“Black Children Have To See Themselves In Books, In Movies, and on T.V.” – Alison Clarke Speaks with Tundun Adeyemo of Jacana Books
Award-winning author, Alison Clarke sat down with Tundun Adeyemo of Jacana Books to discuss her book series, “The Sisterhood” and the importance of representation in books.
The Sisterhood is a young adult fantasy novel about Oppie, a sorceress’ daughter, and her best friend, Aurie, who is a dragon, and the journey they go on to save the universe.
Alison won the award 2016 Writer Of The Year by Diversity magazine for the first book in the series “The Sisterhood”. Other books in the series are Racine and Circle, which was released on November 27, 2018.
See excerpts from the interview with Jacana books below….
How did it feel to win 2016 Writer Of The Year by Diversity magazine?
I was happy to receive the award, as it recognized my work in the community and my passion for creating literature. It was an honour to receive it, and was a culmination of years of work, on my path of being an author.
Can you speak to the importance of libraries in the formation of a child’s curiosity?
Libraries, home to stories, the word, is a spark to the Imagination, which is a spark to learning. Being open to different ideas is part of being curious, part of being open to the world around you. This is essential for everyone, not just children.
As an author, who influenced you growing up?
My mom, dad, my uncle, aunts, as well as authors such as Alice Walker and Toni Morrison, who had a lot to say about the black female experience. Also, in terms of fantasy, as a child, I enjoyed reading books such as Journey To The Center Of The Earth by Jules Verne, The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz by L. Frank Baum, and Miss Pickerell by Ellen MacGregor. When I was younger, I also read novels such as Anne Of Green Gables, and the whole Anne series by L.M. Montgomery, which had an empowering female protagonist, as well as Nancy Drew, and other series that had strong, intelligent young women as protagonists.
Your book is about a black, female protagonist. Do you feel there is a gap in the market for heroes who are female and black?
Why is this sort of messaging important?
It is important, because black children have to see themselves in books, in movies, and on T.V. As a child of colour growing up, I didn’t have that opportunity. There weren’t many black women or men as protagonists in books, on T.V. or in the movies. Things have started to change, but we have a long way to go.