‘The New Brownies Book’ Is A Love Letter To Black Children and Families
In celebration of its actual birthday Oct. 10, The New Brownies’ Book, a revitalization of W.E.B. Dubois’ magazine to uplift Black children, is now available to the public. Featuring an accumulation of creative works from nearly 50 Black writers and artists, the groundbreaking work is an expansive love letter to the Black community and the children who are empowered within it.
Published by Chronicle Books, The New Brownies’ Book was co-created by husband-and-wife duo, Dr. Karida L. Brown and Charly Palmer. Brown’s discovery of DuBois’ short-lived periodical sparked the new project.
It’s original title, The Brownies’ Book: A Monthly Magazine for Children of the Sun, centered its audience on Black youth, the first-ever of its kind. In Dubois’ vision, he enlisted the help of established Black authors of the time to develop a range of narratives to engage and inspire Black young readers, including Langston Hughes, who was first published within The Brownies’ Book.
Sparking a legacy of African-American children’s literature, the new rendition is a historical heirloom, complete with an excerpt from the original book, including Hughes’ poetry. The co-authors spoke exclusively to BLACK ENTERPRISE about what their hopes are for the modern collection of Black creativity, as well as expanding upon Dubois’ established work.
“We hope that Dubois would be very proud of what we’ve done here, the intentionality that this world does not evolve without us,” shared the historian and illustrator.
“We have to let our children know we’re thinking about them and they are loved, and we are doing so through reviving The Brownies’ Book.”
Upholding Dubois’ approach, the couple sought out Black creatives from all age ranges to be a part of the new imagining for the children’s novel, the youngest of which is four years old. One of the acclaimed writers featured is BE’s very own director of content, Ida Harris, who expressed her delight in being a contributor to a part of history revamped for the modern era.
“I’m extremely honored to be part of The New Brownies’ Book and to pen a love letter to youth across the Black diaspora,” shared the essayist.
“My short story ‘Mama Sick’ lands at the intersection of childhood and grief, a topic that isn’t largely addressed or covered in Black communities.”
I wanted Black girls and boys to know that I see them, I hear them, I am them.”
Filled with poetry, short stories, and fine art, with some children’s creations as well, The New Brownies’ Book: A Love Letter To Black Families is a testimony to Black creatives’ joy and genius.
To complete one’s coffee table, readers of all backgrounds and ages may purchase the collection wherever books are sold.