I Wanna See Laney’s House
Booth #504 Xulon Press

I spent the day at the NYC Book Expo and all I can say is, “Wow…what an incredible experience!” Standing in the main hall after getting my badge, I was zapped with visualizations of creativity in the form of the written word. Authors from Lupita Nyong’o to Stephen King or from Gary Chapman to little old me, each telling a story, fiction or nonfiction, reality or daydream, as uniquely talented human beings. I started off by visiting Xulon Press Booth #504 where my book, I Wanna See Laney’s House, was featured. It was exhilarating to know that my book was among the abundance of creations at the expo.

My first author visit was talk with George Takei. I have been an avid Star Trek fan since its inception, so meeting “Mr. Sulu” was very cool. George is now an author and an activist. He was introducing his graphic memoir, They Call Us Enemy, which tells the story of haunting childhood memories of experiencing internment in a Japanese concentration camp after the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

Through the eyes of his childhood self, George recounts the experiences and forces that ultimately shaped his own life, the Japanese community in America, and America itself. It is a compelling tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love. I enjoyed listening to him speak and was moved by the authentic tone of his story. I walked away with an excerpt from the graphic memoir which I passed along to my grandson.

Next was a panel discussion on the power of diversity. The diversity panelists included Skyler Whitehead, writer, photographer, content producer, and artist from Atlanta, GA; Celai West, co-author of The Parent’s Guide to Kids Runway and The Parent’s Guide to Kids Runway… for Brown Girls; Tiffany Jackman, storyteller, film maker, adjunct professor, and film teacher for inner-city youth; author and business educator, Reginald Meadows; makeup artist, Daurisa Tessier; and Dr Sheila Williams, an expert in her field, with a MA in Mental Health Counseling and a PhD in Leadership and Education. 

The discussion was moderated by Arkeah Jacobs, an alumna of Albany State University, who brings a broad background of knowledge and experience in establishing, leading, and maintaining organizations. Key takeaway: Black Authors Matter and we must take our place in telling the true story of diversity in America.

Other Day 1 events I attended:
The Power of Story: Diverse Books for All Readers featuring Daniel Jose Older as moderator, Da Chen, Sharon Robinson (daughter of Jackie Robinson), and Tim Tingle, Choctaw author, speaker and storyteller.

Key Takeaway: We are the story of American history. Each of us has something locked inside to contribute to the unrevision of American history. We are also the story of human history. The ability to express creativity through writing and storytelling is an amazing feat, a testimony to the uniqueness that lies within every human being who chooses creativity as their real thing. I found myself consumed by the power of story and walked away from Day 1 believing there is more inside of me to come.