Sunday, 12:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT October 24, 2021
The Plaza at 300 Ashland
Join us at The Plaza at 300 Ashland across the street from The Center for Fiction for an outdoor celebration of storytelling for young readers, featuring readings and demonstrations from picture book and middle grade authors and illustrators, including Priya Huq, Isabel Roxas, Schele Williams, Katie Yamasaki, and Gracey Zhang. Plus, our booksellers will set up a mobile book fair on the plaza for safe, socially distanced shopping for young people and their caregivers.
This event is part of The Center’s KidsRead / KidsWrite program, which annually serves 2,500 students from under-resourced New York City Public Schools with author-led reading and writing events. Upcoming programming includes a free online book discussion of Tracey Baptiste’s The Jumbies and our popular KidsWriting Genre Workshops.
We kindly ask that attendees wear masks. This event is in collaboration with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. Programming at The Plaza at 300 Ashland is made possible by support from Two Trees Management Co.
Priya Huq is a Bangladeshi-American cartoonist from Austin, Texas, who enjoys working in water-based media. Her stories deal with complex emotions in both real and fantastic locations. In her free time she likes to drink tea and look at trees. Huq has contributed to TheNiband other online publications. Her most recent book is Piece by Piece: The Story of Nisrin’s Hijab. She lives in New York City with her spouse and two cats.
Isabel Roxas is the author and illustrator of The Adventures of Team Pom: Squid Happens. The first book in a series, it features three questing kids, a lonely giant squid, dramatic synchronized swimming routines, nefarious rats in bowler hats, mayhem and pigeons.
She was born in Manila, Philippines, was raised on luscious mangoes, old wives’ tales, and monsoon moons. Isabel has illustrated several books for young readers, including Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race by Megan Madison and Jessica Ralli, Let Me Finish! by Minh Lê (named an NPR Best Book of 2016) and Day at the Market by May Tobias-Papa (2010 winner of the Philippine National Book Award).
Schele Williams is a Brooklyn-based director committed to cultivating original plays, musicals, and socially conscious theater. She is the director of the revival of Aida for Disney Theatrical Group, Mandela: The Musical, and Indigo. She has directed at regional theatres and festivals across the country and has a long history of work on Broadway in Rent, Aida, and Motown: The Musical.
Katie Yamasaki works primarily as a muralist and picture book creator. She has painted more than eighty murals around the world, and her most recent book is Everything Naomi Loved. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their daughter.
Photo Credit: Michael-Chung
Gracey Zhang is an illustrator and animator with a love of storytelling and verse. She was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, and received her degree in Illustration from RISD. She is now based in Brooklyn, New York, where she can be found window watching from the train when she’s not scribbling away at her desk. Lala’s Words is her first picture book. You can visit her at graceyzhang.com.
Piece by Piece: The Story of Nisrin's Hijab
By Priya Huq
Published by Amulet Books
In this middle-grade graphic novel, Nisrin will have to rely on faith, friends, and family to help her recover after she is the target of a hate crime
Nisrin is a 13-year-old Bangladeshi-American girl living in Milwaukie, Oregon, in 2002. As she nears the end of eighth grade, she gives a presentation for World Culture Day about Bangladesh while wearing a traditional cultural dress. On her way home, she is the victim of a hate crime when a man violently attacks her for wearing a headscarf.
Deeply traumatized by the experience, Nisrin spends the summer depressed and isolated. Other than weekly therapy, Nisrin doesn’t leave the house until fall arrives and it’s time for her to start freshman year at a new school. The night before class starts, Nisrin makes a decision. She tells her family she’s going to start wearing hijab, much to their dismay. Her mother and grandparent’s shocked and angry reactions confuse her—but they only strengthen her resolve.
This choice puts Nisrin on a path to not only discover more about Islam, but also her family’s complicated relationship with the religion, and the reasons they left Bangladesh in the first place. On top of everything else, she’s struggling to fit in at school—her hijab makes her a target for students and faculty alike. But with the help from old friends and new, Nisrin is starting to figure out what really makes her happy. Piece by Piece is an original graphic novel about growing up and choosing your own path, even if it leads you to a different place than you expected.
