Meet The Amplify Black Stories Storytellers – Day 2

Today features the second set of storytellers in our Amplify Black Stories program.

Remember, our storytellers work can be purchased at  THE LITERARY CAFE – BOOKS & EVENTS Bookstore Amplify Black Stories Book List, curated by The African American Children’s Book Project. 

Headshots of Black creatives in Amplify Black Stories program


Debbie Ann Taylor is an author of picture books, including SWEET MUSIC IN HARLEM and OVER IN MOTOWN. “Children need books that satisfy and fortify them and that will challenge and empower them. My books can also help children recognize their unique gifts and allow readers to realize their own value and power.” 

Dinah Johnson is the author of picture books including BLACK MAGIC and QUINNIE BLUE. “…I want my books, actively, to inspire children to think about the ways in which they will be thoughtful people who uphold their families, communities, and world.” 

Hasani Claxton is a visual artist, author, and educator whose artwork has been exhibited throughout the US and in the Caribbean, including the National Gallery of Jamaica. “I am a single father of two young girls and I became extremely frustrated with the lack of children’s books with Black lead characters. This inspired me to write those stories myself.”  

Janae Marks is the middle-grade author of the critically acclaimed novel FROM THE DESK OF ZOE WASHINGTON and the forthcoming novel A SOFT PLACE TO LAND. “I want to continue telling stories about contemporary Black girls so they can feel represented in the books they read. In some ways, I write for my childhood self, since I never really saw myself books back then.” 

Judy Allen Dodson is a librarian, archivist, and children’s book author whose most recent title is ESCAPE FROM HURRICANE KATRINA. “I want Black children to see themselves in books and know that they too can aspire to be great. I also want children from all cultures to see Black people living and being in everyday situations so that they know that we are human and that our lives matter.” 


Amplify Black Stories is a living commitment to the Brown Bookshelf’s 2020 kidlit industry Call to Action.  It’s a partnership initiative between The Brown Bookshelf and the Highlights Foundation to empower Black kid lit creatives with resources and community; and promote publisher-collaborations to craft detailed actionable programs of support for Black kid lit creatives. See a full description of the program. 

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