I’m joining an Annual African-American Read-In!

My book is about David Richmond, Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain and Ezelll Blair, Jr. who were students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. They sparked a series of
“sit-ins” throughout the United States, especially in the South. People of many different backgrounds joined their cause to fight for equality over the years.
Illustration by Brain Pinkney.

Have you seen that episode of Black-ish about Black History Month? You know the one…where the kids come from school at the end of February and throw away all of their school projects about black history. Their father, Dre Johnson (played by Anthony Anderson), is upset that his elementary-aged kids are getting a surface-level education about Black History Month. After taking over the school program to ensure a higher quality presentation for the students, he says, “There are so many people to talk about but 28 days isn’t long enough to contain their influence and greatness. Just like the white heroes you learn about all year long, you should be learning about these black heroes too…Black history month may be over on February 28th but that doesn’t mean we have to stop celebrating the fullness of Black achievement. We can celebrate it every day of the year and we still won’t get to all the people who deserve be included in the conversation. But that doesn’t mean I going stop trying.”

Well, me neither!

That’s why I am choosing to push hard at the end of this month to elevate — and extend the celebration — all of those before me (and you) who have been courageous leaders, thinkers and doers to shape a better world for me (and you) .



— from Sit-in: how four friends stood up by sitting down by andrea davis pickney

I am honored to have been invited to be part of celebrations this month but it is my greatest honor to read a book to children today and participate in the longstanding legacy of African American Read-Ins at an area elementary school. We have all benefited from the leadership of the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English that created African American Read-Ins almost 30 years ago! Their effort to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month continues to thrive during this month. I encourage all to help extend it throughout the school year. I will be virtually (ugh COVID-19!) hosted as a special guest (yay Google Meet!) who will read aloud a selected book written by an African American author. The goal is that all staff, students, and guest readers are reading, listening to, discussing, and celebrating the work of African American authors during that time.

As you can expect, I am thrilled to read a book that is close to my experience and upbringing as a native of Selma, Alabama. My book even mentions Atlanta, Georgia, where I live today. It is called Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney. The book celebrates four brave young men who defied an era and fought to end segregation through peaceful protest. As the story goes…”It was February 1, 1960. They didn’t need menus. Their order was simple. A doughnut and coffee, with cream on the side…Now they were ready for a big sip of freedom. A double dose of peace, with nonviolence on top. Hold the hate. Leave off the injustice.”

YOU are invited to the Virtual Closing Assembly

Join us on a live stream a virtual closing assembly today at 1:00 p.m., hosted by former Glennwood parent and host/founder of the podcast, Creative Tension, Dr. Elliott Robinson. Yours truly (that’s me!) will give a final reading and Ms. Monica Nelson, former Glennwood music teacher, who will sing the Black National Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing to wrap up our celebration. So please tune in for this special closing event! Here is the live stream link to join.

(Side note: I was invited by my mentee and former intern, Principal Holly Brookins. Recently, she not only received her doctorate but her first principalship! I met her my very first year in Atlanta! So proud to be part of her life…and her dissertation!!! CONGRATULATIONS my dear friend! I am so proud of you!)

For more books to read all year long, pick something from this great list for your little one:

Pecan Pie Baby by Jacqueline Woodson

Please, Puppy, Please by Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee

Peeny Butter Fudge by Toni Morrison and Slade Morrison

Fearless Mary, Mary Fields, American Stagecoach Driver by Tami Charles

Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea by Meena Harris

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes

I Am Enough by Grace Byers

Squirrely, Goose & the Baseball Glove Adventure by Kenyetta Obie

Firebird: Ballerina Misty Copeland Shows a Young Girl How to Dance Like the Firebird by Misty Copeland

My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete

Lily Brown’s Paintings by Angela Johnson

Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope by Nikki Grimes

Happy Black History Month today and every day of the year!

Here is the link to the Google Meet recording of our virtual assembly if you wish to share/view. Anyone who has the link should be able to view it.

Our Read-In assembly team! THANK YOU!

Blog Signup

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.