‘Brother Authors’ inspiration for best-selling author

A best-selling children’s author says her new book, which just won the Coretta Scott King Book Award, was inspired by a UIC writing workshop, the African American Adolescent Male Summer Literacy Institute.

In her preface to Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America, Andrea Davis Pinkney writes: “The program participants, who referred to themselves as ‘Brother Authors,’ began each day’s three-hour session by standing and reciting their Preamble… ‘We, the Brother Authors, will seek to use language to define who we are… this we agree to, with a steadfast commitment to the ideals of justice, compassion, and a better humanity for all.’ … After spending time with these ‘Brother Authors,’ I knew I had to write ‘Hand in Hand.’ Their determination — and the image of them standing united, side by side — left an indelible impression on me.”

Alfred Tatum, associate professor of curriculum and director of the UIC Reading Clinic, began the summer institute five years ago.  It has received national attention from Scholastic Inc., which distributes Tatum’s reading curriculum, and from journalist Tavis Smiley, who featured Tatum in his PBS special, “Too Important to Fail.”

“The inspiration of the Brother Authors strikes again,” Tatum said. “I think the passions and visions shared in this book will encourage young people to live lives that are passionate toward justice, compassion and a better humanity for all.”