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Let’s Talk: Sharing Our Stories, Part 2

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Please note: author Renée Watson is no longer able to join the live Q&A. However, the program will proceed as scheduled. 

This is a guest post by Monica Valentine, Program Specialist in the Library’s Center for Learning, Literacy and Engagement. 

Difficult conversations with young people take place every day.  Adults may be in need of tools to help facilitate discussions about racism, prejudice, discrimination, financial instability or other challenging topics, at home or in the classroom. Educators and families are invited to join a live Q&A session with two of the authors and the editors of “The Talk: Conversations about Race, Love, and Truth” on Thursday, May 13 at 5:00 PM EDT on ZOOM. The registration link can be found here or by pasting this link in your browser:

You can prepare for the event by viewing two previously recorded conversations on YouTube, a conversation with best- selling authors Renée Watson and Adam Gidwitz intended for young people ages 11-16 and another with Cheryl and Wade Hudson designed for educators and caregivers. In the program, included below, the Hudsons discuss the impetus for creating the book and ways to use it in homes and classrooms. Check-out some of the highlights from the discussion with the Cheryl and Wade Hudson, paired with Library of Congress.

5:56: Cheryl and Wade Hudson discuss their reasons for creating “The Talk” and how they intend for families and educators to use it.

9:42: The Hudsons share how the selected award-winning authors and illustrators to participate including Gidwitz and Watson. They talk about the value of having a diverse group of authors contributing to the book.

12:28: Cheryl Hudson reflects on “stories as vehicles for communicating ideas, culture, world views, and lessons.” She highlights how the original stories, poems, letters and prose contributed by authors can used as “conversation starters to help children develop empathy.”

  • View the 2016 Library of Congress Symposium The Role of Heritage in Storytelling, moderated by Meg Medina,  a contributing author to “The Talk”. 19:50: Cheryl and Wade discuss the importance of us all sharing our stories and how those stories can help young people put historical events in context.
  • Consider the ways that the Library of Congress preserves the stories of individual Americans through oral history collections such as the Civil Rights History Project and the Veterans History Project.

23:20: Hear Cheryl discuss the Hudson’s journey from self-publishing their first book for children to becoming independent publishers and collaborating with major publishing houses on black interest books. Cheryl references early efforts by diverse publishers including “The Brownies Book” a monthly magazine for African American children published by author, sociologist, and civil rights activist W.E.B. Dubois in 1921.

26:10: Cheryl stresses the benefit of reading outside your experience noting that “so much of what people do in the world that is wrong is because they don’t know each other, they don’t understand each other.” As he reflects on the social justice protests of 2020, Wade wonders if exposure to books by authors such as Jacqueline Woodson, Jason Reynolds, and Kwame Alexander may have helped open up the world to young people in white communities in a different way.

Talking About Race, Love and Truth, Live Q&A Event is part of the 11th annual Jonah Solkoff Eskin Memorial Program, a three-part feature supported by the Jonah Solkoff Eskin Memorial Fund of the Library of Congress. The fund was established to honor the late son of Marcia and Barnet Eskin.

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