We're delighted to welcome Rio Cortez and Lauren Semmer to celebrate their picture book, THE ABCs OF BLACK HISTORY, a beautiful representation of the ideas and personalities that embody a wide range of Black people, experiences, and ideas in lively verse matched with vivid imagery. Beginning with Anthem—an introduction to James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing”—and ending with Zenith, a tribute to the mountaintop Dr. King spoke about before his death, readers will travel across continents and centuries, navigate triumph and heartbreak, and celebrate creativity and joy. Rio and Lauren will talk about their book, take audience questions, and Lauren will conduct a drawing demonstration. powered by Crowdcast
ABOUT THE BOOK:
A beautiful alphabet picture book that presents key names, moments, and places in Black history with text lyrically written by poet Rio Cortez. This is an opportunity for children to learn their ABCs to the sound of words beyond apple, boy, and cat, and an opportunity for young thinkers to prepare for big ideas.
B is for Beautiful, Brave, and Bright! And for a Book that takes a Bold journey through the alphabet of Black history and culture.
Letter by letter, The ABCs of Black History celebrates a story that spans continents and centuries, triumph and heartbreak, creativity and joy.
It’s a story of big ideas––P is for Power, S is for Science and Soul. Of significant moments––G is for Great Migration. Of iconic figures––H is for Zora Neale Hurston, X is for Malcom X. It’s an ABC book like no other, and a story of hope and love.
In addition to rhyming text, the book includes back matter with information on the events, places, and people mentioned in the poem, from Mae Jemison to W. E. B. Du Bois, Fannie Lou Hamer to Sam Cooke, and the Little Rock Nine to DJ Kool Herc.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rio Cortez is a writer and Pushcart Prize–nominated poet who has received fellowships from Poet’s House, Cave Canem, and CantoMundo foundations. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Miami Rail, and Mother magazine, among others. Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, Rio writes and lives in Harlem, New York. Her daughter was the inspiration for this book.
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR
Lauren Semmer is an artist, children’s book illustrator, and designer. She studied drawing at St. Paul College of Visual Arts and art history at New York University. Lauren’s bright and charming work is featured on everything from kid’s wall art to children’s apparel. She lives in Manhattan, New York, with her family.