free of charge if your public library subscribes to Hoopla.