It’s time for the annual Miami Book Fair International! The 2022 edition kicks off Nov. 13 and runs to Nov. 20. The fun street fair is scheduled for Nov. 18-20.
As usual, the author line-up is spectacular, with offerings for just about everyone. Authors include former Hurricanes football coach Jimmy Johnson, former Miami Dolphin Larry Csonka, musician Patti Smith, playwright/actor Harvey Fierstein, and a wonderful list of children’s book authors.
The finalists for National Book Awards are featured in a session on Nov. 19 at 10:30 a.m.
Former South Florida Middle Grade author Sherri Winston made the longlist for her book Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution published by Bloomsbury Books for Young Readers.
Winston wrote the book after reading a newspaper article about a girl who faced a choice of being kicked out of school or changing her hairstyle.
“I did research how prevalent it was and still continues to be,” she says. “Florida has been trying to pass a CROWN act. It’s languished where old bills go to die.”
There has even been action on the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN Act) at the federal level. The law bans race-based hair discrimination. It passed the House but still needs to be passed by the Senate.
When the book came out, Winston went to a bookseller event in New Orleans and found the book welcomed by the booksellers.
“I think I was surprised so many were familiar with them,” she says. “And so many voiced the need for it because of the continuing problem. Everyone had a story, a news story or school story where there was some sort of backlash to a student of color because of their hair.”
Because of how long it takes for a book to come out, Winston says she thought by the time it got into children’s hands, it would be a cautionary tale. Now she hopes the story will help make kids and adults aware of the problem.
In Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution, Lotus goes to a small Christian school where the kids harass her about her hair. She’s in danger of being suspended but she decides to fight against the discriminatory dress code.
“I wasn’t focused on her being African American. It’s not exclusive to us. It does seem to be exclusive to children of color. I wanted to tell that story,” she says. “This girl was a human beyond her hair. She had goals and dreams. She was someone who is forced to make a decision on whether or not to stand up for themselves and take charge of what’s happening to them. That was another aspect of that story for me.”
The concept of fairness permeates the book.
“I’m so overwhelmed and amazed that story even resonated that far,” she says.
Winston will be on a panel with Coral Gables middle grade author Christiana Diaz Gonzalez, author of Invisible: A Graphic Novel. Also on the panel are Maulik Pancholy author of Nikhil Out Loud and Chantel Acevedo, author of The Curse on Spectacle Key.
Other Florida authors include Brad Meltzer for The Lightning Rod, Marshall Jon Fisher for Seventeen and O: Miami, 1972 and the NFL’s Only Perfect Season and Craig Pittman who wrote Manatee Insanity: Inside the War Over Florida’s Most Famous Endangered Species.
For more information go to: MiamiBookFair.com.
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