Today marks the debut of Tell Me Another Story, a documentary film that celebrates the movement of children’s books toward social diversity and highlights the ways in which multiculturalism is critical to the health of our society. The 30-minute film, which is available to stream for free, is produced by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation in collaboration with THE OFFICE Performing Arts + Film and features children’s literature luminaries Pat Cummings, Marley Dias, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Christopher Myers, and Andrea Davis Pinkney. Sponsors include Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group, Scholastic, Houghton Mifflin, Candlewick, and Abrams, along with the University of Southern Mississippi and the EJK Foundation.
Directed by Damani Baker, edited by Jon Henry Fine, and showcasing original music by Meshell Ndegeocello, Tell Me Another Story pays tribute to a panoply of influential children’s book creators, past and present, among them Augusta Baker, Pura Belpré, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Ezra Jack Keats, as well as Cummings, Dias, Lin, Myers, and Pinkney. The film also celebrates the contributions of renowned children’s book awards that make multiculturalism central to their mission, including the Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpré, and Ezra Jack Keats Awards.
“We made this film to highlight the giants who pioneered diverse children’s books over the last 100 years,” said Deborah Pope, executive director of the EJK Foundation. “We are thrilled to make it available to everyone, without cost, to inspire people to invest in children by providing books that will prepare them to live in harmony with each other.”
Also underscoring the significance of the documentary, Jason Reynolds, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, added, “Tell Me Another Story shines light on why the hearts of children should and can be cared for simply by painting, drawing, collaging, and of course writing them into the pages of books. This is, for me, an emotional story of how books can become crystallizers, and can help the youngest amongst us take form.”