The Adventures of Team Pom: Squid Happens
By Isabel Roxas
Published by Flying Eye Books
When oddballs Agnes, Roberta and Ruby discover a shared passion for synchronized swimming, the trio become Team Pom. But between snack time, their favorite TV show, and raising pigeons, it can be hard to find time to practice.
This crew of self-proclaimed weirdos are tired of their loser status in the pool. But on their way to gain the respect and free snacks they deserve, they stumble upon a lonely giant squid. Will he be the secret weapon they need for synchronized swimming stardom? Will they be able to outwit the sinister strangers in bowler hats, or will they end up with ink on their faces?
The first in this series and a debut comic book from award-winning Filipino illustrator Isabel Roxas, Squid Happens is a hilarious read that explores friendship, teamwork and what it means to be yourself..
Your Legacy: A Bold Reclaiming of Our Enslaved History
By Schele Williams
Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers
A proud, empowering introduction to African American history that celebrates and honors enslaved ancestors
Your story begins in Africa.
Your African ancestors defied the odds and survived 400 years of slavery in America and passed down an extraordinary legacy to you.
Beginning in Africa before 1619, Your Legacy presents an unprecedentedly accessible, empowering, and proud introduction to African American history for children. While your ancestors’ freedom was taken from them, their spirit was not; this book celebrates their accomplishments, acknowledges their sacrifices, and defines how they are remembered—and how their stories should be taught.
By Katie Yamasaki
Published by Norton Young Readers
From internationally renowned muralist and acclaimed picture book creator, Katie Yamasaki, comes her latest picture book, Dad Bakes, an intimate and tender story of love between a father and daughter and a gentle call to humanity. In the vein of My Papi Has a Motorcycle and Milo Imagines the World, Dad Bakes a subtly powerful message about family, unconditional love, and second chances.
Inspired by her work with formerly incarcerated men, many of whom work in bakeries, Katie has combined her monumental and heartfelt paintings with her gentle political and social justice themes to offer readers a lens into the dignity and love that lives within a father reclaiming his life with his daughter. At a time when the U.S.’s incarceration system is being called into question, Dad Bakes is a profound and necessary contribution to the picture book world.
Dad wakes early every morning before the sun, heading off to work at the bakery. He kneads, rolls, and bakes, and as the sun rises and the world starts its day, Dad heads home to his young daughter. Together they play, read, garden, and―most importantly―they bake..
Lala's Words: A Story of Planting Kindness
By Gracey Zhang
Published by Scholastic Inc.
From debut author-illustrator Gracey Zhang comes a timeless and timely picture book that celebrates the unassuming power of kind words.
Oh, there goes Lala! She carries a pot of water around the corner, down the block, and over the fence, to a patch of dirt and concrete where tiny weeds sprout. “Hello, hello, friends!” she whispers. Lala waters the plants every day, but it is her kind words that make them sway and nod.
Lala’s wild nature and quiet compassion enchant in this evergreen story about the power of kind words and the magic of being loved for who you are.
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The Center for Fiction Presents an Evening with Yvonne Orji
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A Hoodoo Halloween Literary Pop-Up
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In Conversation: Alison Gaylin and Laura Lippman$30
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The Art of the Short Story: Jocelyn Nicole Johnson on My Monticello with Deesha Philyaw
Wednesday, 7:00 pm EDT November 3, 2021
Craft of Fiction: Peter Ho Davies on The Art of Revision with Julie Buntin
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On America: Black Women on Feminism and Pop Culture with Sesali Bowen, Zeba Blay, and Shayla Lawson
Tuesday, 7:00 pm EDT November 9, 2021
Paul Auster on Burning Boy with Michael Wood
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The Art of the Short Story: Lily King on Five Tuesdays in Winter with Kate Walbert
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Queer Theory / Queer Fiction with Carolyn Dinshaw and Garth Greenwell
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Thursday, 7:00 pm EDT November 18, 2021
Annual Awards Benefit and 200th Anniversary Celebration
Tuesday, 6:30 pm EDT December 7, 2021