Celebrating Black Books & Creators
The Beautiful Blackbird Children’s Book Festival celebrates Black and Black Immigrant children’s books and their creators with an annual 4,000+ book giveaway to Maine families, the production of acclaimed media and activities and live events.
The festival honors the legacy of legendary Black children’s book creator and artist Ashley Bryan and is named after his classic picture book Beautiful Blackbird.
We believe that Black children and immigrant children should have the opportunity to build their home libraries and fill them with books that represent their lives and experiences. This is why we are proud to give away 4,500 copies of the featured books to children served by Portland Public Housing, Portland Parks and Recreation, Lewiston Public Schools, and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers CCLC program.
The festival was founded in 2020 by Indigo Arts Alliance in partnership with I’m Your Neighbor Books and Diverse BookFinder and is produced with the 2022 partners: The Children’s Museum and Theater of Maine, Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Ridah Ridah, the Farnsworth Museum, LA Arts, and the Lewiston Public Library.
The Case For A Children’s Book Festival
For Immigrant Children
Research shows that children in communities where English is not the primary language are at risk of missing early literacy skills and entering school at a deficit. These early deficits can have psychological, social, and economic consequences. The Beautiful Blackbird Children’s Book Festival addresses this deficit.
For Black Children
Additionally, Black and African American children are less likely to encounter books that depict their own life experiences. This is a critical gap since children are better able to retain and recall plot and character information after reading books featuring characters that mirror themselves. The Beautiful Blackbird Children’s Book Festival addresses this gap.
- Celebrate Ashley Bryan’s legacy and the contribution of children’s book creators of the African Diaspora.
- Entertain, engage, educate, and empower through children’s literature.
- Build the home library of children by giving away picture books and chapter books.
- Honor diversity and culture, while building community
- Teach intercultural competence
- Affirm identity and confidence
- Grow family literacy
- Increase health outcomes including resilience, acclimation and emotional intelligence
- Expose children to role models that look like them
We are proud to present this stunning collection of children’s books by Black authors and artists. Pay attention to our social media (Instagram and Facebook) to learn about our featured books, illustrators, and writers!