Category Archives: Books

“The Ballerina’s Little Black Book”

Brown Girls Do Ballet is an organization dedicated to encouraging the next Misty Copeland by bringing more diversity to the area of classical ballet. They mentor, assist and encourage young girls of color who express an interest in the art form.

BGDB has an Instagram account you can follow to keep up with the organization’s good works that has some frickin amazing photographs.

The co-founders, Brittani Marie and TaKiyah Wallace, have also compiled a book, available for pre-sale now. The book consists of stories by Misty Copeland and other WOC involved in classical ballet. From the website:

With over 90,000 fans, countless ballerina interviews and more, Brown Girls Do Ballet® has identified the missing strand to diversifying this classical performing art: a resource that speaks to their identity. The Ballerina’s Little Black Book compiles a wealth of stories, advice and training information directly from the women who are breaking down barriers. Aspiring ballerinas can read messages from famed dancers like Aesha Ash, Alicia Graf Mack and even a personal message from none other than Misty Copeland.

Filled with wisdom, solutions, and powerful visuals, The Ballerina’s Little Black Book is the ultimate handbook for ballerinas of color.

Continue reading “The Ballerina’s Little Black Book”

#1000BlackGirlBooks Marley Dias represents on The Nightly Show

Remember how I wrote about Marley Dias, the young sister who got fed up with reading books about white guys and their dogs? She reached her goal to gather 1000 books with black girl protagonists and in celebration visited Larry Whilmore on The Nightly Show.


I have a feeling this will not the last time we write about this dynamic gal.

People’s Choice Awards honor WOC in books

Bet you didn’t know that The People’s Choice Awards had categories for books! Yes we are talking about the same PCAs that are televised on TV every year and spark life-or-death voting wars between fandoms. This year they added several categories for your favorite reads.

Comedienne Mindy Kaling, best known for being the creator and star of Hulu’s The Mindy Project took home an award for Best Non-Fiction for her laugh out loud collection of essays Why Not Me?.

In the favorite fantasy category, Sabaa Tahir won for her highly regarded An Ember in the Ashes. This is a book that has also won the prizes for Amazon’s Best Young Adult Book of 2015 and Bustle’s Best Young Adult Book of 2015. The book chronicles the story of young slave and a young soldier as they fight oppression in a world similar to ancient Rome.

Congratulations to both ladies for their wins!

Radio Imagination: a year long celebration of Octavia Butler

“I have the kind of imagination that hears. I think of it as radio imagination.”
-Octavia E. Butler

It’s been ten long years since we lost one of the most imaginative people ever to write in the science fiction genre, Octavia E. Butler. The mark this milestone LA based arts organization Clockshop will be kicking off a year long celebration of her life and work. Dubbed “Radio Imagination” from the quote above, the celebration will kick off on February 27th with a FREE (with RSVP) launch party at ClockShop headquarters

Each month for the rest of the year has an event scheduled. There will be a tour of Octavia’s native Pasadena, including her childhood home and her grave site, an exhibition of art works inspired by her work and a discussion of “radical reproduction” focusing on her story Bloodchild among other events. They will even screen the movie that Octavia credited as her anti-muse, Devil Girl from Mars. As Octavia said:

“It’s impossible to begin to talk about myself and the media without going back to how I wound up writing science fiction, and that is by watching a terrible movie. The movie was called, “Devil Girl from Mars,” and I saw it when I was about 12 years old, and it changed my life… As I was watching this film, I had a series of revelations. The first was that ‘Geez, I can write a better story than that.’ And then I thought, ‘Gee, anybody can write a better story than that.’ And my third thought was the clincher: ‘Somebody got paid for writing that awful story.’ So I was off and writing, and a year later I was busy submitting terrible pieces of fiction to innocent magazines.”

Makes you want to run out and rent a copy, doesn’t it? Actually I sympathize, I read an awful fan fiction and thought “I can do better,” so I started writing. So far I have shown no Octavia Bulter-type genius though. Sigh.

The complete calendar can be found here. Hopefully you can get out to LA and participate sometime during the year.


11-year-old Marley Dias was sick of reading books about white boys and their dogs. Specifically Where the Red Fern Grows and the Shiloh series. (Editorial comment: They were reading this shit when I was in school and I’m nearly 53 years old! No wonder the poor kid is sick of it.) When she complained to her mother about it, her mother gave the best reply, “What are you going to do about it?”

Marley decided to hold a book drive. “I told her I was going to start a book drive, and a specific book drive, where black girls are the main characters in the book and not background characters or minor characters.”

#1000BlackGirlBooks began it’s drive in November and they already have around 400 books. Marley is looking to collect 1000 books by February 1st. You can send your donation to to 59 Main St., West Orange, N.J., 07052, Office 323.

