2022 NCTE National African American Read-In - National Council of Teachers of English


2022 NCTE National African American Read-In

Wednesday, February 23, 2022 – 1:00–1:30 p.m. ET

NCTE welcomes members and their students to join us for our inaugural virtual 2022 African American Read-In, featuring Because Claudette author Tracey Baptiste and illustrator Tonya Engel. This event is geared toward classrooms, especially elementary grade classrooms, to celebrate African American Read-In nationally through the lens of the new nonfiction book.

We envision teachers in classrooms coast to coast joining us for this 30-minute event. The agenda includes short introductions, a reading and book walk of Because Claudette by the author and illustrator, and an interactive draw-along with the author and illustrator. Participating classrooms will be eligible for a certificate.

The session will be moderated by NCTE Black Caucus leader Dr. Ayanna F. Brown.

This event is free to NCTE members.


“Emphasizing cause and effect, Baptiste follows activist Claudette Colvin (b. 1939), who, at age 15, refused to relinquish her bus seat for a white person. After her arrest, she met Rosa Parks thanks to her lawyer, Fred Gray; subsequently, Colvin began attending NAACP meetings. Featuring the word because in most clauses, the text highlights mounting support for the civil rights movement, and how Colvin’s actions helped lead to the Montgomery bus boycott … A powerful narrative that showcases generative energy of acts of resistance both big and small.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review




We hope NCTE members will connect their classrooms to the event and take photos of their students’ work! After the event, we will share a form where you can document your participation, upload images that you have permission to share, and request a certificate of participation.

Tracey Baptiste is the New York Times bestselling author of Minecraft: The Crash, the creepy Caribbean series The Jumbies, the contemporary YA novel Angel’s Grace, and nine nonfiction books for kids K-12. A former elementary school teacher, Baptiste visits schools and serves on the faculty of Lesley University’s Creative Writing MFA program.

Tonya Engel is an artist who has had studios in New York, Paris, Austin, and Houston. Figurative and full of symbolism, her work is influenced by both folk artists of the Deep South and by contemporary masters such as Frida Kahlo and Marc Chagall. Engel is also the illustrator of My Hair Is Magic and Rise!, a picture-book biography of Maya Angelou. She lives in Houston.

Dr. Ayanna F. Brown earned her B.S. from Tuskegee University in Secondary Education Language Arts, her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instructional Leadership, and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in Interdisciplinary Studies: Language, Literacy, and Sociology. Her career in education spans both public and private organizations, including teaching middle-level English language arts and leading college readiness planning for urban youth, with a consortium between Vanderbilt University and Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. Dr. Brown is an Associate Professor of Education and Cultural Studies and Coordinator for the middle-level English language arts major at Elmhurst University. Her research examines discussions of race in secondary school settings, and how the discursive aspects of dialogue contribute to racial literacies in situ.