Every year, a list of books representing the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands is distributed by the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book during the National Book Festival. Each book is selected by a local Center for the Book or state library. Books may be written by authors from the state, take place in the state, or celebrate the state’s culture and heritage. This list began with mostly books for young readers, but an adult list was added in 2022, so each year, states pick both a Young Readers’ Selection and an Adult Readers’ Selection. View Georgia’s 2023 selections and those of the other participants here. Watch videos with previous years’ honorees and other events done in conjunction with the National Book Festival and affiliate centers for the book here.
Mama’s Home is a gorgeously illustrated picture book about a young girl who basks in the love of her community – which includes not only her mother but the many different women who make up her world. Home can be a blue house with white trim you share with your mama. But it can be bigger than that, with lots of Big Mamas to take care of you when your mom works — different houses for every day of the week. Mondays mean Nurse Louella and bike riding. Tuesdays mean eating fufu with your fingers with Miss Zikora. And Wednesdays … well, no matter where you are, as long as you are with your Big Mamas, you are home. This book is a powerful love letter to chosen families and the villages that raise us, from Pushcart Prize-winning author Shay Youngblood and popular illustrator Lo Harris.
Bress ‘n’ Nyam includes more than 100 heirloom recipes from a dynamic chef and farmer working the lands of his great-great-great grandfather. From Hot Buttermilk Biscuits and Sweet Potato Pie to Salmon Cakes on Pepper Rice and Gullah Fish Stew, Gullah Geechee food is an essential cuisine of American history. It is the culinary representation of the ocean, rivers, and rich fertile loam in and around the coastal South. From the Carolinas to Georgia and Florida, this is where descendants of enslaved Africans came together to make extraordinary food, speaking the African Creole language called Gullah Geechee. In this groundbreaking and beautiful cookbook, Matthew Raiford pays homage to this cuisine that nurtured his family for seven generations. In 2010, Raiford’s Nana handed over the deed to the family farm to him and his sister, and Raiford rose to the occasion, nurturing the farm that his great-great-great grandfather, a freed slave, purchased in 1874. In this collection of heritage and updated recipes, he traces a history of community and family brought together by food.
In Impossible Moon, a young girl undertakes an impossible trip to the moon, makes friends with the stars, and brings back something priceless in this gentle and lyrically told picture book about family, history, and memory. Grana used to tell the best stories, and Mabel used to long to soar through the heavens. Nowadays, Grana mostly lies in bed and Mabel stays close to home. But one day, Grana asks, “If we can touch the moon, then what is impossible?” So Mabel decides to do just that, embarking on a journey through the stars where The Seven Sistahs, The Big Dipper, and other constellations help her on her quest and teach her about African mythology and African American history. With the support of her new companions, Mabel reaches for her biggest dream yet: to make her sick grandma well again.
From National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize – winning author Alice Walker and edited by critic and writer Valerie Boyd, comes an unprecedented compilation of Walker’s fifty years of journals drawing an intimate portrait of her development over five decades as an artist, human rights and women’s activist, and intellectual. For the first time, the edited journals of Alice Walker are gathered together to reflect the complex, passionate, talented, and acclaimed Pulitzer Prize winner of The Color Purple. She intimately explores her thoughts and feelings as a woman, a writer, an African-American, a wife, a daughter, a mother, a lover, a sister, a friend, a citizen of the world. In an unvarnished and singular voice, she explores an astonishing array of events: marching in Mississippi with other foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement, led by Martin Luther King, Jr.; her marriage to a Jewish lawyer, defying laws that barred interracial marriage in the 1960s South; an early miscarriage; writing her first novel; the trials and triumphs of the Women’s Movement; erotic encounters and enduring relationships; the ancestral visits that led her to write The Color Purple; winning the Pulitzer Prize; being admired and maligned, sometimes in equal measure, for her work and her activism; and burying her mother. A powerful blend of Walker’s personal life with political events, this revealing collection offers rare insight into a literary legend.
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