Introducing the MCBD Board of Advisors! These fine folks were hand-picked based on their commitment and passion for diversity in children’s literacy and are on the front lines of education and community building.
Ayanna Coleman is the founder of the boutique, high-level marketing firm Quill Shift LLC. She has an educational background in marketing and English literature and has worked in the publishing industry within publishing houses, literary agencies, as a book reviewer, and many years as a children’s librarian. She also earned a Master of Science degree in Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, one of the top programs in the United States.
Ayanna has spoken at conferences in front of hundreds, crafted panels and programming for myriad audiences, and connected with organizations and individuals within the education, consumer and professional services, media, nonprofit, and financial industry groups.
Through it all, she found her passion in supporting thought leaders, mission-driven experts, and organizations who serve marginalized communities to elevate their voices and find the tools and systems that work for them so that they can make their dreams and missions a reality.
Longtime literary and nonprofit work, multiple inheritances, and migratory motherhood inform Sun Cooper’s love for storytelling and shared progress.
Sun is based in Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma, and has navigated over twenty years in publishing as a writer, editor, project manager, and multicultural literary & publishing consultant. Having a hearing disability from birth has forged her vision beyond perceived boundaries and facilitation for deep listening. Her multiple inheritances as a daughter of Indigenous, migrant, and settler ancestors shape her commitment to shared progress.
As the Founder and Director of Sun Literary, she leads a diverse women-led agency specializing in multicultural writing, editing, and DEIA cultural book reviews for traditional, hybrid, and digital publishing projects. Sun Literary has been at the forefront of implementing Own Voice representation & narratives at all levels of publishing — from leadership to manuscript & content creation to reviews — with a unique methodology centering on shared progress.
Sun is a member of the Read Your World Board of Advisors, as well as the National Diversity Council, National Association of the Deaf, American Indian Library Association, SCBWI, National Association of Female Executives and Entrepreneurs, and the Diversability Leadership Collective. She also serves as a multicultural advisor for A Room of Her Own Foundation and was named its 2015 Blackbird Fellow. Her award-winning collaborative projects have been featured in WAVES: A Confluence of Women’s Voices, National Geographic, People, Severine, Hill Lily, American Cowboy, Southern Writers, and UNUM.
Deedee Cummings is a licensed attorney and therapist in Louisville, KY. She is a graduate of the first Historically Black College for Women in the country, Bennett College in Greensboro, NC, and the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville. Deedee holds a Bachelor of Psychology, a Master of Education in Counseling Psychology, and a Juris Doctorate degree. Over her career spanning more than two decades, she has experienced how easy it is for us to become discouraged, even to the point of giving up. Working in foster care proved especially tough.
Deedee began writing books as a way to help process the trauma of this work and also has assisted dozens of foster children with writing their own stories. She focuses her writing on powerful, inspiring, and uplifting messages intended to center us, connect us, motivate us, and remind us all to begin again. Deedee and her husband Anthony experience a wide range of growing pains with three children ranging in age from 9 to 25! You can learn more about her and her work on her website makeawaymedia.com.
E.H. Curtis is an archivist of English ancestry and a proud member of the vast and diverse 2SLGBTQAI+ community based on the unceded lands of the Squamish, Musqueam & Tsleil-Waututh Nations – colonially known as Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. They have served as a metadata developer, repository coordinator, project manager, collection development analyst, librarian, and researcher, among other roles within equity-seeking communities and settler-colonial organizations and institutions in Canada and the United States for over the last 15 years. Over the years, they have found that the most rewarding work has come when working in a community where deeply meaningful intergenerational and cross-cultural teachings and lessons of love, acceptance, diversity, resiliency, and thriving happen.