Marley is working with her mother’s organization GrassROOTS Community Foundation on the drive. On Feb. 11, she’ll travel to her mom’s hometown, St. Mary, Jamaica, to host a book festival and give the books to schools and libraries.

This is not Marley’s first social project. Last year, Marley won a Disney Friends for Change grant to teach girls how to tap into their talents at a youth empowerment camp and gave food to orphans in Ghana. She also regularly serves food at a soup kitchen with two of her peers as a part of their nonprofit, BAM, which stands for the first letter in the three girls’ names — Briana, Amina and Marley.

This 11 year old is making me feel like a slacker!

Scholastic pulls Happy Slave book from distribution. But who thought this was a good idea?

Warning: This post will probably make you all ragey. is not responsible for any rooms you may trash as a result.

Scholastic publishing house, the people who gave us Harry Potter and too-many-to-count school book fairs have been forced to pull the book A Birthday Cake for George Washington from distribution because of the uproar over the book’s depiction of slaves happily serving their master.

“…we believe that, without more historical background on the evils of slavery than this book for younger children can provide, the book may give a false impression of the reality of the lives of slaves and therefore should be withdrawn.”

Continue reading Scholastic pulls Happy Slave book from distribution. But who thought this was a good idea?

NAACP Image Award Nominations have been announced

The NAACP announced their Image Award nominations yesterday and Empire, Black-ish and Creed dominated.

The Entertainer of the Year category has interesting nominations. I am glad to see them expand the category to include some power house producer Shonda Rimes and ballet dancer Misty Copeland. I’m also rooting like a crazy person for Nicole Beharie in the Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series category as an In Your Face to the producers and writers of Sleepy Hollow who have used and abused their WOC lead.

I will confess that I am surprised that Rihanna is not on the list for her voice over in Home since she is on the list for a People’s Choice Award.

The 47th NAACP Image Awards will be telecast live from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on TV One on Feb. 5. Anthony Anderson will host.

Here’s the complete list of nominees:

Continue reading NAACP Image Award Nominations have been announced

Finally, A Wizard of Earthsea is drawn as a brown man

Those of you who follow SciFi and Fantasy are probably aware of Ursula K. Le Guin. For those who don’t, she is a highly influential writer who incorporates considerable cultural diversity in her writing.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who follows this blog that Ms. Le Guin has had a huge problem with her multi-cultural work consistently getting whitewashed. Her most famous work, The Earthsea series, features a wizard named Ged who is clearly described in the books as being Native American in appearance and yet this is how he was portrayed on TV:

Continue reading Finally, A Wizard of Earthsea is drawn as a brown man

Ms. Magazine lists 7 Chicana Feminist Authors You Should be Reading

For those of us who are interested in feminist authors of color, Ms has listed 7 Hispanic women you should check out.

The author of the piece, Gisselli Rodriguez describes the feeling of finding an author who spoke to her as a Chicana:

As a young Chicana/Xicana, I probably read fewer than a handful of Latino/a authors throughout grade school. With a lack of representation came a sense of lost identity—which was followed by a need to assimilate. It wasn’t until I picked up Borderlands by Gloria Anzaldua that I had an “oh shit!” moment, when my identity as a Chicana womyn began to make sense. During the reading of this profound book, I actually allowed myself to love myself from who I am, color and all.

The power of a good book to touch lives is very profound and it’s important that everyone, regardless of race or gender, find that one book opens up their mind.

To see the list, go here.

Quvenzhané Wallis, movie star and Oscar nominee adds Author to her resume

Feel like you haven’t accomplished anything in your life? Well if you compare yourself to 12 year old Quvenzhané Wallis, you probably haven’t. The kid has starred in Beasts of the Southern Wild, 12 Years a Slave, and Annie. She’s been nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for Beasts of the Southern Wild, the youngest person ever nominated no less. She’s also been nominated for a Golden Globe for Annie. And now, as if you didn’t feel inferior enough, she’ll be adding published author to her scarily impressive list of accomplishments.

The little over-achiever will be writing a series of four books based on her life. Yeah you read that right, she’s not sticking to a single book, she going to do four of them. One book will be a picture book that follows a young girl as she gets ready for an awards show (talk about writing what you know!) The other books will be chapter books aimed at the 6 and up crowd about a young girl with a flair for the dramatic. The books will be out during fall 2017 and summer 2018.

According to Quvenzhané:

“Reading is very important. It allows people to form a visual experience in their minds of what is going on in the story. I hope all readers enjoy using their imaginations along with me and take a journey into my books.”

Oh, in case you can’t pronounce her name (like me) here you go:

I suggest we all learn to pronounce her name before she takes over the world. Kwah-ven-zsa-nay, repeat as necessary.