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People of Color

First Book’s New Initiative Pledges $500K to Buying Diversity Children’s Books

The nonprofit First Book has pledged $500,000 to purchasing children’s books that feature minorities, characters of color and diversity stories.

The new ‘OMG Books’ initiative, an acronym for Offering More Great Books, will help young readers have access to stories that are relevant to their lives. Many of the kids who benefit from First Book’s services come from low-income families and neighborhoods.

Here’s more from the release: “[CEO Kyle] Zimmer stressed that her team is moving fast; the offer went out to major publishers today, and First Book intends to have proposals secured within a week…The hundreds of thousands of books First Book plans to purchase through the OMG Books program will be available through the First Book Marketplace, a website offering deeply discounted books and educational materials exclusively to schools and programs serving kids in need.”

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Toure Tackles Watermelon, Fried Chicken and Post-Blackness in New Book

In his new book, Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?, noted journalist and author Toure says he wanted to explore “what it means to be Black now.” And, no, “post-Blackness” is not the same as “post-racial.”

“Post-racial suggests a world where race does not exist and racism does not exist, and it’s a completely ridiculous term… With post-Blackness, what I’m talking about is a conception of Blackness where the identity options are infinite. So, we’re not saying THIS is what it is to be Black,” he explained in the second installment of our Media Beat interview.

“There seems to be this conception that Blackness must stay in the hood as if Blackness is milk, and the hood is the refrigerator. And the further away you get from the refrigerator, it will spoil. And you go to Yale for four years, somehow you have lost your Blackness, as opposed to if you go to jail for 10 years, your Blackness is hardened?”

In the book, he even asks noted Black academics, celebrities, and activists the best question ever (yes, I said it) about a huge stereotype: “Would you eat watermelon in a room full of white people?”

Watch the full video to find out how ?uestlove of The Roots and Rev. Jesse Jackson answered.

You can also view this video on YouTube.

Part 1: Toure Lights Up the Twittersphere with a Debate on… Tipping?

Part 3: Toure on Pitching, Getting Assignments, and That R. Kelly Interview

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn & Tom Sawyer Republished With Two Racial Slurs Removed

In February, NewSouth Books and Mark Twain scholar Alan Gribben will publish Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in a single volume, removing the  “n” word and the word “injun” from the text. The word “slave” will replace the “n” word.

Gribben told Publisher’s Weekly: “This is not an effort to render Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn colorblind … Race matters in these books. It’s a matter of how you express that in the 21st century.’” Gribben explained that this politically-correct volume can reach classrooms that previously objected to the racial slurs.

What do you think? The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal have already published essays objecting to the sanitized version.  (Via CNN)

Maya Angelou Donates Personal Papers to the New York Public Library

Renowned poet Maya Angelou has donated 300 boxes filled with her personal papers to the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Angelou had this quote in the press release: “The Schomburg is a repository of the victories and the losses of the African American experience … I am grateful that it exists so that all the children, Black and White, Asian, Spanish-Speaking, Native American, and Aleutian can know there is a place where they can go and find the truth of the peoples’ history.”

The donation contains the notes for her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and some of her most famous poems. One notable inclusion are the notes for the poem written at the request of former President Bill Clinton, On the Pulse of Morning. The video embedded above shows her reading it at Clinton’s 1993 inauguration. Several unpublished manuscripts and poems have also been included in the lot.

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Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko


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Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko is today’s featured book of the day.

Moose’s world takes a rather interesting turn when his father is relocated to guard Alcatraz Island in San Francisco. It’s an unusual life to be surrounded by con men, murderers, and hit men on a daily basis. Moose definitely doesn’t live the life of a young boy. After all, it’s not everyday that the murderer Seven Fingers helps you unclog your toilet.

Moose doesn’t think these prisoners are as bad as everyone keeps saying they are. But, the line between good and evil can be a thin one. If Moose doesn’t grasp this idea soon, he might be headed for some serious trouble.

Andromeda Klein by Frank Portman


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Today’s featured book of the day is Andromeda Klein by Frank Portman.

Teenage Andromeda Klein has a lot on her plate. For one, her secret boyfriend has officially gone missing and her best friend Daisy is dead. Her mother has suddenly learned how to send text messages and…her hair is atrocious. Life as Andromeda has known is it over.

But, there’s always room to sink even further. Strange things keep happening all around her. Books going missing in the library and all signs point to Andromeda being the culprit. When Andromeda’s tarot card readings begin to come true, she is convinced that Daisy is attempting to tell her something from the other side. Now, how exactly does she figure that out?

Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd


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Siobhan Dowd’s Bog Child is today’s featured book of the day.

Fergus and his Uncle Tally are out in the mountains digging for peat.It’s just another ordinary day…until Fergus finds something that chills him to the bone: The body of a young girl buried beneath the bog. It has to be murder.

There is so much going on in Fergus’ world as he attempts to make sense of what happened to the girl in the bog. He also needs to deal with his growing feelings for a girl, the seemingly imminent separation of his parents, and he fate of his brother in prison. It’s a whole lot for one boy to deal with. And, just as voices come to us in our dreams…so do pieces of the bog child’s murder come to Fergus.

Fat Cat by Robin Brande

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Robin Brande’s Fat Cat is today’s featured book.

Recommended for ages 12-17, Fat Cat is about a young girl named Cat. Cat isn’t exactly the skinniest girl on the block. Well, at least until she decides to perform a science experiment. Soon, with her scientific success, plus her efforts of eating healthier and walking everywhere, the pounds begin to fly off. Cat finds herself the focus of every boy who sees her. Every boy, except for the one that broke her heart.

Cat doesn’t even notice the gazes from the other boys, because she is still not over Matt McKinney. Cat focuses all her attention and efforts on avenging her broker heart. She might even turn him into her next science experiment. Will Cat be able to lick her emotional wounds before she turns into a teenage mad scientist?

Pals in Peril by MT. Anderson


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Today’s Featured Book is Pals in Peril: Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware by M.T. Anderson.

Jasper Dash is on a journey with his two best friends, Lily Gefelty and Katie Mulligan, to solve the mystery of the curse of the jaguar. The gang find themselves in a mountainous and forbidden area as they begin their great adventure.

The heroes will face many dangers and a lot of excitement, including, but not limited to, dinosaurs, lost cities, and gangsters.

Pals in Peril is narrated by Marc Cashman, who was named as “one of the best voices of the year.” So come along for the journey as Jasper attempts to complete exciting tasks throughout the forbidden territory of Delaware.

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Steward


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The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma by Trenton Lee Steward is today’s featured book of the day.

Come along for another installment of the Mysterious Benedict Society adventure. This time, Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance are on another dangerous mission, but it could split them apart from their families, friends, and even each other.

The group must search for answers after an unexplained blackout occurs in Stonetown. As the clues unravel for them, danger becomes more imminent. Will this be the last we hear of the Mysterious Benedict Society?

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