Antiracism Book Festival Set For April, Eric Carle Museum To Reopen, and More | News Bites

Ibram X. Kendi's Center Antiracist Research at Boston University is hosting its second Antiracist Book Festival, Kwame Alexander will create a poem with help from submissions; the NAACP Image Awards literary nominees were announced; and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is ready to reopen to the public in this edition of News Bites.

Ibram X. Kendi's Center Antiracist Research at Boston University is hosting its second Antiracist Book Festival, Kwame Alexander will create a poem with help from submissions; the NAACP Image Awards literary nominees were announced; and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is ready to reopen to the public in this edition of News Bites.

Antiracist Book Festival Returns in April

Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research will host its 2nd Annual National Antiracist Book Festival on Saturday, April 24. After canceling the festival last year, it returns this year, running author panels and writers workshops virtually from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Ibram X. Kendi is the founder and director of the center.

The #AntiracistBookfest “brings together, showcases, and celebrates the nation’s leading antiracist writers and helps to prepare the writers of tomorrow.” Timely and topical panels will have two authors and a moderator, and writers’ workshops for writers will be led by book editors and literary agents.

The author lineup includes Black Lives Matter cofounder Alicia Garza (The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart), Carole Lindstrom (We Are Water Protectors), Celeste Ng (Little Fires Everywhere), ESPN senior writer Howard Bryant (Full Dissidence: Notes from an Uneven Playing Field), Kendi (Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You), congresswoman Ilhan Omar (This is What America Looks Like: My Journey from Refugee to Congresswoman), Jacqueline Woodson (Before the Ever After), Jason Reynolds (Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You), Tiffany Jewell (This Book is Antiracist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work), and Tommy Orange (There There).

Tickets to panels can be purchased individually for $10. An all-access ticket is $250 and gives buyers access to all panels and writers’ workshops, along with a tote bag and limited edition copy of Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning. All proceeds from ticket sales will go towards the work of the BU Center for Antiracist Research.

Kwame Alexander To Create Poem from Submissions

Kwame Alexander has partnered with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Civil Rights Memorial Center to produce “ A Community Poem,” a new exhibit that will be featured inside the museum when it reopens.

People can submit an original poem about racial justice and human rights. The poems should be inspirational or informational. According to instructions, “It should either honor or recognize the civil rights movement—past or present; encourage people to think about social injustices; document current civil and human rights issues; envision a better future for our country; or some combination of each.”

Alexander will select lines from multiple submissions and combine them into one single poem, which will be displayed on a digital screen in the final gallery of the Civil Rights Memorial Center and posted on the SPLC website.

Anyone living in the United States can submit a poem for consideration. Submission deadline is Wednesday, March 10.

NAACP Image Awards Announce Nominees

The NAACP Image Awards nominees were released. In Outstanding Literary Work for Children, the nominees are I Promise by LeBron James and Nina Mata; Just Like a Mama by Alice Faye Duncan and Charnelle Pinkney Barlow; Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice by Nikki Grimes, illus. by Laura Freeman; She Was the First!: The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm by Katheryn Russell-Brown, illus. by Eric Velasquez; and The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver by Gene Barretta, illus. by Frank Morrison.

The nominees for Oustanding Literary Work for Youth/Teens are: Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson; Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes; Dear Justyce by Nic Stone; Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi; and Ruby Bridges This Is Your Time by Ruby Bridges.

Winners will be announced on March 27.

Brittney Cooper To Publish Seven Books with Scholastic

Author, activist, scholar, and cultural critic Brittney Cooper signed a seven-book deal with Scholastic, which will publish three picture books and a four-book middle grade series that celebrate Cooper’s “mission to empower Black and brown children to value their own strengths.”

The first title, Stand Up: 10 Mighty Women Who Made a Change!, will profile historic and contemporary Black women and will be released on March 1, 2022. It will be illustrated by acclaimed artist Cathy Ann Johnson.

The middle grade series, “The Bees,” will publish in late 2022.

New Summer Reading Challenge

Beanstack and Thorndike Press from Gale have partnered for a new national K12 summer reading challenge. Level Up is sponsored by billionaire entrepreneur and NBA owner Mark Cuban, who is providing cash prizes.

Thorndike will give winners titles from its large pring collection. Schools can win cash prizes, book collections, or a virtual visit from Newbery award-winning author Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Jewell Parker Rhodes, Kwame Mbalia, or Meg Medina.

There is no cost to participate, but schools must register. The reading challenge runs June 1 through July 15.

The Carle Reopens

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA, will reopen to the public on Thursday, March 11. The museum will follow state guidelines, including capacity limits, masks, social distancing. Visitors can reserve morning or afternoon tickets. 

To coincide with the reopening, the museum will debut a new exhibit, "Picture the Dream: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement through Children's Books." This exhibition examines the events, people, and themes of the civil rights movement as told through picture books.

On Saturday, March 13, the museum will open "On the Move with Eric Carle," an exploration of travel by land, sea, and sky. There is also a new Reading Library book exhibition, "Little Books, Big Feelings."

Meanwhile, the online programs continue at

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