Having served as an archivist on government grant-funded initiatives including American Heritage Preservation, National Historical Publications and Records Commission, and the BC Capacity Initiative (Government of Canada) whose responsibilities centered on facilitating wider access to heritage information resources of historical significance to current and future generations, made visible the ever-present and continued need for advocacy and action towards enhanced visibility and access to the broad and diverse spectrum of primary source materials (diaries, interviews, stories, photos, and other tangible and intangible evidence of our cultural heritages) that illustrate our collective past histories for this and the next generation of youth, their families and the communities in which we live, work and play.
They hold a Master of Library Science and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Queens College, City University of New York, and Concordia University (Tiohtià:ke/Montréal, Québec) respectively, and is a frequent participant and advocate of 2SLGBTQAI+ history and heritage projects. She joins the Board of Advisors for Multicultural Children’s Book Day (#Read Your World) to support and uplift diverse representation and narratives in children’s literature in service to healthy lives and communities. They hold past affiliations with The Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York, Special Libraries Association – New York Chapter, and the Archives Association of British Columbia.
Karin Fisher-Golton is the author of the award-winning board book, My Amazing Day: A Celebration of Wonder and Gratitude, four folktales for a reading program for people with dyslexia, and poems in several anthologies. As a freelance children’s book editor, she helps authors realize their visions and reach young audiences effectively. She’s given particular attention to how children’s books reflect our world since studying children’s literature in an Elementary Education program, almost thirty years ago. Her writing life has been interspersed with teaching children in a variety of lively settings, most recently as an afterschool poetry teacher.
Karin worked with the MCBD team to change the yearly date of MCBD so that it would not conflict with International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day designated by the United Nations “to instill the memory of the tragedy in future generations to prevent genocide from occurring again.” Read more about that here: https://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/tag/karin-fisher-golton/.
Based in the San Francisco Bay Area—just a few miles from Berkeley, California where she was raised—Karin feels fortunate to live in one of the most diverse areas in the world. Learn more about Karin and her work at: https://karinfisher-golton.com.
World Music children’s performer DARIA (Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou) has spent four decades performing in the USA and around the world, creating music to inspire all the world’s children. Along with multiple Parent’s Choice Awards and numerous national awards for her culturally diverse music, Daria is a published author of world music teaching resources that introduce children to global cultures through music, world music instruments, and musical play.
Along with bilingual versions of popular world music songs, Daria’s “I Have A Dream” Song is used widely to celebrate MLK Day. Her Earth Day anthem is used in over a dozen different countries around the world. Her “Beautiful Rainbow World” song is used in Australia as part of a “Respecting Others” curriculum, and in South African schools as part of an anti-Apartheid initiative. That same song was used as the text for BEAUTIFUL RAINBOW WORLD, a global photography book that features dazzling images of multicultural and mixed-race children from around the planet. In 2022, DARIA was given a Global Music Award for her pandemic anthem to healthcare workers, “Thanks To The Doctors And Nurses”. She was also given a prestigious Art And Social Change grant from the Leeway Foundation in Philadelphia in 2022.
Born in the US but raised in rural South America, DARIA is an advocate for Native American rights and indigenous languages. She speaks and sings in multiple languages and continues to write and speak out about topics that include human rights, women’s issues, LGBTQ rights, inclusion, and the immigrant experience in the USA. You can find out more, here: linktr.ee/dariaworldmusicgal
Jennie McDonald is the Director of Publishing Partnerships at Collaborative Classroom. She is responsible for the organization’s evolving trade book strategy and works closely with publishing partners (literacy organizations, publishers, authors, and agents) throughout the country to acquire the children’s literature necessary for Collaborative Classroom’s programs and to curate the associated classroom libraries. She has developed a series of author interviews and related blogs to support teachers and students who wish to learn more about writers and writing and leads the diversity review of program and library literature for the organization. Whenever possible she joins a class in a nearby elementary school to support students during reading time.
Jennie began her career in trade publishing at the Ecco Press in New York and spent the next two decades working on both coasts as a literary agent, subsidiary rights director, editor, writer, and publishing consultant. She completed the Radcliffe College Publishing Procedures Course at Harvard University, attended the University of London, and graduated from the University of Oregon with Honors in English Literature.
