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Keila V. Dawson writes fiction and nonfiction picture books. She is coeditor of NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY and the forthcoming NO WORLD TOO BIG: YOUNG PEOPLE FIGHTING GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE. Dawson is the author of OPENING THE ROAD: VICTOR HUGO GREEN and HIS GREEN BOOK, THE KING CAKE BABY, and the forthcoming YUMBO GUMBO. A New Orleans native, Dawson has also lived and worked in states across the U.S., and in the Philippines, Japan, and Egypt. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Awards and honors for her books include an International Reading Association Children’s Book Award, a NCSS and NCTE Notable, Kirkus Best Book, Chicago Public Library Best Book, New York Public Library Best Book, Bank Street Best Book, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum’s Noteworthy Book, Jane Addams finalist, Ohioana finalist, and a 2023 Charlotte Award nominee.

When Dawson isn’t reading, writing, and visiting schools, she’s traveling, playing tennis, or digging in genealogical archives. Find more about her from her website and or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Opening the Road: Victor Hugo Green and His Green Book

“Hungry? Check the Green Book. Tired? Check the Green Book. Sick? Check the Green Book.”

The untold true story of the postman who wrote the Green Book travel guides published from 1936-1966-67 that African Americans used to plan safe road trips & vacations during legal segregation.

– Tells the virtually unknown story of Victor Green’s contribution to history

– Great foray into lessons on equity and social justice for young learners

– Fresh material for Black History Month

– An engaging timeline is included at the back of the book that shows significant milestones in the Civil Rights movement as well as the development of The Green Book

– Author’s Note highlights the inequities and risks that still exist for Black Americans today

Pub date: January 26, 2021
Category: Historical biography, Social justice, African American History
Pages: 40
Audience: ages 4-8
Publisher: Beaming Books
ISBN: 978-1506467917

No Voice Too Small: Fourteen Young Americans Making History summary

Fans of We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices will love meeting fourteen young activists who have stepped up to make change in their community and the United States.

Mari Copeny demanded clean water in Flint. Jazz Jennings insisted, as a trans girl, on playing soccer with the girls’ team. From Viridiana Sanchez Santos’s quinceañera demonstration against anti-immigrant policy to Zach Wahls’s moving declaration that his two moms and he were a family like any other, No Voice Too Small celebrates the young people who know how to be the change they seek. Fourteen poems honor these young activists. Featuring poems by Lesléa Newman, Traci Sorell, and Nikki Grimes. Additional text goes into detail about each youth activist’s life and how readers can get involved.

Pub date: September 22, 2020
Category: Social justice — poetry; informational
Pages: 40
Audience: ages 5-9
Publisher: Charlesbridge
ISBN: 978-1-6235-4131-6

Featured activists:
Judy Adams | Ziad Ahmed |Noah Barnes | Jasilyn Charger | Mari Copeny | Marley Dias | Levi Draheim | Cierra Fields | Samirah “DJ Annie Red” Horton | Jazz Jennings | Nza-Ari Khepra | Viridiana Sanchez Santos | Adora Svitak | Zach Wahls

Featured poets:
S. Bear Bergman | Joseph Bruchac | Nikki Grimes | Hena Khan | Andrea J. Loney | Guadalupe García McCall | Lindsay H. Metcalf | Fiona Morris | G. Neri | Lesléa Newman | Traci Sorell | Charles Waters | Carole Boston Weatherford | Janet Wong

The King Cake Baby

No, ma chérie!You can’t catch me!” So brags the runaway in this trickster tale. The little plastic baby hidden inside a traditional Mardi Gras King Cake escapes the kitchen of an old couple in the French Quarter, runs faster than a praline lady in Jackson Square and a waiter at Café du Monde. But on his way to the Mississippi River and the Creole Queen riverboat, he meets a clever baker who knows exactly where this baby belongs. 

This tasty new retelling of an old folktale sparkles with French phrases, New Orleans colloquialisms, and vibrant, comic-book style artwork depicting the city’s characters and treasures. Includes an easy king cake recipe. Bon appétit!

Pub date: January 23, 2015
Category: Folktales and myths — Children’s Books on the U.S.
Pages: 32
Audience: ages 4-8
Publisher: Pelican Publishing Co.
ISBN: 978-1455620135

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