Interview with College Professor and Poet, Carole Boston Weatherford
The multi-talented and transcendent Carole Boston Weatherford talks about how she scaffolds her English class assignments to meet the needs of all learners, how she channeled Billie Holiday’s voice while writing Becoming Billie Holiday which led to other masterful books such as Birmingham, 1963 and Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement, and that the author and teacher’s influence extends far beyond a single reader turning a page or the students sitting in front of us.
In addition to channeling, Carole talks about how authors and illustrators create heart projects for one another. During this part of the discussion, Carole talks about Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre illustrated by Floyd Cooper and Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library illustrated by Eric Velasquez.
We dive into Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom. Originally, Carole had written this text as a picture book. Then, two amazing picture book biographies debuted about Henry Brown which were both illustrated by artists Carole had previously collaborated with, Henry's Freedom Box illustrated by Kadir Nelson and Freedom Song illustrated by Sean Quails. So, she rewrote the manuscript for older readers and created a masterpiece that is not only an ode to Henry Brown but whose structure highlights the confinement of slavery and the box Henry Brown travelled in to mail himself to freedom.
We also talked about these other amazing books Carole has written:
Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins
The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip Hop
I, Matthew Henson: Polar Explorer
You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen
Beauty Mark Conjures an Icon: A Verse Novel of Marilyn Monroe
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom
R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul
During the episode, Carole talks about how two books by Jacqueline Woodson, The Other Side and Coming on Home Soon influenced her own writing.
Carole believes every classroom should have the following books:
1) Carver: A Life in Poems by Marilyn Nelson
This is a biography in verse about botanist and professor George Washington Carver.
2) The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra: The Sound of Joy is Enlightening by Chris Raschka
This biography marks the centennial of this jazz great's birth.
3) What Can You Do with a Voice Like That?: The Story of the Remarkable Congresswoman Barbara Jordan written by Chris Barton and illustrated by Ekua Holmes
If you live near Boston, be sure to check out the MFA's exhibit featuring Ekua Holmes' work.
4) William Still and his Freedom Stories: Father of the Underground Railroad by Don Tate
The father of the underground railroad kept meticulous records which helped reunite families after the emancipation.
5) Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Phillip Freelon by Kelly Starling Lyons
This late architect from North Carolina headed up the creation of the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington DC.
6) Shirley Chisholm Dared: The Story of the first Black Woman in Congress by Alicia D. Williams
Listen here to Chalk + Ink's interview with Alicia.
This episode’s giveaway is amazing. It’s a picture book manuscript from Carole Boston Weatherford. There are several ways to enter: 1) Tweet or retweet this episode and be sure to tag me and Carole, 2) Make a comment below on this post, 3) Make a comment about the episode on our Chalk + Ink Facebook page; and 4) Become a Chalk + Ink Patreon supporter. Patreon supporters are automatically entered into each giveaway. Each one of these actions is the equivalent of one entry which means people can have up to four entries for each giveaway. In order to enter the giveaway, these actions must be completed by midnight on Friday, September seventeenth. The winner will be announced on Friday, September 24th, on the podcast as well as on Twitter and on our Facebook page.
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Finally, I want to give a shout out to Sarah Brannen for Chalk + Ink’s podcast art. If you want to make the most out of these last few summer weeks, be sure to check out Sarah’s A Perfect Day for some summertime fun.
Chalk and Ink
Chalk and Ink is a biweekly podcast that publishes on Fridays throughout the school year. Learn how teachers who write and writers who teach combine craft moves to create outstanding products for their students and readers. Download Chalk and Ink wherever you get your favorite podcasts.