ACAIC /    Association of Children's Authors and Illustrators of Color


ACAIC logoThe Association of Childrens Authors and Illustrators of Color (ACAIC) formed more than ten years ago as a quiet place for children’s literature content creators to gather to discuss business opportunities and concerns. Our first conference, aimed at developing and putting new talent into commercial publishing was held in North Carolina in 2009.  We’ve been quietly moving the needle on diversity and mentoring authors of color for close to a decade. The depth and breadth of our work for children of color is unparalleled. We are award winners, NYT’s bestsellers, children’s literature workshop leaders,  school and library speakers, librarians, teachers and editors. We are experienced authors and illustrators of both mainstream and multicultural literature. Take a moment to browse our book page and our illustrator showcase.

Our membership is growing and is by invitation. Click on a member’s name to be transported to their website.

Welcome to ACAIC.

Crystal Allen


Crystal Allen is the author of How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won A Bubba-Sized Trophy, The Laura Line, and the upcoming series, The Magnificent Mya Tibbs.  In 2015, Crystal was named a James Thurber Children’s Writer in Residence at Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio. She resides in Texas with her family.

Derrick Barnes

Barnes_Derrick1Derrick D. Barnes is the author of the popular series Ruby and the Booker Boys as well as Stop Drop and Chill, and The Low Down Bad Day Blues, all published by Scholastic Press. His first hardcover title is the middle grade novel We Could Be Brothers. Derrick resides in Charlotte, NC with his  wife and their four sons.

Kristi Bernard

Bernard_Kristi copyKristi Bernard is a parent, blogger, reviewer and writer. Kristi’s Book Nook takes pride in sharing stories that feature people and characters of color. As more writers of color are recognized for their efforts, hard work and dedication, our children will be able to truly see themselves in stories they read and share. She invites you to celebrate with her.

Barbara Binns

Binns_BarbaraBarbara’s books for children include the novels, “Pull” and “Die Trying.” She’s presented workshops on Reaching Reluctant Readers and Multicultural Literature at the Illinois Reading Council, Assembly for Adolescent Literature,  the Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature, and many others.

Martha Blanchard

Blanchard_Martha2 copyMartha Blanchard’s debut novel “The Plum Tree” published by Caribbean Reads. Set on an Caribbean island, the novel involves two eleventh grade friends who struggle to take the dreaded Common Entrance Exam. Martha resides in Ciceron, Castries, on the island of Saint Lucia.

Tameka Fryer Brown


Tameka Fryer Brown is an award-winning picture book author whose titles include the multicultural-themed “Around Our Way On Neighbor’s Day” as well as “My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood“—a 2014 Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book, a Bank Street College Best Book of 2014, a CCBC Choices Best Book of 2014, and one of NYPL’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, 2013.

Angela Cervantes


Angela Cervantes was named one of the Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch by Her debut novel: “Gaby, Lost And Found”, was named Best Youth Chapter book by the Intl. Latino Book Awards and a Bank Street College of Education’s Best Books of 2014. Her second novel,  “Allie, First At Last”, will be released in Spring 2016.

Sona Charaipotra

Charaipotra_SonaSona Charaipotra is an entertainment and lifestyle journalist. She is the co-founder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book development company. Her first novel, “Tiny Pretty Things” (with co-author Dhonielle Clayton), is published by HarperTeen.

Dhonielle Clayton

clayton_dhonielleAn English teacher for three years, Dhonielle Clayton re-discovered her love of children’s literature and earned a masters in children’s and young adult literature from Hollins University. She is co-founder of CAKE Literary.

Jerry Craft

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Jerry Craft has illustrated and/or written close to 2 dozen children’s books and middle grade novels including “The Zero Degree Zombie Zone” for Scholastic. He also created Mama’s Boyz, an award-winning comic strip that was distributed by King Features. 

Nancy Devard  **

DEVARD-Nancy2Nancy Devard is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. A skilled illustrator, she received  ALA’s Coretta Scott King honor for “The Secret Olivia Told Me.” Her impressive and diverse portfolio includes book illustration, murals, and graphic design for corporate clients.


Anita Gibbs


Anita T. Gibbs is a seasoned sales professional who was raised to believe in herself and in her dreams.  Inspired by her own father as well as raising her son as a single mom, the creator of “Superdaddies The Series”, aspires to create a positive perception and motivation in the relationships between fathers and their children in her children’s series.

Gwendolyn Hooks

Hooks_Gwen copyGwendolyn Hooks is the author of 17 books for children. She writes both fiction and nonfiction to encourage children to explore their world. Readers will find pets, friendship, and family sprinkled throughout Gwendolyn’s stories because that’s what inspires her.

Rita Lorraine Hubbard


Rita Lorraine is the author of African Americans of Chattanooga: A History of Unsung Heroes, Getting the Most Out of MOOCs, and two additional educational titles. Her first picture book, Uncle Bill’s Family Reunion (Lee and Low) will debut in 2016. Rita founded The Black History Channel in 2005.

