Netflix is looking to celebrate Black voices and authors with a new live-action preschool series.
The streamer has ordered twelve five-minute episodes of Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices, which will feature Black celebrities and artists reading children’s books written by Black authors, which highlight the Black experience.
Hosted by author Marley Dias, the collection of books and conversations center around themes of identity, respect, justice, and action. The show’s aim is to provide families with a toolset to start meaningful conversations with kids about difficult topics through short-form book-based content.
Among the celebrities involved are Tiffany Haddish, Lupita Nyong’o and Common. Nyong’o will be reading her own story “Sulwe,” while Haddish will read “I Love My Hair” by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley, and Common “Let’s Talk About Race” by Julius Lester.
“I am so excited to be the host of Bookmarks! The work I do with #1000BlackGirlBooks exists in the literary space, and I am so happy to promote diversity and tell stories of girls like me through a new medium,” said Dias in a statement.
Dias will executive produce the series alongside showrunner and director Fracaswell Hyman. The show hails from Jesse Collins Entertainment, which already produces Rhythm + Flow for Netflix.
“This series creates a vehicle for children and families to begin to have conversations around concepts of racial identity and social justice through prolific Black voices,” added creative producer Kevin A. Clark. “I’m excited to be part of a project that leverages the power of Black storytellers and provides an opportunity for children to see themselves and their communities on screen.”
Jesse Collins, Dionne Harmon, David E. Talbert and Lyn Sisson-Talbert also exec produce.
Below is a list of all the participants and the books they will be reading:
Tiffany Haddish reads “I Love My Hair” by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley. Illustration by E.B. Lewis
Grace Byers reads “I Am Enough,” by Grace Byers. Illustration by Keturah A. Bobo
Caleb McLaughlin reads “Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut,” by Derrick Barnes. Illustration by Gordon C. James
Lupita Nyong’o reads “Sulwe,” by Lupita Nyong’o. Illustration by Vashti Harrison
Marsai Martin reads “ABC’s For Girls Like Me,” by Melanie Goolsby. Illustration by Princess Kay
Karamo Brown reads “I Am Perfectly Designed,” by Karamo Brown. Illustration by Anoosha Syed
Jill Scott reads “Pretty Brown Face” and “Brown Boy Joy,” by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Thomishia Booker respecrtively. Illustration by Brian Pinkney and Thomishia Booker
Misty Copeland reads “Firebird,” by Misty Copeland. Illustration by Christopher Myers
Common reads “Let’s Talk About Race,” by Julius Lester. Illustration by Karen Barbour
Jacqueline Woodson reads “The Day You Begin,” by Jacqueline Woodson. Illustration by Rafael Lopez
Kendrick Sampson reads “Anti-Racist Baby,” by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. Illustration by Ashley Lukashevsky
Marley Dias reads “We March,” written by Shane W. Evans. Illustration by Shane W. Evans
SOURCE: Variety, Will Thorne