In 2018, the Miami University Art Museum presented an original art exhibition based on children’s picture books exploring African-American history and cultural identity. “Telling A People’s Story: African-American Children’s Illustrated Literature” was 3 years in the making in collaboration with some of the top scholars in the field of African-American children’s literature.

As an outgrowth, a traveling panel exhibition was created for circulation to public schools and public libraries. Since August 2018, more than 60 venues across the country have hosted the panel exhibition. The exhibition has been hosted by a number of elementary schools in Ohio and incorporated into school curriculum. 

The presentation offers a lens into the cultural, historical and social makeup of African-American cultural identity, while shedding light on the long neglected world of African-American authors and illustrators in the pantheon of children’s literature. “Telling A People’s Story” addresses:

  • The presentation of African-American identity and history in a creative, educational and respectful manner.
  • The raising of greater awareness for the role African-American illustrators and authors play in the development and growth of the field of children’s literature.
  • The topic of social justice throughout African-American history.
  • The need for awareness to the challenges African-American children’s book authors and illustrators face in a field lacking sufficient representation of minorities.
  • The importance of appreciating the culture and history of a people who are deeply rooted in the American story.

For more information about the exhibit and how to bring it to your school, email Jason E. Shaiman, curator of exhibitions at the Miami University Art Museum.