The core idea is simple.
Create a collection of culturally authentic, high interest picture books that enhance language and literacy skills in young readers by privileging the work of authors and visual artists from historically underrepresented communities. Then, armed with these #OwnVoices mentor texts, creators engage and inspire young readers, catalyzing the next generation of storytellers, beginning the process anew.
When Everything Was Everything
By Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay, with illustrations by Cori Nakamura Lin
In the tumultuous years during and after the Vietnam War, thousands of ethnic Lao fled Southeast Asia to avoid persecution, imprisonment and even death. Many of these refugees eventually settled in the Upper Midwest, in and around Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Decades later, the older generation of Lao Americans continues to navigate the trauma of the region-wide conflict that ripped them from their homeland thousands of miles away. Their wounds have yet to scab.
Meanwhile, every generation of Lao still grapples with misrepresentation – or no representation at all – in popular and historical narratives, school curriculums, community conversations, and the arts. As a trans-generational narrative, “When Everything Was Everything” signifies a turning point for Lao American refugee stories.
Artfully stitched together from the author’s own imaginings, reimaginings and memories as a child raised on food stamps and forced into ESL classes while continuously being shuttled from one public housing address to the next, this remarkable picture book is a love letter to survivors that is sure to resonate with readers of all ages.
A new chapter book series by African Creators for Young African Readers
Trotro Trio is a fantasy-adventure series that focuses on three friends – two siblings and their cousin – who travel through time and space across the African continent to experience key historical moments firsthand. Hopefully without getting grounded!
The series begins with a blast in Sub-Saharan West Africa, moves into the heart of the Sahara Desert for book two, then travels all the way across the continent to Tanzania and Kenya for books three and four. All along the way, the Trio solve mysteries, learn about their continent’s rich cultural diversity, acquire important new skills and forge lifelong bonds of friendship.
Each Trotro Trio book is specifically designed and created for independent young readers, by African authors and African illustrators. Contemporary, realistic, black-and-white illustrations capture the drama and tension of fast-paced scenes, while occasional spot illustrations offer character close-ups and rich details about key objects and artifacts, helping to increase reader comprehension while making the books an immersive experience. The Trotro Trio doesn’t merely watch history unfold, they live it!
The adventure begins Fall 2019.
Travel and See.