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‘Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices’ aims to spark conversations on and off screen

‘Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices’ aims to spark conversations on and off screen

As parents, we know the power of stories. Stories shape how our children see themselves, and offer them a window into the world beyond their own. Stories show us the power our voices can have, to make a difference, and to incite change.

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. 

Premiering Sept. 1 on Netflix and on our Netflix Jr. YouTube channel, this 12 episode series features prominent Black voices - authors, athletes, actors, musicians, and comedians - reading children's books from Black authors that highlight the Black experience. The series is hosted and executive produced by 15-year-old activist, author and founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign Marley Dias.

To bring this project to light, we are thrilled to partner with Jesse Collins Entertainment and other prolific Black creatives with a history of celebrating Black voices. This team includes showrunner, director and executive producer Fracaswell Hyman (Little Bill and The Famous Jett Jackson), executive producers Jesse Collins (Rhythm + Flow, The New Edition Story), Dionne Harmon (John Lewis: Celebrating a Hero, BET Awards), David E. Talbert and Lyn Sisson-Talbert (Jingle Jangle, Almost Christmas) as well as creative producer Kevin A. Clark, Ph.D. (Professor and Children’s Media Consultant).

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. We will launch a companion site at that will have additional book recommendations, videos and resource guides to help continue these conversations off screen.

And in order to share these amazing stories more broadly, we’ll also be partnering with First Book to donate and distribute copies of each of the books featured in the collection to educators serving kids in need across the country, and in select international countries.

Titles of books, authors, and readers include:

Tiffany Haddish reads I Love My Hair

Written by: Natasha Anastasia Tarpley, Illustration by: E.B. Lewis 

Grace Byers reads I Am Enough

Written by: Grace Byers, Illustration by: Keturah A. Bobo 

Caleb McLaughlin reads Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut

Written by: Derrick Barnes, Illustration by: Gordon C. James 

Lupita Nyong’o reads Sulwe 

Written by: Lupita Nyong’o, Illustration by: Vashti Harrison

Marsai Martin reads ABC’s For Girls Like Me 

Written by: Melanie Goolsby, Illustration by: Princess Kay 

Karamo Brown reads I Am Perfectly Designed 

Written by: Karamo Brown, Illustration by: Anoosha Syed 

Jill Scott reads Pretty Brown Face and Brown Boy Joy

Written by: Andrea Davis Pinkney, Illustration by: Brian Pinkney 

Written by: Thomishia Booker, Illustration by: Thomishia Booker 

Misty Copeland reads Firebird 

Written by: Misty Copeland, Illustration by: Christopher Myers

Common reads Let’s Talk About Race 

Written by: Julius Lester, Illustration by: Karen Barbour

Jacqueline Woodson reads The Day You Begin 

Written by: Jacqueline Woodson, Illustration by: Rafael Lopez 

Kendrick Sampson reads Anti-Racist Baby  

Written by: Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Illustration by: Ashley Lukashevsky 

Marley Dias reads We March  

Written by: Shane W. Evans, Illustration by: Shane W. Evans 

At Netflix, we believe that more people deserve to see their lives represented on screen. We hope that by providing opportunities for children to see themselves and to learn about the perspectives of others, Bookmarks will be the start of an exciting new chapter.

-Heather Tilert, Director of Original Animation, Preschool