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Shadra Strickland talks diversity at Baltimore Book Fest

29 Sep 2014


Shadra Strickland spoke in two panel discussions about diversity this weekend at the Baltimore Book Festival and at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) author pavilion. Both panels focused on diversity in children’s books, and featured a wealth of authors and illustrators taking part in the conversation.

The Baltimore panel took its name from the recent campaign made popular on social media,  #WeNeedDiverseBooks, which saw users provide their reasons for why diversity in books is so  important. The hashtag was popular on Twitter, where thousands of people threw in their two cents.

At the Baltimore panel, Shadra spoke with fellow artists Jabari Asim and Lulu Delacre in a  discussion moderated by Deborah Taylor. The CBCF panel featured Crystal Allen, Pamela Tuck,  Sheila P. Moses, Charisse Carney-Nunes, and Christopher John Farley.

“The consensus was the same on both panels in that we need publishers to support many different  types of stories reflecting our experiences as multi-cultural and non-traditional families,” Shadra  said.

“And we need publishers and book sellers to market those books in the same way that they market everyone else’s.”

Shadra has illustrated several children’s books, including Please Louise written by Toni Morrison and Slade Morrison and Bird by Zetta Elliot.

She aims to incorporate positivity into her artwork. “As book makers,” she said, “the key to creating authentically diverse stories and characters is by living diverse lives and being interested in multiple stories.”

Read more about it on Shadra’s blog!