CMA Stories

February 2020 Reading List: Black Culture Festival

Last Sunday, CMA partnered with It’s Showtime NYC to present performances and interactive workshops inspired by Black culture. Below are some of the books that they shared with guests combining freestyle movement with storytelling. Check out all of the photos from the festival on our Flickr!

Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan
In a story of the Ila people, the colorful birds of Africa ask Blackbird, whom they think is the most beautiful of birds, to decorate them.

Black Is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy, illustrated by Ekua Holmes
A child reflects on the meaning of being Black in this moving and powerful anthem about a people, a culture, a history and a legacy that lives on.

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes
Celebrates the magnificent feeling that comes from walking out of a barber shop with newly-cut hair.

Hair Love written by Matthew A. Cherry, illustrated by Vashti Harrison
A little girl’s daddy steps in to help her arrange her curly, coiling, wild hair into styles that allow her to be her natural, beautiful self.

Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins
A lyrical, empowering poem that celebrates black children and seeks to inspire all young ones to dream big and achieve their goals.

Nina: Jazz Legend and Civil Rights Activist Nina Simone by Alice Briere-Haquet
Shared as a lullaby to her daughter, a soulful song recounts Simone’s career, the trials she faced as an African American woman, and the stand she took during the Civil Rights Movement.

Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment by Jessica Curry, illustrated by Bea Jackson.
In a story inspired by the young author’s viral photo of her awestruck response to First Lady Michelle Obama’s portrait, a young girl visits Washington, D.C’s National Portrait Gallery and finds her life transformed by the historical examples of its subjects.

Thank You, Omu! written and illustrated by Oge Mora
When the aroma of Omu’s homemade stew fills the air, her neighbors arrive, one by one, for a taste until all is gone except for her generous spirit.

Someday Is Now: Clara Luper and the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-Ins written by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, illustrated by Jade Johnson
An inspirational story of the celebrated civil rights leader, Clara Luper, who led one of the first lunch-counter sit-ins in America.


This program is supported, in part, by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. This program is presented in partnership with It’s Showtime NYC! It’s Showtime NYC! (IST) celebrates New York City street culture and provides performance and professional development opportunities to street and subway dancers as a legal alternative to dancing in subway cars.

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