2020 African American Voices in Children’s Literature Writing Contest Winners

All children deserve to see themselves and their lives represented in books written by people like them. To help make that happen, Strive Publishing and Free Spirit Publishing have partnered to create the African American Voices in Children’s Literature Writing Contest, now in its second year!

In case you missed it, the winner of the 2019 contest was Mélina Mangal, whose book Jayden’s Impossible Garden will publish in March 2021. Timeless and vibrant, this story highlights the beauty of intergenerational relationships and the power of imagination and perseverance in bringing the vision of a community garden to life.

Today, we’re pleased to announce the winners of our second annual contest! Entries consisted of original fiction or nonfiction for children ages birth to eight featuring contemporary African American characters and culture and focusing on character development, self-esteem, diversity, getting along with others, engaging with family and community, or other topics related to positive childhood development.

2020 African American Voices in Children’s Literature Writing Contest Winners

First Place: Crown Shepherd, Black Girl, Black Girl

Crown Shepherd, photo by Tiffany Townsend

photo by Tiffany Townsend

“Black Girl, Black Girl, what do you see? I see me looking at me. And I see I have a bright future ahead of me!”

Celebrating all that Black girls can be, Black Girl, Black Girl is a story that encourages young girls to see themselves in the world, in careers as pilots, surgeons, writers, or wherever their passions and interests take them. 

Second Place: Sagirah Shahid, Wave Your Glove, Like a Rainbow Between Clouds

Sagirah ShahidThis lyrical story weaves in elements of African American Muslim sports history and culture and celebrates the diversity of Blackness and Muslims to children ages four to eight years old. In Wave Your Glove, Like a Rainbow Between Clouds, seven-year-old Salima Sharif discovers the value of practice and persistence by learning how to be a softball catcher from her grandmother who was once a varsity pitcher in the ’80s.

Third Place: Sue Smith-Grier, Tamika’s Cool Adventure

Sue Smith-GrierWhat happens when you’re bored with nothing to do and not even video games are entertaining anymore? In Tamika’s Cool Adventure, Tamika and her brother use their imaginations to travel to the North Pole. Together, they escape an avalanche and discover the snow monster.

The African American Voices in Children’s Literature Writing Contest continues next year! Keep an eye out for 2021 contest details.


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