Storyteller: Lisa Stringfellow
Lisa Stringfellow writes middle-grade fiction and has a not-so-secret fondness for fantasy with a dark twist. Her debut fantasy, A Comb of Wishes, will be published on February 8, 2022 by HarperCollins/Quill Tree Books. It was selected as an ABA Indies Introduce title for Winter/Spring 2022, received starred reviews in BookPage and Youth Services Book Review, and garnered praise from Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, Booklist, and The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. Lisa received the inaugural Kweli Color of Children’s Literature Manuscript Award in 2019 for the novel manuscript. Her work often reflects her West Indian and Black southern heritage. Lisa is a middle school teacher and lives in Boston, MA, with her children and two bossy cats.
On writing for children:
“I want to write stories like those I would have loved to read as a Black child. Students need to see a variety of stories that reflect Black lives and experiences. Too often, in schools children read stories about Black oppression and trauma and not the joy and love in our lives. Libraries in the past, and often still now, have more books written about Black people than by Black people, and nuance and authenticity are often lost in those books.”
What was the most valuable or memorable experience of AMPLIFY for you?:
I loved the sense of community developed in the Amplify group. We were all Black authors and illustrators at different stages of the publishing journey, but gathering monthly allowed us to support one other and share knowledge. 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. I can’t wait to revisit the notes and material that were shared.
“My experience from both my West Indian and Southern heritage is rooted in storytelling and spoken traditions that don’t always conform to traditional Western formats. I wanted to reclaim and celebrate the oral tradition in my middle grade novel A Comb of Wishes.”