Oh darlings, what a time we had last week in the last installment of “Good Night, MyBrownBaby!” I read one of my favorite children’s picture books ever—Faith Ringgold’s “Tar Beach,” based on one of this fine artist’s most famous story quilts. I love everything about “Tar Beach”—the story, the collection of words she uses to tell it, the adorable main character, Cassie Mae Lightfoot, and especially the art. In fact, before I read “Tar Beach,” I revealed a beautiful rendition the Girlpie, Mari, made of one of my favorite moments in the book—a stunning piece of art that hangs in our family dining room. Yes, my love or “Tar Beach” is that serious!

If you missed the reading, or you just want to watch it with your babies again, the video is up top—just push play. Every reading we do from here on out will live here on MyBrownBaby and on the MyBrownBaby YouTube page, so you’ll have instant access to these incredible bedtime stories for your babies.

Good Night MyBrownBaby is a part of the MyBrownBaby mission to help introduce parents to great books for kids, featuring kids that look like ours. I figure if we help our beautiful babies fall in love with good literature early, they’ll love it forever. And if we support Black authors who celebrate our babies’ humanity in literature, we’ll be creating a want and need for more books just like them—a want and need publishing companies like mine will respond to.

As I mentioned in the Good Night MyBrownBaby “Tar Beach” reading: those who shared the video on FB qualified for a giveaway of two of the upcoming books on my new children’s book imprint, Denene Millner Books. Congratulations to:

  • Sili Recio, who wins a copy of Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s “Neo Soul Nursery Rhymes: Volume 1.”
  • Joan Armstrong Morriset, who wins a copy of my upcoming parenting book, “MyBrownBaby: the Joys and Challenges of Raising African American Children.”

Congrats, ladies!

If you and your babies loved “Tar Beach,” cop a copy here, or pick it up at your local library.

And don’t forget to check in for our next Good Night MyBrownBaby Facebook Live reading, featuring me, Denene Millner, reading another one of my favorite books EVER, “Home Made Love,” by bell hooks. I’ll be reading live from the MyBrownBaby Facebook Fans page on Tuesday, January 24, at 7:30 p.m. sharp!

RSVP with your email addy or phone number to goodnightstories@mybrownbaby.com, and I’ll send out an invitation/be there reminder so you can get your babies together and ready for the reading—which will be really helpful so that I’m not sitting there reading to a wall. That would not be cute.

See you at the next Good Night MyBrownBaby!

* * *

“Tar Beach”
by Faith Ringgold; Crown Publishers

Cassie Louise Lightfoot, eight years old in 1939, has a dream: to be free to go wherever she wants for the rest of her life. One night, up on “tar beach” –the rooftop of her family’s Harlem apartment building–her dream comes true. The stars lift her up, and she flies over the city. She claims the buildings as her own–even the union building, so her father won’t have to worry anymore about not being allowed to join just because his father was not a member. As Cassie learns, anyone can fly. “All you need is somewhere to go you can’t get to any other way. The next thing you know, you’re flying above the stars.”

This magical story resonates with a universal wish. Originally written by Faith Ringgold for her story quilt of the same name, “Tar Beach” is a seamless weaving of fiction, autobiography, and African-American history and literature.

To enhance your child’s reading experience:

• Help your baby make her own story quilt.
• Have your baby imagine, like Cassie Mae Lightfoot, what she would fly over to make his own. Have him write a story about it, or draw a picture depicting the scene.
• Read Faith Ringgold’s short story, “How the People Became Color Blind,” answer the questions and send Faith a note here.

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.

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