My good friend, Karen Deans, is the epitome of a Renaissance woman. When I met her more than a decade ago she was an artist, launching Wooden Tile, an art business that now sells online and in stores across the country. She also loved and collected children’s picture books. That obsession inspired her to try her hand at writing a book for children on a subject she was passionate about. Now, Karen is an author. Her picture books feature “women who defied racial and gender discrimination to become superstars in their respective fields.”
Her book Playing to Win: The Story of Althea Gibson was published by Holiday House in 2007. Karen’s second book, Swing Sisters: The Story of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm was just published. It is the incredible tale of the first inter-racial female jazz band, formed in 1939. They defied the constraints of racial prejudice and segregation to play throughout the United States and in Europe. Stories like these are lost or buried gold nuggets of history – it takes authors like Karen to mine them for us. In a world that needs more diverse books for children and adults, Karen is a contemporary author making a substantive contribution.
Please visit Karen Dean’s Facebook page to see a clip of the Sweethearts of Rhythm, enter a raffle to win a signed book and, learn more about my very talented friend. She’s also a scenic painter for a children’s theater, but we’ll save that for another post.
Oh, and please buy Karen’s book – one for you and another for someone you care about. Support the artists who make the art!