Monday, January 21, 2008


In December when I visited Montgomery, Alabama, my lovely hostess (and fellow writer) Doris Jean Peak showed me the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church where Martin Luther King pastored from 1954 – 1960.

King's quest for Civil Rights was grounded in this place.

When I think back to that day in 1968 when King was assassinated and also to the year that my public high school was racially integrated I can see that many changes have occurred in our society. But there are moments when I realize that I still live a segregated life. After all, I do work from my home in rural North Carolina. (Lots of solitude going on here!)

I try to counteract this a bit by participating in the Sojourner Truth Book Club at the Ridgeview branch of our city library system. The club focuses on diversity and the books we read always reflect a culture that differs from white anglo-saxon America. It’s a small attempt for me to see the world from a different perspective.

This book is not on our book club's list.

Not yet anyway. But I may suggest that we read it. I discovered it today via Elizabeth Bird’s blog and, based on her review, (and the author's previous work) I can’t wait to see it up close and personal.

Do visit Kadir Nelson's website. Books he's illustrated are winning a boatload of prestigious awards which he does not even brag about on his site. They include Caldecott Honor, and Coretta Scott King awards. Follow the links to his books – and tell me Martin Luther King wouldn't be proud.

And a year from now - when they're giving out more shiny seals to stick on fabulous books - be watching for Kadir Nelson's name!


  1. What a fabulous post, Joyce! I will definitely check out Kadir Nelson's work. I love your book club. When I was putting together the syllabus for my Writing Children's Lit course, I really wanted a balanced offering--men, women, different cultures. I love Christopher Paul Curtis's work, and so does my son. I hope everyone stopped at least for a moment today to really remember Dr. King's work.

  2. Ah, yes, Christopher Paul Curtis. He came to Hickory last year and is as fabulous as his books.

    Have you read Elijah of Buxton? I haven't - yet.