Judy Allen Dodson is a librarian and archivist at the Olivia Raney Local History Library. She is also a children’s author and lover of books and history.
Recommended read: “You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen” by Carole Boston Weatherford. You don’t have to be a child to love this book. These poems take you on journey of what it was like to be a young African American pilot in 1940s World War II, wanting to fly and serve your country, but discriminated against because of your race. These true accounts are incredibly brought to life through verse, giving a true understanding of what life was like through their eyes. Anyone who enjoys reading about history, pilots and combat will soar through this book.
Currently reading: “The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World” by Dave Zirin and John Wesley Carlos, “Silent Gesture: The Autobiography of Tommie Smith,” and “A Race to Remember: The Peter Norman Story” by Damian Johnstone and Matt Norman.
What is your favorite reading memory? Reading to my sister, who is four years younger than I am. I would pretend to know the words in a book and read them to her when I could barely read myself. Even at 4 years old, I knew that reading made me feel smart.
What favorite book from childhood have you kept? “Matilda” by Roald Dahl.
What is your favorite book that nobody’s heard of? “Between the Devil and the Sea: The Life of James Forten” by Brenda A Johnston. It’s the inspirational story of an African American abolitionist and wealthy business man who becomes a sailmaker after the American Revolutionary War.
Where do you go for book recommendations? My first stop is always the Wake County Public Libraries, then The Brown Book Shelf (thebrownbookshelf.com) and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators reading list websites for kid lit books. For both kid lit and adult book lists, I head to Quail Ridge Books and GoodReads.com.
You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen
Carole Boston Weatherford
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 96 pages