Happy Founders’ Day, Delta Sorors

13 Jan

Lena Horne Cover

Honoring the legendary founders and illustrious sorors of #DeltaSigmaTheta on #DeltaFoundersDay2020.

With Hollywood glamour and a fighting spirit, famed Soror Lena Horne epitomized intellect, talent and grace. Share this beautiful biography with the girls who will be tomorrow’s leaders. Illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon. Bulk sales and autographed copies to chapters at discount. For details, contact me.

The Roots of Rap: Award Season Wrap-up

9 Jan




Thanks to the list-makers for all the book love. Congratulations to the creators of all the other books on these lists. I am so grateful that The Roots of Rap is finding readers and spreading the gospel of hip hop, the language of global youth culture. Updates to come.

  • Original Art Show, Silver Award
  • Kirkus Review, Best Picture Books
  • Kirkus Review, Best Informational Books
  • Book Links Lasting Connections 2019
  • North Carolina Young People’s Literature Award finalist
  • New York Public Library Best Books of 2019
  • Chicago Public Library Best Informational Books
  • Teaching for Change 100 Best Multicultural and Social Justice Books
  • Books All Young Georgians Should Read
  • 101 Great Books for Kids, Evanston Public Library
  • Best American History Books, 31 Days, 31 Lists by Betsy Bird/Fuse 8 Productions
  • Best Nonfiction, 31 Days, 31 Lists by Betsy Bird/Fuse 8 Productions
  • The Nerdies for Nonfiction
  • Nonfiction Detectives Best Nonfiction Books

Starred Reviews: Booklist, School Library Journal, Horn Book, Kirkus Review,



10 activities based on the picture book Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream and You

8 Jan

Be a King

Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Dream and You, illustrated by James E. Ransome, is an un-biography. Rather than a story about King’s life, the book is inspiration to live by his example.

Here’s what the Barnes & Noble blog had to say about the book: “While many books indirectly inspire conversations about the continued relevance of Dr. King’s work, this is the first one I’ve seen to make such a clear connection to the lives of today’s children. This is the perfect book to purchase when your children are young, and revisit in increasingly complex ways as they mature.”

Here’s how you can use the book in your classroom.

  • Reader’s theater or choral reading: With its affirming refrain, “You can be a King,” the book is tailor-made for choral reading. Add costumes for a staged reading. Intersperse protest songs from the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Decorate a door or bulletin board: Give students Post-It notes to pledge how they will be a King in their own classroom or community.

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  • Plant a dream: Give students an outline of a shoe. Have them write and/or draw a future goal on the shoe. Or give each student a seed to represent their dreams. Students will plant and germinate the seeds. Write dreams on masking tape and affix to the seed pots.
  • Stop bullying: Do role plays of bullying scenarios to show ways that students can intervene on a peer’s behalf.
  • King mural project: Take a cue from the class in the book and create portraits of King. Paper a door or  bulletin board with students art.
  • King Collage: Create a collage using scenes from King’s life. The collage could be a portrait of King or a symbol of the movement that he led.
  • Blackout poem: Use King’s “I Have a Dream” speech to create a blackout poem.
  • Add a spread to the book. Start with the refrain, “You can be a King.” Add two more lines suggesting a way to serve others or foster tolerance. Illustrate your text.
  • Name a King and Queen of help in your class or school. Vote for the winner.
  • Check out the 13 extension activities created by this enterprising educator.


Gift Books

10 Dec

For strong women, mothers of sons, WWII history buffs, baseball buffs, movie fans, hip hop heads, dog lovers and people of faith. SHOP


Veterans Day: Honoring the US Colored Troops & the Tuskegee Airmen

9 Nov

Pictured clockwise from top left: Isaac Copper, USCT; book cover of You Can Fly; illustration of U.S. Colored Troops by Jeffery Weatherford. 

My great-great grandfather Isaac Copper was born into slavery at Wye House, Maryland’s largest slave-holding plantation–once home to Frederick Douglass. As a young man, he was sold by his master to Union Troops and enlisted in the U.S. Colored Troops 7th Infantry Regiment. He fought in the Siege of Petersburg and marched on Appomattox Courthouse, where Lee surrendered. Isaac went on to co-found the village of  Unionville on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

My father fought in the Pacific theater during World War II. He didn’t talk much about his military service or the war. But I thought of him when I wrote the verse novel YOU CAN FLY: THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN, which my son Jeffery Weatherford illustrated.

On Veterans’ Day, I salute my own ancestors and all veteran who fought for freedom and democracy.

Harriet, a film on the power of faith

5 Nov

As I watched the movie, HARRIET, I felt as if my book MOSES, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, were coming to life. However, to say that the movie, or my book, was faithful to her biography would be false. Masterfully executed, the film included composite and archetypal characters, as well as dramatic episodes which were not in the 1848 narrative that Harriet dictated to Sarah Bradford. Yet, the movie was true to Harriet’s faith journey. The spirits of Harriet, of William Still and of her enslaved kin and bands of runaways were conveyed with deserved magnitude. Harriet’s courageous exploits–on the Underground Railroad and as a Civil War spy–are legendary. Though barely five feet tall, the real-life Mother Tubman was larger than any myth, any movie, or for that matter, any piece of money that may bear her portrait. May her miracles continue to inspire.

Hyped for HARRIET biopic! Opens Nov. 1

27 Oct

Harriet movie book tie in (2)

Harriet Tubman has been a hero of mine since I first heard her name while a student at Edgewood Elementary in Baltimore’s Walbrook Junction. I loved her even before I knew she hailed from Dorchester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore–just like my grandfather. So you can imagine, I’m excited about the HARRIET movie–especially since I collaborated with Kadir Nelson to tell her story in MOSES: When Harriet Tubman Led her People to Freedom.

MOSES and other children’s books can introduce young people to Mother Tubman before they see the movie. Two that most inspire me are Minty by Alan Schroeder and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney and Before She Was Harriet  a collaboration between my friends Lesa Cline Ransome and James Ransome. Harriet’s story never gets old. It’s powerful every single telling. She was that FIERCE!