This week, the Delaware County District Library is thrilled to host “A Conversation with Damon Mosley” on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. in the Delaware Main Library. Join writer, producer, and publisher Damon Mosley in a discussion co-hosted by the Delaware African American Heritage Council and the library, followed by a meet and greet and a book signing of “Smile for We.”
Mosley’s second book, “Smile for We,” was released as part of a movement to stop negative stereotypes portrayed in movies and on TV of Black men. He decided he wanted to help the world see Black men in a different light, so he grabbed his camera and went outside to find beauty all across the United States.
The book is comprised of 32 images that, on their face, look like very nice portraits. However, Mosley explains in his introduction that he’s taking the stereotype out of the box to help Black men, teens, and boys separate themselves from the stigma.
Mosley hopes that, as more teens are caught up in violence, his book can also serve as a positive influence, full of role models for younger generations.
The conversation on Sept. 22 will be led by Johnnie Jackson, MBA, diversity and equity supervisor for Marion City Schools. Jackson plans to discuss how Mosley became an author, the inspiration for the book, defining language, and exploring and reframing themes. They’ll discuss how negative images of Black men — in news coverage, entertainment, and politics — have translated into actual legislation against the Black community, and why that calls for the need to rebrand through positive images.
If you’re curious about Damon Mosley or want to preorder the book prior to the conversation on Thursday, you may visit www.smileforwe.com. Registration for the event is not required and attendees may join for free. If you’d like reminders of the event, go to www.delawarelibrary.org/event and add your name to the registration box to receive updates in advance of the program.
Teen librarian Shannon recently created a booklist titled Black Boy Joy that is comprised of books celebrating Black men and boys. When you register for the program, you’ll receive a digital copy of these titles and more in advance. A paper copy will also be made available at the program.
• “Black Boy Joy” edited by Kwame Mbalia. From seventeen acclaimed Black male and nonbinary authors comes a vibrant collection of stories, comics, and poems about the power of joy and the wonders of Black boyhood.
• “The Crossover” by Kwame Alexander. Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.
• “I Am Every Good Thing” by Derrick Barnes. The confident Black narrator of this book is proud of everything that makes him who he is. He’s got big plans, and no doubt he’ll see them through—as he’s creative, adventurous, smart, funny, and a good friend. Sometimes he falls, but he always gets back up. And other times he’s afraid, because he’s so often misunderstood and called what he is not. So slow down and really look and listen, when somebody tells you — and shows you — who they are. There are superheroes in our midst!
• “Little Legends: Exceptional Black Men in History” by Vashti Harrison. Profiles thirty-five prominent men in African American history, including James Armistead Lafayette, Thurgood Marshall, Alvin Ailey, and Leland Melvin. Among these biographies, readers will find aviators and artists, politicians and pop stars, athletes and activists. The legends in this book span centuries and continents, but what they have in common is that each one has blazed a trail for generations to come.
• “Clean Getaway” by Nic Stone. For the life of him, William “Scoob” Lamar can’t seem to stay out of trouble—and now the run-ins at school have led to lockdown at home. So when G’ma, Scoob’s favorite person on Earth, asks him to go on an impromptu road trip, he’s in the RV faster than he can say FREEDOM. With G’ma’s old maps and a strange pamphlet called the ‘Travelers’ Green Book’ at their side, the pair takes off on a journey down G’ma’s memory lane. But adventure quickly turns to uncertainty: G’ma keeps changing the license plate, dodging Scoob’s questions, and refusing to check Dad’s voice mails. And the farther they go, the more Scoob realizes that the world hasn’t always been a welcoming place for kids like him, and things aren’t always what they seem — G’ma included.