Saluting the Unsung

The Brown Bookshelf Announces 2010 Spotlight Authors & Illustrators

Today, The Brown Bookshelf announced the twenty-four authors and four illustrators to be spotlighted in the groups’ third annual 28 Days Later initiative, a month-long celebration of veteran and emerging children’s authors of color. “Recognizing these authors and illustrators is as important now as it was when we began the initiative in 2007,” said Brown Bookshelf member, Varian Johnson. “Like many industries, publishing has felt the recession’s crunch. So it’s no surprise that it would also adversely affect authors of color. We remain committed to beating the drum so word spreads about African American authors that focus their work on children’s literature.”

When submissions opened in September, readers and writers of children’s literature stepped up to suggest names of African American authors they felt were flying under the radar of librarians, teachers and parents. “Although a percentage of nominees are repeats or have already been honored in our last two campaigns, we’re discovering a handful of gems that few readers know about, every year,” said member, Don Tate. “I have mixed feelings every time I see a name I’m unfamiliar with. On one hand it’s wonderful to know there are that many folks out there published in the children’s lit arena. On the other, you wonder – why hadn’t I heard of them?”

Once the Brown Bookshelf membership (now six strong with the addition of Middle Grade author, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Picture Book author, Tameka Fryer Brown) received the names, it was no easy task to cull them down to only four illustrators and eight authors per category. “There’s so much talent among the candidates nominated. It’s a struggle to not give in and say, let’s showcase all of them,” said new member, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich. “I’ve followed 28 Days Later annually, and I can honestly say this year’s selections are as deserving as previous years. I’m honored to have been part of the process.”

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

This year, a copy of each featured author/illustrator’s work will be donated to Color Online, a community organization dedicated to empowering young women. Color Online operates a library and offers support to young girls at local non-profits in Detroit.

The authors, their most current book and the day they will be featured are as follows:
Vanguard authors in bold.
Illustrators in italics.

Feb. 1 – Marguerite Abouet (YA) AYA: The Secrets Come Out
Feb. 2 – AG Ford – (PB) Michelle
Feb. 3 – Kekla Magoon – (MG) The Rock & The River
Feb. 4 – Sharon Flake – (YA) Begging For Change
Feb. 5 – Natasha Tarpley – (PB) The Princess and the Frog: Princess Tiana and the Royal Ball
Feb. 6 – Dwayne Ferguson – (MG) Kid Caramel Series
Feb. 7 – Bernette Ford – (PB) Ballet Kitty: Play Book
Feb. 8 – Yasmin Shiraz – (YA) Retaliation
Feb. 9 – Shadra Strickland – (PB) A Place Where Hurricanes Happen
Feb. 10 – Sandra Belton – (MG) The Tallest Tree
Feb. 11 – Debbie Rigaud – (YA) Perfect Shot
Feb. 12 – Tony Medina – (PB) I and I, Bob Marley
Feb. 13 – Sharon Bell Mathis – (MG ) The Hundred Penny Box
Feb. 14 – Christine Taylor-Butler – (MG) Sacred Mountain
Feb. 15 – Tonya Hegamin – (YA) Pemba’s Song: A Love Story
Feb. 16 – Eric Velasquez – (PB) My Friend Maya Loves to Dance
Feb. 17 – Dinah Johnson – (PB) Black Magic
Feb. 18 – M. LaVora Perry – (MG) Taneesha Never Disparaging
Feb. 19 – Freddi Williams Evans – (PB) Hush Harbor
Feb. 20 – Janet McDonald – (YA) Off-Color
Feb. 21 – Jerdine Nolen – (PB) Pitching in for Eubie
Feb. 22- Jaimee Adoff – (YA) The Death of Jayson Porter
Feb. 23 – Cozbi Cabrera – (PB) Most Loved in all the World
Feb. 24 – Nikki Grimes– (MG) Rich: A Dyamonde Daniel Book
Feb. 25 – Martin Mordecai – (MG) Blue Mountain Trouble
Feb. 26 – Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard – (PB) Virgie Goes to School With Us Boys
Feb. 27 – Denene Millner & Mitzi Miller- (YA) Hotlanta Series
Feb. 28 – Charles R. Smith, Jr. – (PB) Dance With Me