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#StrongGirls = Empowerment and Activism

headshots of participants at the Strong Girls event

Strong girls become great women, and this panel gives context to the process. Join Caldecott winner Emily Arnold McCully (She Did It!: 21 Women Who Change the Way We Think), publisher Cheryl Willis Hudson (We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices), and authors Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich (Someday is Now: Clara Luper and the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-Ins) and KaeLyn Rich (Girls Resist!: A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution) for a discussion about empowered females of the past and girls’ activism today. Moderated by Ciarra Chavarria, Esq. @girlsreadtheworld


Emily Arnold MccullyEmily Arnold McCully has been writing and illustrating fiction and nonfiction about (and for) brave girls and women for fifty years. She has published two adult novels and an O’Henry Best Short Story. Her books have won a Christopher Award, a Caldecott medal, and a Jane Addams Award. Her Y/A biography of Ida M Tarbell was a finalist for the Yalsa Award. She Did IT! 21 Women Who Changed the Way We Think and Dreaming in Code, the Life of Ada Byron Lovelace,  both appeared in the past year.

Kaelyn Rich

Photo by Erica Jae

KaeLyn Rich is a queer feminist, a direct action organizer, a nonprofit leader, a word wrangler, and a sexuality educator. Her community organizing experience dates back to stuffing folders for her parents’ union meetings around the dining room table. She’s an adoptee immigrant from South Korea, a comfort food foodie, and a persistent devotee of the Oxford comma. She lives in Rochester, NY, with her spouse, a baby T. rex, a xenophobic cat, and a rascally rabbit.

Cheryl Willisa HudsonCheryl Willis Hudson is an author, editor, and publisher of children’s books. She is vice president and editorial director of Just Us Books, Inc., an independent publishing company of Black interest and multicultural books for young people. She and her husband Wade Hudson founded Just Us Books in 1988 to address the need for more African American children’s books in the market place. Cheryl’s books for young children include Bright Eyes, Brown Skin, (with Bernette Ford) AFRO-BETS ABC Book, Hands Can (Candlewick Press), and My Friend May Loves to Dance (Abrams). She has also co-edited a number of titles including Kids’ Book of Wisdom: Quotes from the African American Tradition (Just Us Books) and We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices (Crown/Random House). 

She has served as diversity consultant to educational publishers and frequently speaks to writers, illustrators, editors, teachers, and librarians about African American and multicultural publishing. Cheryl is a member of the Children’s and Young Adult Committee of PEN America and she has served on a number of community and professional organizations including the Advisory Board of the Langston Hughes Library of the Children’s Defense Fund. Her honors include the Stephen Crane Book Award by the Newark Public Library, and the Sutton-Griggs Lifetime Achievement Award (African American Museum of Dallas) with Wade Hudson for their contributions to children’s literature. She lives in northern New Jersey.

Ciarra ChavarriaCiarra Chavarria is a passionate girl power and literacy advocate. She channels this passion through her Instagram feed @girlsreadtheworld where she shares her latest girl power book finds, and as a contributor to NBC’s Know Your Value. She is also a member of the Children’s and Young Adult Books Committee of PEN America. By day, Ciarra is a nonprofit attorney in Manhattan. She lives with her husband and two super cool little girls across the river in New Jersey.

Olugbemisola Rhuday PerkovichOlugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich is the author of 8th Grade Superzero, which was named a Notable Book for a Global Society and a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People. She also writes nonfiction, including Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow, and Someday is Now: Clara Luper and the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-Ins. She is the coauthor of the middle grade novel Two Naomis, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and is a Junior Library Guild selection, and its sequel, Naomis Too. She is a member of the Brown Bookshelf, and editor of the We Need Diverse Books middle grade anthology, The Hero Next Door. Visit her online at olugbemisolabooks.com, Twitter: @olugbemisola, and on Instagram: @olugbemisolarhudayperkovich 

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