Call for Submissions: We Need You

Get ready to rep your favorites. It’s that time. The submissions window has officially opened for the sixth annual 28 Days Later campaign, a Black History Month celebration of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels written and illustrated by African Americans. We will take nominations today through November 2.

Over the past five years, we have proudly saluted 140 black authors and illustrators through our signature initiative. But there are so many more who deserve to be showcased.

That’s where you come in. Help us identify under-the-radar and vanguard African-American children’s book authors and illustrators we should consider profiling. Let us know who we should check out so we can give them the praise they’ve earned.

After the submissions window closes, we’ll research the names you’ve submitted and our internal nominations. Then, we’ll choose the stand outs who will be the next class of 28 Days Later honorees. The celebration of their work begins February 1.

Our mission is to “push awareness of the myriad of African American voices writing for young readers.” Too often, these authors and illustrators go unsung. With 28 Days Later, we put these talents in front of the folks who can get their books into the hands of kids – librarians, teachers, parents and booksellers among others.

Nominate your favorites in the comments section. Anyone can nominate. Publishers may nominate their authors. Authors may self-nominate. Please note that we do not accept nominations of self-published authors. You can check out who we’ve featured in the past here, here, here and here. If you could make sure your nominee hasn’t already been featured, that would be a great help.

Spread the word and nominate often. With your support, we can make a difference. Thank you for helping us salute children’s book creators of color.

66 thoughts on “Call for Submissions: We Need You

    1. Thank you, Beverly! He’s a great candidate for our vanguard category. I’m looking forward to reading Each Kindness. Jacqueline Woodson is one of our past honorees.

    1. Thank you, Malaika! We do try to include black authors throughout the Diaspora whose works are widely available in the U.S. Your books look wonderful.

  1. What a superb web site with such an inspirational purpose. I’m nominating Marilyn Nelson, author of A wreath for Emmet Till, Carver, Bones, and many more wonderful works. Or has she been nominated beore?
    Peae and Blessings
    Eleanora E. Tate

  2. I nominate the amazing illustrator, Elizabeth Zunon — My Hands Sing The Blues – Romare Bearden’s Childhood Journey, The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, Lala Salama: A Tanzanian Lullaby, and A President from Hawaii. Yes, I’m biased because I wrote My Hands Sing the Blues, her first picture book, but she truly is an incredibly talented illustrator who deserves to be recognized.

  3. I nominate Vaunda Michaux Nelson and R. Gregory Christie who created Bad News for Outlaws and No Crystal Stair.

    And I second the nomination of E.B. Lewis! Lovely art in Each Kindness (as always in his work).

    1. Thanks so much for your nominations. Vaunda was one of our honorees in 2009. Here’s her profile: We’ll definitely add R. Gregory Christie to our list of contenders. Incredible work. I just remembered that we featuerd E.B. Lewis in our 2011 campaign. Here’s his profile: He’s an amazing artist. Just read Each Kindness. Wow.

  4. I nominate Ansel Pitcairn for his amazing illustrations in ‘Portraits of African-American Heroes’ . It was published a few years ago by Dutton Children’s Books. Jennifer M.

  5. I don’t think you’ve profiled Kwame Alexander before, have you? We love his ACOUSTIC ROOSTER at our school and his work promoting writers and great literature is awesome.

  6. Ha! I posted before I went back to check to see if you’d featured him. And then you responded before I got back. So my next one was gonna be Vanessa Brantley Newton, whose work I am in love with, but you’ve already featured her too! Hmm. Gonna keep thinking.

    1. LOL. Just happened to still be logged in when your comment posted. We love Vanessa’s work too. Thanks so much for thinking of folks to nominate. Appreciate your support.

  7. Sean Qualls!! Sean Qualls!!! I just love his work. It’s amazing. How many people can we pick?? I have another artist that I would like to include if at all possible. Christian Robinson. He and Rene Watson just did a beautiful book together called, ” Harlem’s Little Blackbird.
    This is awesome.

  8. I nominate mother-daughter team Alice and Caroline Randall; I think they’re new to the kidlit world but have such an interesting history, and their first middle grade novel, The Diary of B.B. Bright, Possible Princess, is out now.

  9. I nominate James Ransome, a wonderful illustrator and his wife, Lisa Cline Ransome, childdren’s book writer.

  10. I nominate Nalo Hopkinson, for her recent YA novel, The Chaos
    (she also has a history as a vanguard author in adult science fiction/fantasy).