Jodi Murphy is the founder of Geek Club Books, an autism nonprofit committed to creating a world where autistic individuals are fully accepted, valued, and have a voice. She is the producer of the Dorktales Storytime Podcast, a family-fun series of geeky retellings of classic fairy tales and true stories about hidden heroes of history.
Previously, Jodi was a freelance marketing specialist working for clients in a variety of industries, a journalist in the luxury lifestyle industry, and co-founder of Nesting Newbies, one of the first independent lifestyle digital magazines.
Jadyn is a student at American University in Washington, D.C. majoring in Justice/Law and Film. With previous experience working in a public library for many years, Jadyn sees how accessibility to representative content can impact a community.
One of Jadyn’s most memorable moments is speaking (and fist-bumping) with Michelle Obama at one of her favorite bookstores in D.C. She hopes that serving on the advisory board will provide MCBD with a young, passionate perspective on the importance of BIPOC voices in all forms of media, especially children’s books!
She is also on the board of Little Black Library where she serves as Library Outreach.
Jimmie Quick is an unlikely homeschool advocate, and yet her entire livelihood now revolves around this school choice option. As a public school teacher with National Teacher Certification in Early Adolescent Language Arts, she had every intention of sending her daughter to school. But when kindergarten rolled around, they were expats in China. Instead of being a worst-case scenario, homeschooling was the ideal environment for her creative child to thrive, and Jimmie loved it!
Using a literature-rich curriculum with lots of exploration in the fine arts and hands-on science, she homeschooled Emma all the way through high school. Living in China provided invaluable opportunities for travel and a bilingual childhood. Emma is currently in a gap year between college and graduate school.
Jimmie works as a self-employed marketing consultant, helping companies in the homeschool niche. In her hometown of Memphis, TN she volunteers as a head coach for tutoring second graders via Arise2Read. To learn more, follow her on Twitter.
Barbara B. Richardson, Ph.D.
Barbara is an African American mother of two and a grandmother of five. She grew up in racially segregated Williamsburg, Virginia. Her community consisted of only two groups of people — African Americans and Anglo-Americans. In 1954, she entered Wheaton College, a women’s college in New England, where she was the only African-American graduate in the class of 1958.
After finishing college, Barbara worked as a social worker in the Department of Social Service (DSS) in Boston. Being unable to help clients realize the goal of the DSS – creating financially independent families – Barbara decided to pursue a Master’s Degree in Social Work at Howard University.
After completing her Master’s degree, she worked with racially and culturally diverse families in New York City and Philadelphia. From her experiences with these families and with immigrants from around the world, she learned that race was not the source of differences. It was culture.
Barbara and her family settled in Altadena, California. She wanted to ensure her children had access to learn about culturally diverse peoples and the differences between race and culture. She found the Children’s School at Pacific Oaks College, a children’s preschool at the Quaker-founded Graduate college, where her children attended from ages three until six.
While her children progressed through primary school, Barbara joined the faculty at Pacific Oaks College, where she directed and taught courses in the Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling (MFCC) degree program. Simultaneously, she earned her Ph.D. in Education at Claremont University Center in Pomona, CA, with the dissertation topic, Parenting Black Children in a Racist Society.
As a mother, social worker, and educator, Barbara saw the need for children of all cultures to see themselves reflected in the books they read. Today, Barbara enjoys diverse picture books, raising orchids, traveling, and the company of her children’s families.
Shira Schindel is a publishing professional with a passion for technology and adaptation to new formats. She’s also a lover of Kidlit with an MFA in Writing Books for Children and Young Adults for Vermont College of Fine Arts and a B.A. in Creative Writing from Columbia University. Shira lives in upper Manhattan with her partner and their toddler, where they can all be found cycling around.
