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Local publishing partnership expands opportunities for Black readers and writers

Planting People Growing Justice Press founder Artika Tyner (Photo provided by Artika Tyner)

Planting People Growing Justice Press, a Black-owned publishing company whose books explore art and history across the African diaspora, has secured an exclusive partnership with Minneapolis-based Lerner Publisher Services, a division of Lerner Publishing Group. Lerner is one of the nation’s largest independent children’s book publishers. PPGJ founder Artika Tyner says this could be life-changing for the press’ Black and Brown authors, and for young readers.

“To make sure we have positive representation on the pages of those books, creating those mirrors,” Tyner said, “and also creating those windows, for all children to learn about our cultural experiences.”

Tyner founded Planting People Growing Justice Press in St. Paul in 2017 to “improve literacy, encourage and empower children to find joy in reading, and create social change.” Tyner says publishing diverse authors strengthens communities and provides communities of color a means to celebrate their history. She says that books and their authors bridge gaps between different cultures, and that “books are those conveners of not just conversations but of social change.”

PPGJ Press has been working to expand the writing ability of authors remotely by providing YouTube videos to help upcoming authors move forward on their writing. As part of the partnership with Lerner, PPGJ is launching a 100-Black-Authors campaign. Tyner says the non-profit is committed to fully training 100 Black authors over the next ten years. That training includes helping authors find their voices in a wide host of different genres.

“[The deal with Lerner Publishing Groups allows] us to empower our partnerships, getting our books in the hands of children, getting our books in the center of starting discussions, getting our books in community spaces,” Tyner said, “it also supports our authors, helping them to have the opportunity to have more national prominence.”he

Lerner Publishing Services will initially distribute three PPGJ Press children's book titles that include "Amazing Africa, A to Z," "Gumbo Joy," and "Justice Makes a Difference: The Story of Miss Freedom Fighter, Esquire."

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