I am the lucky recipient of an SCBWI 2014 Launch Grant

blogpost_scbwiI am pleased to announce that I am the recipient of an SCBWI Launch Grant Award. The award provides two grants of $2,000 each to an author or illustrator, to be used to promote an upcoming book. As a recipient, the award will make it possible to launch my forthcoming book, POET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF GEORGE MOSES HORTON OF CHAPEL HILL (Peachtree, fall 2015), in North Carolina, right in the community where George Moses Horton once lived. The award will also allow me to take the book on tour with author Kelly Starling Lyons. The tour, tentatively entitled “Freedom Tour: Celebrating 150 Years of Emancipation and Reconstruction,” could include stops in places such as the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (OH), the National Civil War Museums (PA), the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (NYC), others. Plans are under way.

POET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF GEORGE MOSES HORTON OF CHAPEL HILL, tells the inspiring story of George Moses Horton, a young cow-boy who was enslaved on a N.C. farm, who taught himself how to read and later became the first African American to publish a book in the south.

In addition, two other books that I illustrated will be included in the tour: THE AMAZING AGE OF JOHN ROY LYNCH (Eerdmans, spring 2015), written by Chris Barton, and HOPE’S GIFT (Penguin), written by Kelly Starling Lyons. ELLEN’S BROOM, by Kelly Starling Lyons, will also join the tour.

Thank you to the SCBWI for helping to make these plans possible. And, thank you, SCBWI, for supporting diversity! POET can also be classified as a diverse title. Industry-wide, there has been a lot of talk lately about the need for more diverse books. But talk is cheap. Money is what encourages change. The SCBWI Launch Award will allow me to launch my book on a national level, especially within communities of color.