Masks are strongly encouraged to help actively include immuno-vulnerable friends and those around them. Thanks!
Pre-registering helps us order enough books for our guests and helps us set up the room for safety and comfort. We will allow pre-registrants to be seated first. No one will be turned away, but please note that seating is limited. Please contact the store ahead of time if you need assistance with mobility or other concerns - we are happy to help!
A IS FOR AFFRILACHIA
The people and places in Appalachia are as rich, multifaceted, and diverse as the region itself. When author Frank X Walker first coined the phrase “Affrilachia,” he wanted to ensure that the voices, and accomplishments of African Americans in that region were recognized and exalted. A is for Affrilachia not only brings awareness of notable African Americans from this region, but this inspired children’s alphabet book is also an exuberant celebration of the people, physical spaces, and historical events that may not be as well known in mainstream educational structures.
Illustrated by acclaimed artist Ronald W. Davis, every image exudes with vibrancy, beauty, and whimsy as it depicts each of the alphabetized words alongside the appropriate letter. Featured are a range of musicians, artists, and activists, as well as mountain ranges, literary works, and coal mining implements. Famous names, such as playwright August Wilson, writer Nikki Giovanni, actor Chadwick Boseman, and singer Nina Simone are spotlighted, as well as lesser-known individuals, such as artist Romare Bearden and musician Amethyst Kiah. Particularly poignant are the letters representing the four girls— Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley—who were killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.
Equipped with a glossary to engage discussion regarding the importance of the individuals and places represented, this children’s book is a unique and engaging ABC primer that offers a rich display of regional, racial, and cultural heritage through word and image.
Frank X Walker, the first African American writer to be named Kentucky Poet Laureate, is an artist, writer, and educator who has published eleven collections of poetry, including Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York, Updated Edition; Masked Man, Black: Pandemic & Protest Poems; and Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers, which was awarded an NAACP Image Award and the Black Caucus American Library Association Honor Award. The recipient of the 35th Annual Lillian Smith Book Award and the Thomas D. Clark Award for Literary Excellence, he is a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets.
A JOURNEY IN COLOR: THE ART OF ELLIS WILSON
A Journey in Color: The Art of Ellis Wilson tells the story of a young man’s determined path to become a classically trained artist. Growing up in rural Kentucky in the early twentieth century, Wilson needed to convince his family and neighbors that art was a path worth choosing over becoming a farmer or teacher. And he had to find an art school that judged him for his talent and not for the color of his skin. How Wilson saw the world influenced his vibrant, groundbreaking art, as well as the lifelong pursuit of his dream “to paint all the time—everything of interest and beauty.”
The narrative includes Wilson’s own words, gleaned from his Guggenheim Fellowship applications and his personal papers archived at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. A Journey in Color: The Art of Ellis Wilson is beautifully illustrated in watercolors that reflect his era and his artistic journey.
"Ellis Wilson knew his calling early….Waldrop’s transparent narrative stays right next to Ellis, and McBride’s illustrations follow her lead, keeping the reader close to the emotional truth of the story."
—George Ella Lyon, Kentucky Poet Laureate 2015–2016 and author of Time to Fly
“It’s impossible to see Ellis Wilson’s work and not fall in love with how he saw the world. Having his own words come to life in this wonderful and important children's book makes me doubly proud to see another part of Kentucky’s rich Black history captured and to hold another bedside favorite I can’t wait to read to my son.”
—Frank X Walker, Kentucky Poet Laureate 2013–2014 and author of A Is for Affrilachia
Jayne Moore Waldrop is a writer and attorney who loves telling stories about her native western Kentucky. She is the author of Drowned Town (University Press of Kentucky, 2021), an INDIES Book of the Year Award silver winner in fiction, and of Retracing My Steps (2019) and Pandemic Lent: A Season in Poems (2021), both published by Finishing Line Press. This is her debut children’s book.
You can get the book on the registration page, but it’s cheaper if you link below because we don’t pay extra service fees. Whatever is more convenient for you, we love to get you your books!
Mobility device access info:
While our store has ramp access to the right of the main entrance, the event space is more easily accessed by entering at Bayly Avenue. Please call the store when you arrive and we will be happy to welcome you via this entrance. This door is next to a loading zone for easy car access, and our parking lot reserved ADA spots are also close to this entrance.
A Journey in Color: The Art of Ellis Wilson tells the story of a young man’s determined path to become a classically trained artist. Growing up in rural Kentucky in the early twentieth century, Wilson needed to convince his family and neighbors that art was a path worth choosing over becoming a farmer or teacher.