Syracuse illustrator pens Black history books for all ages


Many focus on black history during Black History Month, while others live and breathe black history all the time.

London Ladd researches and studies African American culture and strives to bring it to life through her art. You’ve probably seen his work many times and never got to know the man behind the brush.

(Portrait painted by London Ladd)

“I want the colors to speak. Body language. The eye glint,” Ladd says. “I’m extremely excited about the direction I’m going. The projects I’m doing now. They are much more part of my heart.

Ladd is a talented and widely published illustrator, whose works share the stories of black history in more than a dozen publications, the most recent in collaboration with writer and activist James Baldwin.

“I watch his works because it’s part of what I do at Syracuse University with African American representation. People who weren’t a threat, they were just people who wanted to live normal lives and love the way they wanted to love,” Ladd explains.

Now, Ladd shares the story of her journey and inspiration to help promote black history for all ages.

“I mainly paint African-American themes. I am fascinated by it. I am biracial. My mother is white, my father is African American. I may be the sum of two parts, but I tend to think of myself as African American because that’s what you see on the outside. The impact that African Americans have had in this nation, in the world, in anything – whether it’s through politics, music, invention, literature like James Baldwin – I think it’s is just fascinating,” says Ladd.

Ladd’s fascination and inspiration create various types of art as well as genres of books, including famous murals and new books like “Black Gold”, which will soon be published and tell a modern and positive story of the precious treasure of black children.

Ladd attributes his success to the love and support of his mother and the fortuitous start of black history books for children.

“How hard I work, how determined I am to make sure that I honor him with this book. I cannot take for granted what I have brought to this book and to the readers who can benefit from it. lessons, who can appreciate something, benefit from it and share it with their family,” Ladd says. “Now it’s so much more expressive because it comes from my heart.”

He hopes his work will help others do the same.

“When you do something from the heart, it’s not work,” says Ladd.

Ladd is a product of the Syracuse City School District, where he often visits as a speaker to encourage students to work toward their goals. Ladd’s critically acclaimed children’s books include: “March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World” and “Frederick’s Journey; The Life of Frederick Douglass” and many other titles.

Her latest book, “Black Gold,” hits shelves in October.


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