Monday, July 19, 2010

Harlem Book Fair 2010

The 2010 Harlem Book Fair took place this past weekend at the NYPL Schomburg Branch

If you missed it, some of the events are archived on C-SPAN's Book TV.

The most important message from the panel discussions for librarians, teachers and parents was that if we want to see an increase in quality youth materials, representative of peoples of African descent and their history and culture, then we must SEEK OUT these materials at book fairs, libraries, and book stores; PURCHASE these materials and DEMAND that our SCHOOL LIBRARIES and CLASSROOMS contain these materials. These materials are not just for African American youth but contain universal themes for all readers. To prepare our youth for a diverse world, we have to provide them with materials that reflect that diversity.

The Program included some very stimulating and revealing panel discussions of interest to librarians and teachers. I have included both the descriptions and links to the archived videos.:


Complete Saturday program

Of particular interest

White and Whatever: Diversity in Children’s & Young Adult Book Publishing

The United States is an extremely diverse nation. But books for children and young adults hardly reflect that diversity. Only a small percentage of the books published every year are written and or illustrated by people of color. Many of these don’t make it to the market place. Why, in 2010, when the nation has elected its first African American president, is the book publishing industry still not meeting the need and demand for books that explore the width and breathe of our country’s multicultural experiences? This panel will explore the complex issues and suggest solutions to a problem that is garnering a lot of attention.

MODERATOR: Wade Hudson, Publisher, Just Us Books

PANELISTS: Jerry Craft, Mamma's Boyz; Zetta Elliott, Bird; Cheryl Willis Hudson, My Friend Maya Loves to Dance; Vanesse Lloyd Sgambati, Publicist; Director, African American Children's Book Project

From Digital Divide to Digital Inequality: Bridging the Market-driven Literacy Gap

The advent of digital technology has redefined the very scope of literacy. While African American literacy rates are statistically on par with national averages, the advent of the market-driven digital age threatens timely access to information to the most economically disparaged...less a 'digital divide' than a 'information access' divide. Inequality of bandwidth; autonomy of use; skills level; quality of support; and purpose (whether the Internet is used for increase of economic productivity and improvement of social capital or for consumption and entertainment) are the current pressing concerns. These authors believe that visual representation is the one critical element that will balance the impact of these emerging issues and drive a new generation of readers successfully into this brave, new world.

MODERATOR: John Jennings, Black Comix: African American Independent Comics, Art and Culture (Mark Batty Publisher/Random)

PANELISTS: Damian Duffy, Out of Sequence: Underrepresented Voices in American Comics (Krannert Art Museum), Dawud Anyabwile, Brotherman; Alex Simmons, DarkJACK; Gregory Walker, ZM1


  1. Anonymous10:35 AM

    I am so happy that a discussion about African American literature took place. I am an ordinary citizen who loves to read and write. My mother is 68 years old and disabled. She writes beautiful short stories to keep herself occupied. When I watched the Harlem Book Fair discussion, I was not surprised to know that African American childrens' books are usually not on the shelves of certain book stores.

  2. Thanks so much for writing about our panels, and for providing the links to the videos on C-Span. I was honored to be one of the panelists, especially as an independent author/publisher.
    Jerry Craft
    Graphic Novel: Mama's Boyz: The Big Picture