Black Panther is amazing, but his younger sister Shuri is even better. She’s the brains of the operations, the STEM Queen, and now she’s getting her own book.
Image via Hollywood Reporter
Shuri’s story will follow her on a mission to save Wakanda. A heart-shaped herb, that’s essential to the Black Panther’s power and the survival of Wakanda is no longer growing and the supply is running short so Shuri must leave her home to figure out why the herbs won’t grow. If you’ve seen Black Panther you know Shuri will get the job done.
Image via Entertainment Weekly
Nic Stone, author of Dear Martin, will pen the book entitled Shuri: A Black Panther Novel. It will be the first book to start off the multi-year deal with Scholastic and Marvel. With this deal, new original stories will be created featuring various superhero’s throughout the marvel universe. The books are aimed at young readers, but of course, all Marvel fans of any age can get their hands on a copy next year.
A Kids Book About, a direct-to-consumer publishing brand, produces books designed to help spark conversation between 5-9 year old kids and their parents about the tough topics of life. They currently have 12 titles available, tackling everything from anxiety to racism. The books are designed with colorful covers and text, but notably they don’t have any pictures. A Kids Book About signals an emerging trend in kids’ book publishing that strives to meet young readers on their level without pandering or talking down to them.
We also saw an absence of books that spoke directly to kids; books that talked up to them and not down to them. Books that assumed that they were in fact ready, and it was the grownups in their life who just didn’t know what to say or how to bring it up. These kinds of books simply didn’t exist before now, and even when did, they were impossible to find. We created this company and these books to change all of that.
A Kids Book About opted for a minimalist design philosophy for a few reasons. Of course, they wanted their books to stand out from the rest of the pack, and the relatively simple design of their books definitely sets them apart from a market saturated with fully illustrated stories. Jelani Memory says their design choices are also informed by the idea that kids deserve to be spoken to in a direct way that they can handle.
And third, we wanted to give them freedom to fill in the blanks, use their imagination, and apply the books to their lives. The moment you stick a brown haired blue eyed kid with a group of dragons in a book, you aren’t letting the kid imagine how the story applies to their life.
A spread from A Kids Book About Creativity, via A Kids book About
The subjects A Kids Book About covers balance challenging topics like race, feminism, and body image with more approachable concepts like gratitude and belonging.
Memory went on to say that A Kids Book About has been highly selective with the authors they hire to write their books:
We not only wanted to find people with incredible personal stories, but also domain expertise. The criteria for publishing under our brand is basically writing about the thing that TED would ask you to give a talk on. As such, our authors are truly emblematic of their subject because their expertise is rooted in lived experience – and they could give college lectures about it in their sleep. But we also went a step further by making sure that our authors were a diverse group from all kinds of backgrounds and walks of life.
We’ve got to applaud A Kids Book About for bringing such a fresh take on children’s books to life. The kind of books they’re publishing are truly unique, and we can’t wait to see what other great topics they grapple with in new books!
This week is Banned Books Week, where we shine a light on the books that have been restricted for various reasons based on addressing certain issues, mature content, or perceived mocking of certain beliefs. To celebrate: here is a list of some of the most challenged books currently out there:
Angie Thomas’ novel about a black teen who witnesses the shooting of her childhood friend at the hands of a police officer has been banned in several schools. Critics accuse the book of being “anti-cop” due to its themes as well as criticize the profanity used by certain characters.
The novel that inspired the controversial Netflix series, about a teenage girl’s suicide and the cassette tapes explaining why, has sparked debates on whether or not it addresses mental illness properly or not. Suicide prevention groups in particular, have frequently criticized the book, with some accusing the book of glorifying suicide.
It might be hard to believe that a book series as silly as this one would be considered too controversial for some, but Dave Pickley’s popular children’s series has been criticized for “encouraging disruptive behavior”. Also, the final book in the series was criticized for featuring a same-sex couple.
A critically-acclaimed novel turned into both a movie and a play, Khaled Hosseini’s work about two boys growing up in Afghanistan has been criticized for its portrayal of the Taliban, as well as all the graphic violence that happened during the rise of the Taliban regime.
Frequently challenged, banned, and burned, J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world has been accused of promoting witchcraft by several religious groups. The most recent complaint has been that the novels feature “real” spells that can actually be cast.
A musician and poet in addition to being a children’s author, Silverstein established himself as a composer in Chicago where he was born. He wrote some notable songs you may have heard of, including A Boy Named Sue (which was popularized by Johnny Cash) and One’s on the Way for Loretta Lynn. Silverstein began his career by enlisting in the army in 1950 and served in both Korea and Japan. He became a cartoonist for the Stars & Stripes, learning to draw for the magazine.
Image via Encyclopedia Britannica
Afterwards, he continued his work as an illustrator and found acclaim when he began drawing for Playboy magazine. He doodled short cartoons for the magazine, his work appearing in every issue from 1957 to the mid 70s, where he found great popularity with the readership. While working for Playboy, he began exploring other areas of his imagination, writing songs, poems, along with self-publishing his own original cartoons. He also recorded his first album during this period, in 1959, which was entitled Hairy Jazz.
Image via Wikipedia
In 1963, Shel Silverstein was approached by Ursula Nordstrom, who convinced him to try and write material for children. He did so on short notice, producing The Lion Who Shot Back, A Giraffe and a Half, and The Giving Tree in rapid succession. The third title became Silverstein’s most popular work, as its themes were ambiguous in intent and left an open question of what it meant, which made publishers initially balk. Although criticized by some for a bleak or hash worldview, The Giving Tree was nonetheless translated into 30 languages and has been a mainstay of the best children’s books of all time.
Image via Wikipedia
Shel Silverstein went onto write two more children’s books in the 1970s, Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic. He passed in 1999, right at the turn of the millennium. His legacy will live on for producing some of the most thoughtful children’s books of all time and showcasing that children’s literature can be truly thought provoking while also being fun to read.
Go on and introduce your own kids to his work to celebrate his birthday!