New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkney joins us on OOM to talk about the inspiration behind the new Bright Brown Baby publishing program, created with her husband and illustrator Brian Pinkney.
When a newborn comes into the world, one of the first things they do is open their eyes. Their ears open, too, as they hear the voices of those who love them. One of the most important ways to nurture an infant (aside from feeding and cuddling them) is to read to them. The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued guidelines noting the impact of reading to children from the day they’re born. The medical community tells us that engaging babies with words and pictures has a vital effect on their well-being and future reading success.
My own parents knew this, which is why, soon after I was born, they spent our precious early days as a family enjoying books with vibrant illustrations and “word-music” – narratives that, like a great poem or song, brought rhythm, whimsy, and celebration into our home. My folks always believed that when it came to books, children see what they see, and they don’t see what grownups don’t show them. It’s vital that all children, from the moment they’re born, see positive images of Black and Brown people.
These beliefs inspired me and illustrator Brian Pinkney, my husband and frequent collaborator, to create the Bright Brown Baby publishing program. The line of books includes a hardcover treasury edition and a series of sturdy spin-off board books.
The babies born today are the teachers, librarians, writers, scientists, and artists of tomorrow. The stories and pictures we share with them will shape their perceptions and choices, and show them how truly special they are. It’s never too early to give our little ones guideposts to show them their own value and importance. That’s why each of the Bright Brown Baby books are sprinkled with nuggets of wisdom from notables such as Congressman John Lewis, former First Lady Michelle Obama, and poet Langston Hughes. Short quotes from legendary leaders create heart-lifting moments for families. As parents, we’ve experienced this firsthand.
Here are additional observations we’ve discovered in sharing the Bright Brown Baby books:
Rejoice in the dream. Some toddlers love to exclaim, “I have a dream!” Thanks to the books they’ve been shown as babies, the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. have inspired them. Affirmations can spark a child’s interest in kindness and equality as they grow.
Read-alouds makes them proud. Hearing stories read aloud has a positive effect on a child’s self-esteem. The opening of the Bright Brown Baby Treasury encourages grownups to: Speak it! Sing it! Bring it! Shout it! Share it! The musicality of the narratives celebrates the power of the human voice and the oral tradition.
Let ‘em have it! Board books are right-sized for toddlers’ hands, fostering feelings of book-mastery, even before a child can read. While you cuddle your baby, let your baby cuddle a book.
Take twenty. The busiest caregivers can usually find twenty minutes to read to a child. That’s all it takes. Books let families spend precious time together in ways that have a lasting impact.
About Andrea Davis Pinkney
Andrea Davis Pinkney is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of nearly 50 books for young readers, among them The Red Pencil and A Poem for Peter, as well as several collaborations with her husband, Brian Pinkney, including Martin Rising: Requiem for a King, Sit-In, and Hand in Hand, which received the Coretta Scott King Book Award. Andrea Davis Pinkney lives in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter at @AndreaDavisPink, on Instagram at @Andreapinkney1, and on Facebook at @andreadavispinkey.
Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney have made an outstanding contribution to the field of children's literature both as individuals and as a team. Between them, they have published more than 70 children's books that have received the highest awards and accolades, including Caldecott Honors, Coretta Scott King Honors, NAACP Image Award nominations, and the May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award, to name a few. To learn more, please visit andreadavispinkney.com and brianpinkney.net.
About the Bright Brown Baby Treasury
Brown baby, born bright.
Greet the world. Spread your light.
Sparkling eyes blink hello.
Bright brown baby, you will GO!
Cuddle up with your little one, read aloud, and REPEAT—this gorgeous picture book treasury is sure to become your favorite storytime anthem. Dive into these five beautiful poems that celebrate the tender, cozy, early days between parent and child, and the exuberant joy of watching a brand-new life take shape. Warm, winsome, and welcoming illustrations from Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator Brian Pinkney exude joy and love on every page. Bouncing, rhythmic text from New York Times bestselling author Andrea Davis Pinkney rolls off the tongue and begs to be read aloud, in these poems that include "Count to Love," "Hey, Baby Girl!," and "Baby Boy, You are a Star."
A celebration of Black and brown joy, babies, and families, this beautiful picture book treasury is the perfect gift item, bookshelf staple, and long-lasting classic in the making. Just right for new and expectant parents, baby showers, birthdays, graduations, and more, this book is sure to be treasured for years to come.
Learn more at https://shop.scholastic.com/content/site/bright-brown-baby.html.
Purchase your copy of the Bright Brown Baby Treasury today!
- Barnes & Noble