Black Girl Joy! Empowering Coming-of-Age Stories for Middle Grade Readers

Black Girl Joy! Empowering Coming-of-Age Stories for Middle Grade Readers

Tuesday, March 14th, 3:00pm CST

Join authors Karyn Parsons, Erika J. Kendrick, and Sharee Miller as they dive into the importance of telling stories that lean into joy and being proud of who you are. Through family, friendships, and the power of trying new experiences, these authors show readers the strength it takes to be uniquely you.

A Certificate of Attendance will be issued to those who attend this webinar. A recording will be posted to for those who cannot participate in the live session.

Watch the Webinar


Karyn Parsons


Karyn Parsons is best known for her role as Will Smith’s cousin Hilary Banks on NBC’s The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. After leaving acting behind, Karyn has gone on to found and produce Sweet Blackberry, an award-winning series of children’s animated films that share stories about unsung Black heroes in history, featuring narration from stars such as Alfre Woodard, Queen Latifah, and Chris Rock. The videos have been screened on HBO and Netflix, and enjoyed by schools and libraries across the country. She is the author of Flying Free: How Bessie Coleman’s Dreams Took Flight, How High the Moon, and Saving the Day. Karyn lives with her family in Providence, Rhode Island.

Erika J. Kendrick


Erika J. Kendrick is a national speaker, mental health advocate, and former NBA cheerleader. She is a Stanford University graduate with an MBA in marketing and international business from the University of Illinois. She is the author of Squad Goals, her debut middle grade novel, and Cookie Monsters.

Sharee Miller

Author & Illustrator

Sharee Miller is the author and illustrator of Princess Hair, Don’t Touch My Hair!, and Michelle’s Garden, all published by LBYR. She is also the illustrator of The Shai and Emmie series written by Quvenzhané Wallis and Nancy Ohlin and “Sam’s Super Seats” by Keah Brown. She lives in Jersey City with her spouse, son, and two cats, Pumpkin and Spice!

Kia Heise, Ph.D. – Host

Mackin Learning

Kia Heise holds a doctorate in sociology and taught in Los Angeles and the Twin Cities for several years before joining Mackin Learning. Her approach is informed by thousands of hours learning how to navigate discussions of social inequality with diverse groups of young people. She is also the author of the Little Sock picture books.