Young, Black & Lit is excited to announce their five-year anniversary with the launch of Give Big, Get LIT: Bridging the Gap Through Literacy and Storytelling campaign, a year-long literacy campaign aimed to empower children of color through culturally diverse books. On February 15, 2023 the organization launched a national book-giving campaign with a goal of donating 25,000 books and kick-off the Young, Black & Lit Future Author family writing contest.
“I cannot believe that we are officially five years old! I started Young, Black & Lit from wanting to support my niece in her love of literature, and it has now grown to supporting children nationwide,” said Young, Black & Lit co-founder Krenice Ramsey. “Elevating children’s stories for and about Black children is at the heart of our organization, and we are happy to bring to life the creative ideas and story-telling of youth writers everywhere.“
Bridging the cultural and representation gaps in literacy and storytelling, Young, Black & Lit is appealing to booklovers young and old to get Black and Brown families “lit” for reading. To do so, Young, Black & Lit will supply books that feature Black characters and represent and affirm Black experiences to children and organizations around the country including Reach Out and Read IL (Chicago), Children of Promise NYC (New York), MACC Development Avenue (Detroit) and groups in Washington, DC and Atlanta.
The Young, Black & Lit Future Author Contest, in partnership with book publisher, JoFactor Entertainment, brings families together through creative storytelling and encourages young writers to find their stories within. Youth writers in grades K-8, with the assistance of parents and caregivers are encouraged to submit their stories and illustrations that champion Black/African American experiences, such as Black protagonists, Black families, Black experiences, through Young, Black & Lit’s website. Ten lucky winners will be selected for a chance to be published in a collection of short stories and essays. The contest is open to children in the following cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, New York, and Washington, D.C. and the deadline is May 1, 2023.
According to CBCC, in 2020 only 12% of children’s books were about Black characters and less than 8% of books were written by Black authors. Studies have shown the critical importance of representation in children’s literature, and many education scholars agree that when books serve as mirrors, allowing children to see themselves, their families, and their communities reflected, children feel valued. When those same books serve as windows, allowing children to see the similarities and differences they have with other cultures, children feel connected. (Source: Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Doors)
Over the past five years, Young, Black & Lit has been committed to giving ALL children access to the stories and perspectives that will shape their understanding of our culturally diverse world and their place in it. By doing the research to find books featuring Black characters and books written by Black authors, Young, Black & Lit is making it easier for children to access these books.
To get involved and sign up for the writing contest, please visit YoungBlackandLit.org/5year.
About Young, Black & Lit
Young, Black & Lit (YBL) is a Chicago-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase access to children’s books that center on, reflect, and affirm the experiences of Black children. Young, Black & Lit was started by book lovers Krenice and Derrick Ramsey, who understand the critical importance of reading and representation in the lives of children. Since its inception, YBL has distributed more than 54,000 children’s books featuring Black characters, providing schools and youth-serving organizations with more than 3,000 books each month. This is done through monthly donations, partnerships with groups seeking to make an impact, and pop-up community book fairs. For more information, visit YoungBlackandLit.org.
About JoFactor Entertainment
JoFactor Entertainment’s mission is to create children’s stories of empowerment, emotional intelligence, and cultural inclusivity. The company’s commitment to helping children ranges from their grief product line to author schools, and the newest emotional intelligence program. With the help of the JoFactor team, psychologists, schools, teachers, and more, JoFactor has been able to better the life of youth through empowerment and freedom. JoFactor believes in the ethical and responsible production of all products from start to finish. For more information visit www.jofactor.com.