Black Voices at the Highlights Foundation

Black Voices Book Covers
Black Retreat Rock Garden Group photo

Our Goal

To inspire children through story by amplifying the voices of Black authors & illustrators.

Our Action:

Craft and education, community-building, and resources and support for Black creatives and professionals in and around the children’s book industry.

Testimonials from Black Creatives

The feeling of family and connectedness and support and LOVE!

Malaika’s Winter Carnival and A LIKKLE MISS LOU: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett Coverley Found Her Voice both were worked on at Highlights.” (Nadia L Hohn)

“I felt so special at Highlights. The staff is supportive, and the food is wonderful. Without a doubt, the best part of my personal retreat was staying in the Nikki Grimes cabin. As I looked around the cabin, I saw what a successful literary career looks like — presentations, awards, and more than 40 books on the shelves. I marveled at the length of Ms. Grimes’ career. I couldn’t help but dream of having a career like hers.” (Monique Fields)

We were all Black authors and illustrators at different stages of the publishing journey… I am so grateful for the opportunity to get to know so many wonderful creators. Additionally, The Brown Bookshelf team shared with us such a wealth of information. They taught us how to advocate for ourselves with our publishers, helped us connect with others in the Black community who could spread the word about our books, and inspired pride in our Black storytelling traditions. Having space to discuss the challenges of publishing as a Black creator but also uncovering for us the immense opportunities was inspiring and enlightening. (Lisa Stringfellow)

“My time at a Highlights Chautauqua conference nudged me towards nonfiction and the publication of my first book, a biography for young readers.” (Mélina Mangal)

“My debut picture book, FLY, (January 11th, 2021) began as a manuscript that I worked on during the 2017 Picture Books and All That Jazz workshop.” (Brittany J. Thurman)

Black Women Writers: A Retreat in Gratitude

This invitation-based, in-community program has been thoughtfully shaped by Renée Watson, Edith Campbell, and Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich to honor Black women (including cis and trans women) who have worked hard for decades to inspire children and lift up fellow creatives in this industry.  It will amplify their Voices, honor their contributions, celebrate a rich tapestry of Black womens’ stories and experiences, and offer dedicated space and time for those who attend to create and grow.  The retreat in 2024 will mark the program’s inaugural year.

Learn more about and support the program.

Amplify Black Stories

In partnership with the Highlights Foundation, The Brown Bookshelf presented a year-long program in 2021 set to amplify Black stories, with a focus on supporting Black storytellers while confronting industry challenges and fostering change.

Learn more about the program.

News and Resources

Scholarships for Black Voices at the Highlights Foundation

Floyd Cooper Scholarship
The Brown Bookshelf Scholarship
Nikki Grimes Scholarship
Renée Watson Scholarship
Diversify Science Scholarship for Illustrators

Blogs & Podcasts

3 Questions for Kekla Magoon & Laurie Calkhoven About Using Meditation & Creative Play in Your Writing Practice

3 Questions for Kekla Magoon & Laurie Calkhoven About Using Meditation & Creative Play in Your Writing Practice

From Virtual Summer Camp to Personal Retreat to Publication With Scholarship Support: Tonya Duncan Ellis

From Virtual Summer Camp to Personal Retreat to Publication With Scholarship Support: Tonya Duncan Ellis

Scholarships Helped These 2 Teachers Improve Their Storytelling Skills

Scholarships Helped These 2 Teachers Improve Their Storytelling Skills

With Scholarship Support, Rachel Werner Grows Her Passion Project: Expanding Inclusion in Narratives

With Scholarship Support, Rachel Werner Grows Her Passion Project: Expanding Inclusion in Narratives

Upcoming Programs Featuring Black Voices

Discovering a Deeper Level of Your Character: A Two Night Mini

Discovering a Deeper Level of Your Character: A Two Night Mini

Starts: February 20, 2024

Picture Book Beginnings and Endings: A Two Night Mini

Picture Book Beginnings and Endings: A Two Night Mini

Starts: March 5, 2024

Writing About Mental Health for MG and YA Readers: A Two-Night Mini

Writing About Mental Health for MG and YA Readers: A Two-Night Mini

Starts: April 2, 2024

Emotions in Nonfiction Picture Books: A Two-Night Mini

Emotions in Nonfiction Picture Books: A Two-Night Mini

Starts: April 16, 2024

Just Do It! Your Collaborative Support Group for Finishing Your Draft (Spring/Summer)

Just Do It! Your Collaborative Support Group for Finishing Your Draft (Spring/Summer)

Starts: April 17, 2024

Whole Novel Workshop: A Virtual Course for Middle Grade and Young Adult Writers

Whole Novel Workshop: A Virtual Course for Middle Grade and Young Adult Writers

Starts: April 25, 2024

Working Retreat: Spark Inspiration with Meditation and Creative Play

Working Retreat: Spark Inspiration with Meditation and Creative Play

Starts: June 15, 2024

Working Retreat: Poetry and Poetry Anthologies

Working Retreat: Poetry and Poetry Anthologies

Starts: June 23, 2024

Black Voices: An In-Community Retreat for Storytellers

Black Voices: An In-Community Retreat for Storytellers

Starts: July 7, 2024

Summer Camp in Illustration: Intensive Artistic Inspiration

Summer Camp in Illustration: Intensive Artistic Inspiration

Starts: July 10, 2024

Summer Camp in Writing: Create and Dream!

Summer Camp in Writing: Create and Dream!

Starts: July 14, 2024

Whole Novel Workshop: An In-Person Retreat for Novelists (August)

Whole Novel Workshop: An In-Person Retreat for Novelists (August)

Starts: August 14, 2024

Working Retreat: Experienced Storytellers In-Company

Working Retreat: Experienced Storytellers In-Company

Starts: September 11, 2024

Just Do It! Your Collaborative Support Group for Finishing Your Draft (Fall)

Just Do It! Your Collaborative Support Group for Finishing Your Draft (Fall)

Starts: September 18, 2024

Whole Novel Workshop: An In-Person Retreat for Novelists (October)

Whole Novel Workshop: An In-Person Retreat for Novelists (October)

Starts: October 17, 2024

Working Retreat: Revision

Working Retreat: Revision

Starts: November 14, 2024

Get Involved

How will you inspire kids by amplifying the voices of Black authors and illustrators?

 

Our Mission in Action

Share Your Story, Inspire a Child
Scholarships
Equity & Inclusion in Kidlit
Partners & Sponsors

The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.