Nadine Johnson


Nadine Johnson founded 123 Mango Tree LLC to promote literacy and provide inspiring products for children. She has published five motivating children’s books including the “Last Night I Dreamt” series, I Love, and I Am and produced a CD with fun and uplifting lyrics.

Margaree Mitchell


Margaree King Mitchell is the award-winning author of “Uncle Jed’s Barbershop,” “Granddaddy’s Gift,” “When Grandmama Sings,” and “The People In The Park“. Uncle Jed’s Barbershop has been adapted into a musical featuring Broadway veterans.

Nathalie Mvondo

Mvondo_Nathalie2 copyNathalie Mvondo lives in Northern California, where she studies cultural anthropology and nutrition. She writes children’s stories and young adult fiction. She started Multiculturalism Rocks! in 2009.

Lavora Perry

Perry_Lavora2 copyM. LaVora Perry is the author of Taneesha Never Disparaging, a chapter book about a black Buddhist 5th grader facing a teen bully; A History of the Civil Rights Movement (Major Black Contributions from Emancipation to Civil Rights); the e-book reader, Malik Had a House and other titles.

Rachel Renee Russell

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Rachel Renée Russell is the author of the #1 New York Times Best Selling book series, DORK DIARIES.  She has over 22 million copies in print with translation into 34 languages worldwide. A movie is currently in production with Lionsgate Summit films.

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

Rhuday-Perkovich_GbemiOlugbemisola has more than ten years in literacy education and youth development. She holds a Masters in Educational Technology and English Education from NYU and a BS from Cornell University. Her middle grade debut, “8th Grade Superzero” received critical acclaim. Olugbemisola is a founding host of The Brown Bookshelf blog.

Katheryn Russell-Brown

Russell-Brown_Katheryn2Katheryn Russell-Brown is a professor of Law and Director of the Center for the study of Race and Race Relations at the University of Florida. Her debut “Little Melba and Her Big Trombone” received a starred review in Kirkus and included on School and Library Journal’s Best Books of 2014 list.

Dara Sharif

Sharif_Dara copyDara Sharif is a New York-based editor and writer of children’s fiction who’s had the pleasure of working with a number of authors as Editorial Director of Read and Rise, a joint project of Scholastic and the National Urban League. She produced a quarterly literary magazine showcasing children’s fiction starring children of color. She is also founder and principal of DNS Media Group Inc., an editorial services company.

Irene Smalls


Irene Smalls, MBA, is an award-winning author and storyteller. Her books have been recognized by the New York Times, The Smithsonian Institute, Bank Street College, Sesame Street magazine, the International Reading Association and the Junior Library Guild. Twice she has performed her stories at the White House.

Kelly Starlings-Lyon

Lyon_KellyA founding member of The Brown Bookshelf, a blog devoted to showcasing children’s literature for and by African American authors and illustrators. She is the accomplished author of five books including One Million Men and Me, Ellen’s Broom, Tea Cakes for Tosh and several others.

Karen Strong


By day, Karen works in Information Technology as a systems analyst developing software for law enforcement agencies. By night, she is an emerging writer who loves the magical realism, speculative, and horror genres. She is currently working on a YA novel.

Lynne Southerland


A Comparative Literature major, Lynne’s love of storytelling has taken her on a journey that has encompassed producing and directing animated stories including Mulan 2, Happily Ever After, and An Extremely Goofy Movie. She is currently working searching for a home for her YA and Middle Grade novels.

Nicole Tadgell

Tadgell_NicoleNicole studied Studio Art at Wheaton College. Now she is the illustrator of more than twenty books for children. Her books have been selected for Bank Street College Best Books list, Smithsonian Notable Books, Cooperative Children’s Book Center, and many others.

Don Tate

Tate_DonDon Tate is the award-winning author and illustrator of numerous critically acclaimed books for children.  His recent release, “Poet: The remarkable Story of George Moses Horton” releases in Fall  2015. Don is also a founding host of  The Brown Bookshelf blog devoted to showcasing children’s literature for and by African American authors and illustrators.

Christine Taylor-Butler

CTB promo head cropped copyThe award winning author of more than 75 books for children, Christine holds degrees in both Civil Engineering and Art & Design from MIT. She has spoken at numerous events including ALA, ILA and ALAN. Kirkus called her debut middle grade novel: THE LOST TRIBES,  “Well written and well paced, a promising start to an exciting and unusual sci-fi series.”


Nancy Tolson

Tolson_NancyA Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Illinois State University, Nancy is the author of  “Tales of Africa.” As a Fulbright Fellow, she taught courses in Ghana, West Africa. Her courses include storytelling, Black literature, African-American and multicultural children’s literature. She received her PhD in English Education from the University of Iowa.