“Indigo Dreaming” and “H is for Harlem” garner prestigious awards!
Dianne Johnson’s picture books, published under the pseudonym Dinah Johnson, continue to dazzle and delight young and grown readers alike. Her Indigo Dreaming (illustrated by Anna Cunha) was chosen to represent South Carolina in the Library of Congress’s “Great Reads from Great Places” series for 2023. The Great Reads is a selection of books representing the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book distributes every year during the National Book Festival. Each book is selected by a local Center for the Book or state library and most are for children and young readers.
Johnson’s H is for Harlem (illustrated by April Harrison) was named an Honor Book by the 2023 Boston Globe Horn Book Awards. The Globe Horn awards are among the most prestigious honors in children’s and adult literature, with past winners including Jason Reynolds, Jordan Scott, and Maxine Beneba Clarke.
Both books invite young readers to stretch their imaginative wings into Black history, culture, and experience. Indigo Dreaming focuses on a young girl on the Gullah coast who dreams of another girl wandering the shoreline of the distant continent of her long-lost ancestors. Johnson “interlaces distinct slices of Gullah Geechee life with cultural threads that stretch to the Caribbean, Brazil, and all the way to Sierra Leone,” according to the Kirkus Review. This review calls the book “striking and cozy all at once.” For the Horn magazine, H is for Harlem is an “engaging and beautiful alphabet book [that] celebrates not only Harlem’s history . . . but also contemporary figures and iconic places that bridge Harlem’s past and present. . . . Equal parts love-letter and travelogue, this book is a virtual trip through the sights and sounds of one of New York City’s most iconic neighborhoods.”
Check out the Library of Congress’s Great Reads from Great Places page here.