This week, Heartdrum begins beating; Tracy Deonn and Kwame Mbalia celebrate “Black author magic”; Heather Alexander, Laura D’Asaro, and Rose Wang have a chip-per launch; and Dovey Johnson Roundtree gets a posthumous party.

To the Beat of My Heart

In conjunction with Birchbark Books and the National Indian Education Association, HarperCollins celebrated Heartdrum, its new Native imprint, via a February 10 Crowdcast launch. More than 600 guests attended the event, which was moderated by We Need Diverse Books co-founder Ellen Oh. Heartdrum’s co-founder Cynthia Leitich Smith and fellow authors Christine Day, Dawn Quigley, and Brian Young spent an hour discussing their latest titles, what it means to be part of the imprint, and the collaboration behind the middle grade anthology Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids. Pictured (clockwise from top l.): Quigley, Day, Oh, Young, and Smith.

A Strong, Legendary Event

Last week, the Chapel Hill Public Library and Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, N.C., co-hosted a Crowdcast event featuring local authors Tracy Deonn (Legendborn, S&S/McElderry), the 2021 Coretta Scott King John Steptoe Award winner, and Kwame Mbalia (Tristan Strong series, Disney/Riordan), a 2020 Coretta Scott King Honoree. The February 11 discussion brought the two bestselling fantasy writers together to chat about worldbuilding and fandoms.

Chirp, Chirp, Hooray!

On February 16, Chirps co-founders Laura D’Asaro and Rose Wang joined their coauthor Heather Alexander (Eat Bugs: Project Startup, Penguin Workshop) for a digital launch event at Books Inc. in San Francisco. The middle grade series starter is inspired by Chirps, which gained attention on Shark Tank and promotes the sustainability of bug protein through products like cricket chips. Pictured (clockwise from top l.): D’Asaro, Wang, Books Inc.’s children’s events and book fair manager Hannah Walcher, and Alexander.

A Well-Rounded Conversation

Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C., and the DC Public Library joined forces on February 10 to celebrate late civil rights activist Dovey Johnson Roundtree, with a P&P Live! event centering two books about her that were recently published by Roaring Brook: We Wait for the Sun and Mighty Justice Young Readers’ Edition, both written by Katie McCabe. McCabe (bottom r.), Roundtree’s goddaughter Charlene Pritchett-Stevenson (top l.), and We Wait for the Sun illustrator Raissa Figueroa (bottom l.) spoke about both books and Dovey’s lasting impact. Heidi Yoon from Politics & Prose introduced the event, while Craig Ranallo, youth services librarian at the Martin Luther King main branch of the DC Public Library, served as moderator. The DC Public Library foundation gave away 50 copies of each book to guests.