Welcome to our #WinterRead2022 "Read for a Better World" Author Spotlight Series! We’re thrilled to be featuring 6 incredibly talented authors from our 2022 sponsor Lerner Publishing Group as a part of our 5th Annual Winter Reading Challenge.
This week, we’ve interviewed Charles Waters, co-author of various books including Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes and Friendship, and Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes and Anecdotes from A to Z and the latest African Town. Since 2007, he has been a member of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Check out our interview with him below, and learn more about his work here. Follow him on social media on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
What are you currently reading?
Home Is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo.
Where is your favorite place to read?
On a porch swing in the park.
What is your favorite thing you've written? Book or otherwise!
Whichever my latest book project happens to be at the time!
What’s your favorite book by someone other than yourself?
Under The Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall.
What is your favorite word and why?
“Tenacity.” It deals with not giving up, forging ahead.
How does reading help us create a better world?
When you read about experiences that are similar or different than your own, a shared humanity takes place.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? And/or how did you become a writer?
When I worked for the theatrical touring troupe POETRY ALIVE! as an actor learning by heart and performing over 200 poems during the span of three years and seeing the reactions, happy, sad, thought-provoking, that it had on the audiences, and slowly but surely, of myself.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?
Work hard, be humble, don't give up.
How does your work encourage conversations around diversity, inclusion, or other social and emotional concepts with parents, educators, and young readers?
The books I've had a hand in creating are books that deal with a myriad of topics, some are specific like race, others are more general such as eating with your family. What they have in common is sometimes asking uncomfortable questions with no easy answers, which is what life can be a lot of the time. I guess my goal is to have everyone, from toddlers to the elderly, of all colors and creeds see something of value in my words, be it funny or serious or thought-provoking. If I accomplish that in my life there are few things that would make me happier!
Any additional information or fun facts?
I used to work at Walt Disney World playing various roles at the Mouse House. I also once performed my poem In Rhythm about the NBA to Adam Silver, the commissioner of the NBA, outside of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.
Stay tuned for future Lerner author spotlights throughout #WinterRead2022, and encourage your community to keep reading!