The Black Child Book Fair Tour travels across the United States looking to improve literacy in Black communities by promoting Black authors and their books. It’s also a unique chance for many Black and brown children to meet authors and to see characters in books that look like themselves.
The next stop for the Black Child Book Fair Tour will be in Madison — at the Allied Family Center Boys & Girls Club on Saturday, April 30, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., specifically.
“It’s an inspiring event and full of life. There’s so much positivity,” Andrea Jones tells Madison365. Jones’s Krystyn Jones Foundation is hosting the event in Madison along with the Madison Memorial Black Student Union and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
The Black Child Book Fair Tour is the brainchild of Darryl Harvey, a Chicagoan who created the event to showcase positive new millennium literature written for African American children by African American authors.
“His vision behind it was: How can we increase early literacy? How can we get more African American books into the hands of our African American children in various communities across the United States? And so in 2019, he launched the Black Child Book Fair Tour,” Jones says. “It kicked off in Chicago.”
Since then, the Black Child Book Fair Tour has been gaining momentum as it makes it way across the nation. Jones’ daughter, Krystyn Jones, is an inspiring, upcoming book author who wrote the book “Wonderfully Made,” and has been a regular at Black Child Book Fair Tour events.
“Darryl Harvey reached out to us in the fall of ‘19. He saw Krystyn’s book signing here in Madison and from there he reached out and said, ‘We would love to have you join us for Black Child Book Fair Tour.’
“Krystyn started touring with them in the fall of 2019. Since then, she’s traveled with them to Chicago, Indianapolis, Louisville, Dallas, Boston, and Nashville,” she adds. “So they’re literally traveling everywhere. Since she’s been touring, it has been an opportunity for her to get her book out there and to do so much.”
Krystyn Jones was born with Spina Bifida and scoliosis, and her life story and book have been an inspiration to so many young people across the country.
“Krystyn would say, ‘I really think when kids see themselves in books or see pictures that look like them, it impacts and improves their reading because they are excited about reading a book because they can relate to the story,” Andrea Jones says.
Jones is the multicultural services coordinator at Memorial High School and the advisor of the Memorial Black Student Union organization. She is the founder of The Krystyn Jones Foundation, which aims to bring awareness to the different childhood disabilities and encourage children living with these disabilities to embrace their uniqueness.
“Black children need to see faces that look like them in stories about people that look like them in writing by people that look like them,” she says. “And so this is why the Black Child Book Fair Tour was created … to provide positive and quality literature for children.”
Jones adds that if there are authors interested in being vendors and setting up and promoting and selling their books at the upcoming Black Child Book Fair Tour stop in Madison, they can reach out to her at call (608) 213-6829 or email [email protected]. For more information, click here.
“We are just trying to get the word out,” she says. “We’re definitely trying to let people know in all the schools and community centers and childcare centers in the Madison area so that we can make sure the event is just as successful here as it has been in other cities and states that we’ve attended.
“We’ll have a DJ and face-painting and will provide lunch for the authors,” Jones adds. “It’s going to be a great family-oriented event … meeting these authors and learning about these books. It’s a chance for our Black and Brown kids to see authors that actually look like themselves and opening the books and see themselves in the books.”