Writing, Editing, and Sharing Poetry from Can I Touch Your Hair?

By Libby Stille, Associate Publicist

In January of 2015, editor Carol Hinz had an idea for a children’s poetry picture book that discussed race in a way that would be accessible to middle-grade audiences. She reached out to poet and children’s author Irene Latham and asked her to suggest a partner for the project. Irene chose poet Charles Waters to write with her, and many drafts, phone calls, and revisions later the book became Can I Touch Your Hair?.

Can I Touch Your Hair? has received two starred reviews and has been used in grade school, middle school, and even high school classrooms across the country to facilitate open and honest conversations about race. I asked Irene, Charles, and Carol to share how they created this incredible, sensitive book and also how the book has been received by young readers. Here is their conversation.

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Vaccination Investigation: Meet Journalist and YA Nonfiction Author Tara Haelle

By Domenica Di Piazza, Editorial Director of Twenty-First Century Books

Twenty-First Century Books’ Spring 2018 season is starting off with a bang! One of our YA nonfiction imprint’s newest contributors–science journalist Tara Haelle–got a glowing starred review from Kirkus in February for Vaccination Investigation: The History and Science of Vaccines. Described in the review as “an essential purchase for collections serving young adults,” you’ll definitely want to add this book to yours. Read More

Poetry, Race, and Art: A Conversation with Selina Alko, Sean Qualls, and Nina Crews

By Carol Hinz, Editorial Director of Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books

While working on the books Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship and Seeing into Tomorrow: Poems by Richard Wright, I couldn’t help noticing commonalities between the two.

Both are volumes of poetry and both explore race and identity. Yet the books differ as well—Can I Touch Your Hair? is primarily for kids in grades 4 and above and has multiple contributors—it’s co-written by Irene Latham and Charles Waters and co-illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko—and Seeing into Tomorrow could easily be shared with preschoolers on up and was compiled and illustrated by Nina Crews. Read More