Discussion to be had on Black writers, literature


Luke Taylor, News Editor

The EIU Student Reading Council will present an event on Black Joy in Literature on Monday.

Dr. Julie Hoffman, Jennifer Brooks and Melissa Wheeler, the three presenters for the event, are all members of the Illinois Reading Council.

Wheeler said that the purpose of the event was to promote Black representation in literature beyond historical retellings of slavery and the Civil Rights Movement.

“There is a severe shortage of representation of black and brown people in children’s literature; and often, the representations that you can find in most classroom libraries are of slavery and the civil rights movement,” Wheeler said. “We want to make sure that our students can use our classroom libraries as windows, mirrors, and telescopes.”

The event will highlight books targeted at all age groups which feature joyful Black stories and Black authors.

These include “Antiracist Baby” by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and “How the World is Passed” by Clint Smith.

The in-person and online presentation will include links and QR codes for attendees to purchase any books they’re interested in from EyeSeeMe or Semicolon Bookstore, though the books are available in other places as well.

Wheeler said that it is important to highlight these specific stories because they are told by Black authors as well as being about experiences specific to Black people.

“No one can speak to Black joy like someone who is living in it,” Wheeler said. “While there is still a glaring disparity in representation in children’s literature, we want to make sure you are aware of the beautiful representation that is available!”

Even though the event is aimed at adults, it will feature children’s books in the hope that they will be used in classroom settings more frequently.

Anyone interested in attending this event can sign up to go in person or online at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdqD9wG6JYhBeQ6RojuRHJRAZ6vG8dKhQpsFuh6Cg9TXEBh7A/viewform.

The event will be at 6:30 p.m. on Monday in Room 1103 of Buzzard Hall.

Luke Taylor can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]