Arming the Gatekeepers

The Brown Bookshelf Announces 2009 Spotlight Authors & Illustrators

The Brown Bookshelf, today, announced the twenty-four authors and four illustrators to be spotlighted in the groups’ second annual 28 Days Later initiative, a month-long celebration of veteran and emerging children’s authors of color. “Spotlighting these authors is like giving a big gift to the readers of the world,” said Brown Bookshelf member, Paula Chase Hyman. “There’s a palpable excitement when we talk about showcasing authors, some who are potentially unknown or not well known among librarians, teachers and parents.”

Once again writers, publishers and readers of children’s literature answered the groups’ call to present African American authors who may be flying under the radar of librarians and teachers. Close to one hundred names of Picture Book, Middle Grade and Young Adult authors were submitted at the Brown Bookshelf website. “Admittedly the submission pool was not as deep as this year,” said Brown Bookshelf member, Varian Johnson. “That was disappointing. But it only meant we had to dig deeper this year to identify who was out there that needed to be put in front of readers and influencers.”

The five members — Hyman, Johnson, Carla Sarratt, Don Tate and Kelly Starling Lyons — culled submitted names down to eight authors per literary category via research, speaking to booksellers and librarians and using circulation and library inventory data. “There’s something momentous about unveiling this year’s roster at the same time that we’re about to welcome an African American president who also happens to be an author,” said member Sarratt. “The time is ripe for people to embrace authors of color. So we’re excited to put these talented authors and illustrators in front of potential readers of all races.”

Member Tate will design a color 28 Days Later poster featuring the honorees. It will be available for download at

The authors, their most current book and the day they will be featured are as follows:

Authors in bold are veteran authors
Illustrators are in italics

Feb. 1 Sharon Draper 
Feb.2 Crystal Hubbard
Feb.3 Nicole Tagdell 
Feb.4 Tia Williams
Feb.5 Julius Lester 
Feb.6 Philana Marie Boles
Feb.7 Zetta Elliott
Feb.8 Angela Johnson 
Feb.9 Pat Cummings
Feb.10 Floyd Cooper 
Feb.11 Tanita S. Davis
Feb.12 Derrick Barnes
Feb.13 Brenda Woods
Feb.14 Greg Foley 
Feb.15 Joyce Hansen 
Feb.16 Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
Feb.17 London Ladd 
Feb.18 Marilyn Nelson
Feb.19 Andrea Davis Pinkney 
Feb.20 Deborah Gregory
Feb.21 Evelyn Coleman
Feb.22 Jacqueline Woodson 
Feb.23 Lesa Cline-Ransome
Feb.24 Cornelius Van Wright
Feb.25 Sherri Winston
Feb.26 Shelia P. Moses
Feb.27 Monalisa DeGross
Feb.28 Monica McKayhan