Special readings for Black History Month

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Center for Faith & the Arts will celebrate Black History Month with the reading of three Coretta Scott King Book Award recipient children’s books by local community members.

The event will be Friday, Feb. 6, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Literary Bookpost, 110 S. Main St.  Readings are at 5:30, 6:15 and 7 p.m.

Featured Books that will be read aloud include:

“When the Beat was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop,” written by Laban Carrick Hill and illustrated by Theodore Taylor III.

“Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me” written by Daniel Beaty and illustrated by Bryan Collier.

“Ellen’s Broom” written by Kelly Starling Lyons and illustrated by Daniel Minter.

The three featured children’s books, along with other Coretta Scott King Book Award recipients, will be available for purchase. Information on the Coretta Scott King Book Award will be displayed.

The book awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.

Poet Laureate to be installed

Shelby Stephenson, award winning poet, educator and recipient of a North Carolina Award for literature, will be installed as the state’s poet laureate in a ceremony with Gov. Pat McCrory on Monday, Feb. 2, 5:30 p.m., in the historic State Capitol.

“Shelby Stephenson’s poetry expresses the heart and spirit of our land and people,” said McCrory. “He is a wonderful representative of the outstanding traditions of poetry and literature that are such important parts of our state’s cultural heritage.”

Stephenson was a professor of English and editor of Pembroke Magazine until his retirement in 2010. He was inducted in 2014 to the N.C. Literary Hall of Fame and received the state’s highest civilian honor, a North Carolina Award for literature in 2001.

He also received the Oscar Arnold Young Award from the Poetry Council of N.C., the Bellday Poetry Prize and the Brockman-Campbell Book Award. From 2004 to 2005, he was a North Carolina Poetry Society Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet.

“Shelby Stephenson brings a deep appreciation of North Carolina to his new role as an ambassador of North Carolina literature,” said Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz. “His appointment as Poet Laureate is a wonderful new chapter in North Carolina’s rich literary history.”

Stephenson, like his father, is a storyteller and his poems are about his life. His book, “The Persimmon Tree Carol,” is dedicated to the memory of his father, William Paul Stephenson.

“I believe that poetry exists in every living thing. My poetry connects the local and the universal and is grounded in memory of the land and people of North Carolina,” Stephenson said. “Poetry salvaged my life. I am happy to wake up and write. I enjoy helping others see themselves anew.”

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