Tiffany Haddish, Karamo Brown, Lupita Nyong'o, and more will all make appearances in Netflix's new kids show Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices. Hosted by 15-year-old activist and writer Marley Dias, who was behind the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign, the 12-episode preschool series will feature a slew of celebrities reading children's books by Black authors to help "spark conversations on and off screen."
"Many of us have turned to books to navigate hard conversations around topics like race, representation and self-love with our kids. And that was the inspiration for our new live-action preschool series, Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices, bringing children’s stories from prolific Black creators centering around themes of identity, respect, justice and action to the screen," Heather Tilert, Director of Original Animation at Netflix, said in a recent press release.
Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices premieres on Sept. 1 and episodes also being uploaded to the Netflix Jr. YouTube channel. Beyond that, Netflix will also launch an accompanying website on Sept. 1 that will provide additional book titles, videos, and resource guides to help continue conversations off screen, too.
"Our hope is that Bookmarks will serve as a new kind of virtual book corner where families can watch together, learn together, and talk with one another," Tilert said.
In the trailer for Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices, you can get a taste for how celebrities bring these children's stories to life and ask viewers questions to inspire conversations at home. For instance, ballerina Misty Copeland asks, "What advice would you give to someone to encourage them to not give up?"
To help you plan your streaming schedule, below is a breakdown of what children's book each featured celebrity will read:
- Tiffany Haddish reads I Love My Hair by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
- Grace Byers reads I Am Enough by Grace Byers
- Caleb McLaughlin reads Crown: An Ode To The Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes
- Lupita Nyong'o reads Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o
- Marsai Martin reads ABC's For Girls Like Me by Melanie Goolsby
- Karamo Brown reads I Am Perfectly Designed by Karamo Brown
- Jill Scott reads Pretty Brown Face by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brown Boy Joy by Thomishia Booker
- Misty Copeland reads Firebird by Misty Copeland
- Common reads Let's Talk About Race by Julius Lester
- Jacqueline Woodson reads The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
- Kendrick Sampson reads Anti-Racist Baby by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
- Marley Dias reads We March by Shane W. Evans
Founding the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign when she was just 10 years old, Dias is a natural host for the show. At the time, Dias set herself on a mission to collect 1,000 books with Black girl leads to raise awareness for books with diverse characters. She has since found over 12,000 books and her entire reading list can be found online.
"We hope that by providing children opportunities to see themselves and to learn about perspectives of others," Tilbert said, "Bookmarks will be the start of an exciting new chapter."