Tamara is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur. She is rewriting and updating her children’s book series. The seven-book series Just Imagine…What If There Were No Black People in the World? about African American inventors, scientists, and other notable African Americans in history. The first two books in the series Jaxon’s Magical Adventure with Black Inventors and Scientists and Jaxon and Kevin’s Black History Trip Downtown are published. She has also created companion books which include a coloring book, activity book, and Jaxon’s Journal to accompany the first book in the series. She’s written a picture book, Cameron Teaches Black History, for Scholastic that will be available in June 2022.
The other books in the series are (3) Women Inventors and Scientists (4) Jaxon Meets Black Cowboys from the Old West and (5) Jaxon’s Black History Trip to NASA (6) African American Artists, Sculptures and Other Arts, and (7) African American Composers, Classical and Concert Musicians and Opera Singers are forthcoming.
She presently writes the weekly Black History column for the Post Newspaper; she’s written articles for the Richmond Pulse and recorded 2-minute Black History vignettes for the gospel station KDYA. She also writes a weekly eNewletter of regarding multicultural books and historical information. Her podcast Once Upon a Time in Black History will launch in April 2022.
Tamara speaks on the importance of teaching Black History all year, including engagements as the keynote speaker for the Las Vegas NAACP, Chevron’s Black History Month program, the Tuskegee Airmen Corporation’s 32nd Annual dinner in Denver; and speaking engagements with the El Cerrito NAACP, various Rotary groups, Richmond Kiwanis Clubs, Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, and various other organizations and schools.
She teaches a Professional Development Class on how to incorporate Black History into lesson plans and curriculum all year – providing educators with information, examples, samples, and lesson plans.
She is the owner of the Multicultural Children’s Bookstore in Richmond, CA. The bookstore focuses on books from many cultures and genres including African American, Latino, Asian/South Asian, and Native American as well as Biracial, Disability, Diversity and LGBTQI, Social Justice, STEM Teen/Adult, Babies, Graphic Novels, and Black History books.
Affiliations: Bay Area Girls Club (Advisory board), Youth Service Bureau (Board), Rotary (member previous board member), Kiwanis (member), Richmond Chamber (Board), BAIPA (member previous board), EduGlobal Las Vegas (Board), Friends of Richmond Library (Board). Learn more from her website, and bookstore website, and find her on Facebook, Twitter @ tamarashiloh102, and Instagram @mcb_bookstore.
Nancy Tupper Ling
Nancy Tupper Ling is a children’s author, poet, bookseller, and librarian. Basically, she surrounds herself with books! Occasionally, she creates a few books of her own, including:
My Sister, Alicia May; The Story I’ll Tell; Double Happiness; The Yin-Yang Sisters and her latest, For Every Little Thing, with co-author, June Cotner. To learn more, check out her website and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Dr. Valerie Williams-Sanchez
Valerie Williams-Sanchez, Ph.D. is an author/illustrator of the self-published children’s book series called the Cocoa Kids Collection®. She is a passionate advocate for multicultural literature, “OWN voices” self-publishing, and empowered literacy for readers of all ages. A fully employed brand and marketing executive, Dr. Valerie’s involvement with MCBD is a part-time endeavor that is an extension of the advocacy and interests she has cultivated through academia and her professional life.
Specifically, Dr. Valerie earned her doctoral degree in literacy through St. John’s University, New York; a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, New York, and a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Further, Dr. Valerie studied Spanish art, history, language, and culture at the Universidad de Salamanca, in Spain, as an undergraduate.
Dr. Valerie is a former journalist in the U.S. and Spain, who has written and contributed to articles and essays in publications like the Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Miami Herald, Orange County Business Journal, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Injuve Magazine (Spain), and More Magazine, online.
A Black-woman-owned business founder, Dr. Valerie is mom to her biracial daughter Lorena, 26, Auntie to her biracial nephew Isaiah, 15, and educator to countless at-risk and special needs children.