  11. You all have done such a fantastic job of covering Black writers that span the ages for children that it’s difficult to think of more! BUT!! You know I have a few 🙂 I don’t think I saw Zetta Elliott, Dream Jordan or Julius Lester. Brian F. Walker, Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams are newbies but have real staying power.

    I’d really love to hear 50 Cent talk about Playground! It really is a good book and worthy of attention. 50 Cent has written quite a bit!

  12. I would like to nominate illustrator, Adjoa Burrowes. She has written and illustrated several children’s books throughout the years including GRANDMA’S PURPLE FLOWERS and DESTINY’S GIFT. There are not that many Black women that are illustrators in the industry and it seems they do get passed by. Adjoa’s images are refreshing, colorful, and meaningful.

  13. I nominate Becky Birtha, author of “Grandmama’s Pride”, which is illustrated by Colin Bootman. Also I’d like to request that you put together a searchable database of all your past featured authors/illustrators. As the years go by and the lists grow it is getting so hard to figure out who’s already been covered! Don’t you think that would be a FABULOUS resources for everyone all year round???

    1. Thank you for the great nomination! Wonderful suggestion about the searchable database. We do have a search feature in the right column under sponsors. You can search all of our posts that way. But it would be wonderful to have a searchable database just for 28 Days Later. Thanks for the idea.

  14. I have a new nomination!

    I just learned at a publisher preview that Alaya Dawn Johnson (who writes fantasy for adults) is putting out her first YA, The Summer Prince, set in a magical/futuristic Brazil. It comes out in March 2013

    The other is Sherri L. Smith–yes, I know she was featured back in 2008. But her new book is a major departure from her previous contemporary and historical work–it’s dystopian SF set in New Orleans! The novel Orleans is also out in March 2013.

    1. Thank you, Erin! We appreciate you letting us know about Alaya Dawn Johnson. Since we’ve already showcased Sherri, we can’t feature her in 28 Days Later again. But we can certainly consider her for a post when her book debuts.

    1. Thanks so much for your nomination. The theme of David’s book sounds great. But at this time, The Brown Bookshelf does not consider nominations of self-published authors for our 28 Days Later campaign.

  15. I would like to nominate my wife’ children’s book for consideration. Lozetta Hayden is married with three sons and one daughter. She currently resides in New Castle, Delaware and is an educational consultant & motivational speaker. Over the last 25 years, she has served children in the roles of mentor, counselor, home-school provider, daycare owner, foster parent and teacher. Her belief that “you must captivate to motivate” and that children have an innate desire to learn, serves as a platform for all she does.

  16. I’m not sure if my publisher submitted my new picture book, so I’d like to put my name in the pool: Renée Watson, Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills.

  17. Maybe too late, but I wanted to nominate a recent book from our small indie-press.
    It’s called Didn’t We Have Fun! The 48-page picture book features the paintings of Hilda Robinson, an African-American artist who grew up in Philadelphia.
    You can see a few of the images at
    It’s a a vibrant, colorful look at African-American family life and culture, seen through the eyes of a celebrated artist.
    Best wishes,
    Philip Martin, Editor
    Crickhollow Books
    Milwaukee, WI

  18. Hello Brown Bookshelf!

    I would like to share with you a few details regarding a fantastic new children’s picture book written especially for little girls between the ages of 2 and 10!! Here’s the synopsis:

    Bryana’s Biggest Wish is a one-of-kind adventure set in the magical and colorful Bantu forest. Bryana, an adorable and kind-hearted fairy, embarks on a quest to grant the biggest wish anyone has ever seen. As she encounters those in need, she uses her powers to believe, give, imagine, create and hope. In the end, Bryana discovers that the biggest wish of all is love. Bryana’s Biggest Wish is a beautifully illustrated introduction to life lessons that every child will remember.

    BELIEVE. In dreaming bigger, never giving up and standing in the face of adversity.

    GIVE. To those who need and bring a smile to those who need comforting.

    IMAGINE. A magical place where little girls are empowered to change the world.

    CREATE. Real-life lessons based on spiritual principles and human compassion.

    HOPE. That ALL of our children learn to read books that promote diversity, cultural sensitivity and self-awareness.

    LOVE. Is the greatest gift of all!

  19. I’d like to nominate Liara Tamani. Her book is a YA novel titled Calling My Name. For an illustrator, Vashti Harrison, Little Leaders: bold women in black history

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