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Centering Black Creators, the second part of the series Black Voices: Pushing for Change in Children’s Book Publishing, explores the journeys of Black authors and illustrators. What are institutional barriers to success? How can the industry disrupt racism and support Black creators? How can Black creators advocate and advance? Join us for a conversation and leave with valuable tips and information about our initiative to help support Black authors.

This video is restricted to Authors Guild members. Please visit the seminar recordings page or contact us for the password.


Judy Allen Dodson is a librarian and archivist who has extensive experience working with special collections and local history research. As a children’s book writer, Judy is the recipient of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’s On-the-Verge Emerging Voices Award for her manuscript Fast Friends. Her mission is to help foster a growing community of North Carolina writers. She holds a B.A. in communications from Western Michigan University and an M.L.S. from North Carolina Central University.

Floyd Cooper has had a prolific career in children’s publishing, authoring more than 100 children’s books and illustrating more than 2,000 book covers. He has received considerable recognition and praise for his work, including several NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Literary Work, Children’s nominations; the 2011 Independent Publisher Book Awards gold medal in children’s picture books; the 2018 Phoenix Award Honor; and 3 Coretta Scott King Honors and multiple American Library Association Notable Children’s Books awards. He was also the 2009 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Illustrator winner.  The Kwanzaa Forever Stamp Design (2018) is his first project for the United States Postal Service. 

Cheryl Davis is the general counsel of the Authors Guild. Prior to joining the Guild, she was a partner at the firm of Menaker & Herrmann LLP, where she specialized in intellectual property and wrote a number of articles and made presentations about how artists can protect their intellectual property.

Zetta Elliot is the award-winning author of over 30 books for young readers, including Dragons in a Bag and A Place Inside of Me. Her first collection of poetry, Say Her Name, was published in January. Her essays on racial disparities in children’s publishing have appeared in The Huffington Post, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich is the author of 8th Grade Superzero, a Notable Book for a Global Society. She is the co-author of the NAACP Image Award-nominated Two Naomis, and its sequel, Naomis Too. Her nonfiction work includes Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow, and the picture book biography Someday Is Now: Clara Luper and the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-Ins. Olugbemisola has contributed to WE RISE, WE RESIST, WE RAISE OUR VOICES, and edited the middle grade anthology The Hero Next Door. Find her on Instagram @olugbemisolarhudayperkovich  and Twitter @olugbemisola.

Kelly Starling Lyons is an award-winning children’s book author, teaching artist, and founding member of The Brown Bookshelf ( Her latest titles are Tiara’s Hat Parade, Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon, Sing a Song: How “Lift Every Voice & Sing” Inspired Generations, and Going Down Home with Daddy. Her mission is to create books that center Black heroes; celebrate family, friendship, and heritage; and show all children the storyteller they hold inside.