Black Trauma, Black Joy: Telling Hard Stories to Young Readers

Room 337, Summit Building, Seattle Convention Center, Level 3
Friday, March 10, 2023
9:00 am to 10:15 am


The children’s and YA book market is expanding to include more books about the forgotten or repressed stories of America’s racist past. This challenges the author to struggle with how to present traumatic historical events to young readers. As it turns out, history is like sex: Only offer information in age-appropriate, bite-sized pieces. Panelists will discuss their process of deciding how to talk to children and young adults about the legacy of racism in America.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: Outline_for_F113_Black_Trauma,_Black_Joy_Telling_Hard_Stories_to_Young_Readers.pdf



Nichelle Robinson currently serves as director of Teacher Education & Clinical Experiences at The University of Memphis. Her research interests are implementing culturally responsive practices into teacher education programs and diversifying the teacher pipeline.

Desiree Cooper is a 2015 Kresge Artist Fellow, lawyer, and Pulitzer-nominated columnist. She is the author of an award-winning, flash fiction collection, Know the Mother. Her first children's book, Nothing Special, was released in 2022. Her writing on women's issues is widely anthologized.

Jean Alicia Elster is a 2017 Kresge Artist Fellow in Literary Arts and a former attorney. She is the multiple award-winning author of several books for youth and young adults including How It Happens, Who’s Jim Hines?, The Colored Car, and the Joe Joe in the City series.

Denise Lewis Patrick is the author of over thirty books for young people, including fiction, historical fiction, and biography for middle grades. She’s also taught first-year writing, fiction, and feature writing as an adjunct at several universities.


March 8–11, 2023
Seattle, Washington

Seattle Convention Center