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Scholastic to launch “The Black Bookselling Conference: Connect. Build. Elevate.”

An Inaugural Free Virtual Conference on November 1, 2023


Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL), the global children’s publishing, education and media company, announced today The Black Bookselling Conference: Connect. Build. Elevate, a free virtual conference to take place on November 1, 2023. This initiative aims to support Black-owned bookstores, Black booksellers, and advocates by creating a curated space for dialogue and action. The Black Bookselling Conference will showcase a rich collection of books centering the histories and present-day realities of Black people in children’s literature while prioritizing Black stories, storytellers and the communities they serve and reflect.

The live, broadcast event will include robust panels featuring bestselling authors and illustrators such as Tami Charles, Alaya Dawn Johnson and Jamar Nicholas as well as educators in children’s literature. The conference will aim to raise discoverability of future publishing from Black creators. An anchor of the program will be an open forum with Scholastic’s Trade publishing professionals to offer bookselling tools, merchandising materials and resources. In this session, a variety of topics and areas will be discussed, all with the purpose of providing a greater understanding of how best to support Black independent booksellers to achieve both their revenue and community goals. At the conclusion, attendees will be invited to participate in breakout sessions that blend community engagement and professional growth.

As part of conference registration, attendees will receive in the mail a complimentary kit in advance of the event that will include a copy of each participating author’s book, exclusive promotional materials, resources and more to support the programming throughout the event. Scholastic will also provide an accessibility grant to offset potential lost compensation resulting from attending the conference, aiming to increase access to the event.

To affirm the conference’s mission, Scholastic formed a steering committee of Black booksellers from around the country, including members from the American Bookseller Association and regional Trade organizations. They have been actively involved in the planning process, serving as ambassadors and helping to curate and weigh in on content that will deeply resonate and serve as a contribution to the Black bookselling community.

“We are thrilled to support the Black bookselling community from around the country with a much-needed platform focused on this vital group of professionals,” said Ellie Berger, EVP and President of Scholastic Trade Publishing. “With the strategic contributions from the steering committee, The Black Bookselling Conference will foster community while sharing an amazing slate of Scholastic authors and illustrators. We hope this conference sparks lively discussions and that participants feel empowered and walk away with new tools to enrich  their bookstores.”

“My hope for the Black Booksellers Conference is to help open the door to leveling the playing field,” said Julia Davis, owner of The Bookworm Bookstore. “So often we struggle to get some of the big-name authors, the financing and so much more to help us to not only stay open but to help make a difference in our community. The Black Bookseller Conference could be a great asset not only to the booksellers but the publisher, allowing the concerns and differences to be heard plus providing education and resources that black bookstores don’t always have access to.”

About Scholastic: For more than 100 years, Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) has been encouraging the personal and intellectual growth of all children, beginning with literacy. Having earned a reputation as a trusted partner to educators and families, Scholastic is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, a leading provider of literacy curriculum, professional services, and classroom magazines, and a producer of educational and entertaining children’s media. The Company creates and distributes bestselling books and e-books, print and technology-based learning programs for pre-K to grade 12, and other products and services that support children’s learning and literacy, both in school and at home. With international operations and exports in more than 135 countries, Scholastic makes quality, affordable books available to all children around the world through school-based book clubs and book fairs, classroom libraries, school and public libraries, retail, and online. Learn more at

For more information about Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL), visit the Company’s media room:  

Participating Authors:

  • Shakirah Bourne, Nightmare Island
  • Tami Charles, We Are Here
  • Alaya Dawn Johnson, The Library of Broken Worlds
  • Bernard Mensah, Kwame’s Magic Quest
  • Tanisia Moore, I Am My Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams
  • Jamar Nicholas, Leon the Extraordinary
  • Jonathan Todd, Timid: A Graphic Novel
  • Traci N. Todd, Holding Her Own: The Exceptional Life of Jackie Ormes

Steering Committee:

  • Isis Asare, owner, sistah scifi
  • Linda Marie Barrett, director, SIBA Southern Indie Bookseller Association
  • Tameca Blossom-Lyons, owner, Brown Babies Books
  • Kathy Burnette, owner, Brain Lair Books 
  • Julia Davis, owner, The Book Worm Bookstore
  • Heather Duncan, director, MPIBA Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association
  • Candice Huber, membership relations coordinator, SIBA Southern Indie Bookseller Association
  • D.J. Johnson, owner, Baldwin and Co. 
  • Carrie Obrey, director, MIBA Midwest Independent Booksellers Association
  • Kristin Rasmussen, CALIBA California Indie Bookseller Alliance
  • Robin Wood, bookseller/social media coordinator, Books & Books/SIBA Southern Indie Bookseller Association
  • K.C. Boyd, School Library Media Specialist, SLJ School Librarian of the Year, Washington D.C.

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