Celebrating Black Voices: Jacqueline Woodson & Coretta Scott King Awards Exhibit

Celebrating Black Voices

On Saturday, February 5 from 7–8:15 PM, The Friends of the Library and Monroe County Public Library will host award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater as part of the biennial “Power of Words: Changing Our World One Author at a Time” programming series. The talk is free and open to the public. 

Listen to the internationally acclaimed author, who gives voice to African American life through more than 30 books, ranging from children’s picture books to young adult literature to adult novels. Woodson is a National Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature for her New York Times bestselling memoir “Brown Girl Dreaming”, among many other awards. The doors will open at 6:30 PM and tickets are not required. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test is required per the Buskirk-Chumley Theater’s policy.

Following the free event, the public may purchase a ticket to an author book signing and reception with Woodson at the Downtown Library from 8:30–10 PM. Tickets are $55 and include champagne and hors d’oeuvres created by Chef Lee Rosser, jazz music by Eli Sparks and the Sparks Quartet, and premium reserved seating to the Buskirk-Chumley event. The ticketed event also doubles as the opening reception for the “Our Voice: Celebrating the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards” exhibit, running February 1–March 20 in the Downtown Library’s program rooms 1B/C.
This exhibit, curated by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, features 34 prints of illustrations from the award winners since 1973. The award-winning illustrations and children’s books highlight stories and figures from Black history, honoring the triumphs and struggles of African Americans throughout time. They also evoke the beautiful facets integral to the culture and fabric of our nation, such as music, rhythm, and folktales. 

Exhibit hours are Monday–Thursday from 3–7 PM and Friday–Sunday from 1–5 PM. The exhibit offers interactive activities to explore and learn about the art, including an opportunity to contribute to a self-portrait wall quilt. The exhibit is funded by a generous bequest from Marian Armstrong, a former librarian, library educator, and library supporter.

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are presented annually by the American Library Association to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. The awards are among the brightest acknowledgments of children’s literature on America’s cultural landscape. Woodson is the Author Award Winner for 2021, 2015, and 2001. 

The Power of Words and “Our Voice” exhibit are part of the Celebrating Black Voices programming series taking place in the community between January 2–March 31. Learn more about all of the events at mcpl.info/ourvoice.

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