PPGJLI Unveils Much-Anticipated Inaugural Children’s Book Award Winners, Amplifying Black Voices in Literature

Nonprofit Celebrates Diverse Narratives, Promotes Literacy by Honoring Exceptional Authors and Illustrators of African Descent

Planting People Growing Justice Leadership Institute (PPGJLI) has unveiled the winners of its inaugural children’s picture book awards, recognizing exceptional works by authors and illustrators of African descent. This groundbreaking initiative is a significant milestone in the organization’s commitment to celebrating Black artists, showcasing rich cultural histories of the African diaspora, and providing opportunities and resources for children and families to access often-absent narratives.

The announcement comes after a successful submission period that ended on February 1, 2024, which saw an overwhelming response from talented Black artists across the United States. The winners were officially announced on March 29, 2024, and an award ceremony is scheduled for May 18, 2024 at the Rondo Community Library at 4 PM..

PPGJLI’s children’s book awards aim to promote literacy and diversity by uplifting the voices of Black authors and illustrators. The competition categories encompassed various themes, including Best Illustration, Book of the Year, Social Change, and Black History, ensuring a diverse representation of experiences and perspectives.

Among the Minnesota-based winners, Lanesa Bejnarowicz’s delightful illustrations in “Nap Time” secured the Best Illustration award. At the same time, Nasra Noor’s heartwarming tale “My Mommy is a School Teacher” was named the Book of the Year. In the Social Change category, Isaiah Allen’s “A Smile” received an honorable mention, and Rose McGee’s “Can’t Nobody Make a Sweet Potato Pie Like Our Mama!” captured the hearts of readers and judges alike. Mizz Mercedez’s poignant work, “Going Back to Rondo,” emerged as the winner in the Black History category. Winning artists also received cash prizes .

On the national stage, Portia Bright Pittman’s “A Bright Day at the State Capitol: There Ought to be a Law,” and its accompanying activity book claimed the Book of the Year honor. Lesley Bracero and Natoia Franklin’s “BJ Doesn’t Cry” and Elise M. Washington’s “Tika Speaks” both received honorable mentions.

The PPGJLI children’s book awards not only celebrate the artistic achievements of Black authors and illustrators but also serve as a powerful platform to amplify diverse narratives and promote cultural understanding. With the recognition of these talented creators, PPGJLI aims to inspire the next generation of readers and writers, fostering a more inclusive and equitable literary landscape.

As the award ceremony approaches, anticipation builds for the opportunity to honor these remarkable artists and their contributions to the literary world. PPGJLI’s commitment to promoting literacy, diversity, and social justice through the power of storytelling shines brightly, paving the way for a future where all children can see themselves represented in the books they read.

PPGJ Book Award Winners

Minnesota Authors

Best Illustration

•         Lanesa Bejnarowicz (Nap Time)

Book of the Year

•         Nasra Noor (My Mommy is a School Teacher)

Social Change

Isaiah Allen (A Smile) *honorable mention

•         Rose McGee (Can’t Nobody Make a Sweet Potato Pie Like Our Mama!)

Black History

•         Mizz Mercedez (Going Back to Rondo)

National Book of the Year

•         Portia Bright Pittman (A Bright Day at the State Capitol: There Ought to be a Law) + Activity Book

•         Lesley Bracero and Natoia Franklin (BJ Doesn’t Cry) *honorable mention

•         Elise M. Washington (Tika Speaks) *honorable mention

For more information, please visit https://www.ppgjli.org/ppgjli-childrens-book-awards

Media Contact
Company Name: Planting People Growing Justice LLC
Contact Person: Jacklyn Milton
Email: Send Email
Phone: (651)-303-6566
State: Minnesota
Country: United States
Website: www.ppgjli.org