12 - 15 April 2021
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Black Book Matters: African American Words and Colors

With a view to promoting the importance of diversity in children’s books, this special focus on African American literature and illustration (April 1st – Sala Concerto, 3 pm) features a panel of experts, artists and authors whose work, pages and pictures open up to the representation of African American life and culture: Rudine Sims Bishop, Author and Professor Emerita at Ohio State University (USA); Christopher "Chris" Myers , Author and Illustrator (USA); Claudette McLinn , Chair of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee (USA); Ekua Holmes , Author and Illustrator (USA); Joshunda Sanders, Journalist and Author (USA); Nikki Grimes , Author and Poet (USA). Leonard S. Marcus, Critic and Historian of Children's Literature (USA), will coordinate the talk.



The event will pair with the exhibition Our Voice: Celebrating the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, organized by the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) of Abilene, Texas. The exhibition, on display at the Mall 2 Area, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Award, one of the most important recognitions in the field of children’s literature, given annually by the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee of the American Library Association to African American authors and artists whose works and outstanding talent have enriched the field of children’s literature.



Entitled to Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King, the Award and Exhibition recount African American life and culture through the works of over 30 among major African American artists. This is the largest and most comprehensive presentation of Coretta Scott King illustrator winners and honorees ever collected to date, showcasing  art from 100 of the 108 winning books.



The works on display are all different from one another, both in terms of artistic techniques as well as of narration; featuring historic figures including Josephine Baker, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Langston Hughes, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks, made with techniques of collage, oil painting, watercolour, photography and ceramics: a true excursus into the African-American imagination, completing the intense debate animated by the BCBF panel.