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Bronzeville, Near South Side

Bronzeville Author Returns To Printers Row Lit Fest This Weekend Ahead Of 2nd Children’s Book Release

Tiffany Smith's debut book about a Black girl seeing the world from her magic carpet became a hit among young readers. You can see her and other authors this weekend at the Lit Fest.

Author and journalist Tiffany Smith will be at the Printers Row Lit Fest this weekend.
Tiffany Smith; Colin Boyle/ Block Club Chicago
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BRONZEVILLE — The last year has been a whirlwind for Tiffany Smith, whose debut book about a Black girl seeing the world from her magic carpet became a hit among young readers.

Now, the Bronzeville native is preparing for the release of the second book in the “Msomaji’s Magic Carpet” series, an activity e-book that serves as a companion to the first. Aimed for students in in fourth through sixth grades, “Msomaji’s Magic Carpet: The Learning Guide” is filled with games, puzzles and recipes.

The author and journalist will be on hand this weekend as an exhibitor for the 37th Printers Row Lit Fest, where she’ll autograph copies of her first book while meeting fans.

Lit Fest runs 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday on Dearborn Street from Ida B. Wells Drive to Polk Street. Admissions and programs are free, and seating is first-come, first served.

The Msomaji activity book started as an outline for Smith’s own use, as she has been teaching workshops at Chicago public schools using lessons based on Msomaji.

Korvetta Spencer, a veteran teacher, became Smith’s editor and helped her develop the learning guide over nine months.

Young readers can make their own passports, do a writing exercise with a journal prompt and learn something new from the Black history tidbits sprinkled throughout the book. They’ll also be able to to create their own travel brochures of dream destinations.

“I currently work with fourth graders on the South Side … and they’ve been having a blast. It’s been a joy to expose them to things they may not have heard about, particularly different kinds of foods,” Smith said. “Some kids had never tasted things like black-eyed peas before. When we covered the New Orleans program, the kids were excited to learn about crawfish and beignets. They were really receptive to it.”

Unlike the first book, the second will released as an e-book here.

Other iconic writers slated to appear at Lit Fest are Natalie Moore, Tara Betts, Lee Bey, Heidi Stevens and Hyde Park native Mikki Kendall, who will perform in a “Literary Death Match” sponsored by StoryStudio Chicago and the Near South Planning Board.

Visitors will be able to browse titles from 100 independent booksellers and buy food, beverages and other literary-related items from a list of vendors.

A full schedule is here.

“Msomaji’s Magic Carpet: The Learning Guide” will be available to purchase as an e-book next week.

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