January is always exciting to me because I get to count down to the start of a new literary season.
It is also exciting because there are lots of debuts being announced, many of them in YA.
The other big part of January for me is that it is my reading time, when I get to pick. up a few titles that resonate with me that keep me informed as a reading advocate.
I am on Instagram – Bookstagram as it is noted – and have had the pleasure of discovering authors, connecting with them, and seeing the images of so many people reading.
My primary work and research centers Black women writers, stories, and bookstore owners. There are plenty on that platform and plenty who are leading the imagination in YA Afrofuturist writing.
I decided to make it a challenge, then, to find out what’s new and what is in the stacks at local libraries and bookstores. That is what I am challenging literary circle members and alumni to do, go and visit the stores.
In Connecticut and in Brooklyn, there are a couple libraries that have made it their mission to combat book bans in school and speak out against whitewashing history, eliminating African American studies, and targeted erasure of ethnic stories in schools.
One of the things I’ve learned in over the decade of doing this work is that the words will prevail.
Despite school boards and book banning parents who operate in fear to publishing houses that refuse to be fair to the editors, managers, and publishers, despite all that, the words will find a way to be read.
What is your favorite library?
What is your favorite bookstore?
What literary festival are you looking forward to attending?
Here’s my current list
- The Schomburg Center for African American Research in Harlem is a treasure
- The Boston Public Library is absolutely breathtaking
- The St.Louis Public Library, St. Louis County Library, and Kirkwood Public Library remain favorites
- The Ferguson Library in Stamford, Connecticut
- The Branford Public Library in Branford, Connecticut
- The New York Public Library
- Kindred Thoughts Bookstore in Bridgeport, Connecticut
- Baldwin & Co. Bookstore in New Orleans, Louisiana
- Mahogany Books in Washington DC and Maryland
- Uncle Bobbie’s Bookstore and Café in Philadelphia
What would you add to the list?