Tune in to watch Jewell Parker Rhodes and Brandy Colbert discuss their latest middle grade novels, Black Brother, Black Brother and The Only Black Girls in Town, with educator host Cyndi Giorgis.
Meet the Authors & Host
Jewell Parker Rhodes is the author of Ninth Ward, winner of a Coretta Scott King Honor, Sugar, winner of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and the New York Times-bestselling Ghost Boys. She has also written many award-winning novels for adults. When she’s not writing, Jewell visits schools to talk about her books and teaches writing at Arizona State University.
Brandy Colbert is the critically acclaimed author of the novels Pointe, Finding Yvonne, and Stonewall Award winner Little & Lion. Born and raised in Springfield, Missouri, she now lives and writes in Los Angeles.
Cyndi Giorgis is a Professor of Literacy Education at Arizona State University where she teaches courses in children’s literature and early childhood education. She is a frequent conference speaker and workshop presenter. Cyndi is the co-author of the 8th edition of Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook. She posts a #ReadAloudoftheDay at her website cyndigiorgis.com and @cyndigiorgis on social media.
From award-winning and bestselling author, Jewell Parker Rhodes comes a powerful coming-of-age story about two brothers, one who presents as white, the other as black, and the complex ways in which they are forced to navigate the world, all while training for a fencing competition.Framed. Bullied. Disliked. But I know… Read More
From award-winning YA author Brandy Colbert comes a debut middle-grade novel about the only two Black girls in town who discover a collection of hidden journals revealing shocking secrets of the past. Beach-loving surfer Alberta has been the only Black girl in town for years. Alberta's best friend, Laramie, is… Read More
For decades, I wrote for adults trying to become good enough to write for the most important audience in the world—youth. I always try to affirm children’s resilience, strength, empathy, and intelligence.
Middle grade is especially challenging as youth make the passage from childhood to young adulthood. My own middle years were difficult. (Sometimes I think I’m “rewriting” my own history through characters inspired by today’s amazing youth.) Most importantly, I’m providing diverse mirrors and a “safe place” for students to discuss critical issues about identity, social injustice, family, and friendship. Words are powerful; books open hearts and minds.
We live in tense, unsettling, and disruptive times. Social equity issues, climate change, and the current spread of the coronavirus, in particular, affects us all. Youth are desperate to discuss conflicts and for opportunities to develop critical thinking skills and empathy. Characters become a conduit for them to explore ideas, feelings and, perhaps, more importantly, to discuss with classmates, teachers, and parents, ways to become empowered and make their future better and brighter.