In support of the global protests that are currently being held against police brutality and racism, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jason Reynolds and fellow children’s authors and activists Kwame Alexander and Jacqueline Woodson are leading the #Kidlit Rally for Black Lives, a virtual gathering of more than 25 authors, artists, and publishers. Hosted by The Brown Bookshelf, it will take place live on Thursday, June 4, beginning at 7 p.m. ET, on the blog’s Facebook page. Following a rally addressing young people in grades K–12, participants will hold another event at 7:45 p.m. geared toward gatekeepers: parents, teachers, and librarians.
In a statement, the organizers said they envision the program as a way for families and members of the children’s book community “to unite in support of Black lives, speak to children about this moment, answer their questions, and offer ideas about steps we can all take going forward.”
The lineup will feature commentary and performances by authors including Elizabeth Acevedo, Sara Ahmed, Kwame Alexander, Derrick Barnes, Samantha Berger, Martha Brockenbrough, Sarah Crossan, Chad Everett, K.A. Holt, Cheryl and Wade Hudson, Paula Chase Hyman, Jerry Craft, Denene Millner, Cornelius Minor, Christopher Myers, Vanessa Brantley Newton, Linda Sue Park, Jason Reynolds, Raúl the Third, Eric Velasquez, Renée Watson, Kip Wilson, Jacqueline Woodson, Gene Luen Yang, and more.
Internationally acclaimed author and former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Woodson said, “The young people—as always—want answers and clarity. As writers of literature for and about young people, we’ve always spoken a language they understand.”
Alexander, Newbery Medalist and founder of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Versify imprint, said, “We show our children that they have a voice and that it matters, by using ours. This is not a time for silence. Our words have never mattered more.”
Kelly Starling Lyons of The Brown Bookshelf added, “We’re all hurting and want to do something. This is a great way to show kids and families that we’re here for them.”