KLTV Exclusive



THE NUTCRACKER IN HARLEM, written by T.E. McMorrow and illustrated by James Ransome, tells the story of a young girl who goes on an adventure with a magical toy! Will she find her voice as a musician? Find out on this episode of Read Out Loud!

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This jazz-inspired reinvention of The Nutcracker is a worthy tribute to the dreamlike wonder and magic of the Christmas season. In this original retelling, set in New York City during the height of the Harlem Renaissance, one little girl finds her voice as a musician thanks to her enchanting adventures with a magical toy.



ABOUT T. E. McMorrow
T. E. McMorrow belongs to the third generation of writers in his family. A journalist and playwright, he is also a member of the Drama Desk in New York City. Many years ago, he worked as a stagehand for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, an experience that helped plant the first seeds of inspiration for this book. Mr. McMorrow splits his time between Manhattan and the East End of Long Island with his wife, Carole, and their two cats, Cinnamon and Moxie

ABOUT James Ransome
James Ransome is both a painter and award-winning illustrator, with work exhibited in both private and public art collections. He has illustrated over 50 books, and his awards include the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Picture Book Honor and the ALA Notable Book Award for Sky Boys; the Coretta Scott King Honor for Uncle Jed’s Barbershop; the Coretta Scott King and IBBY awards for Creation; the NAACP Image Award for Let My People Go and Our Children Can Soar; and the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance Award, Rip Van Winkle Award, SEBA Best Book of the Year Award and Dutchess County Executive Art Award for Individual Artist.

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Kid Lit TV Commenter Jean Darnell

I like the story-line of the book. I love the illustrations. Representation does matter. However, when you have a black-covered book, illustrated with lovely black images, but written and presented by a white man…your message of representation is diluted. It comes across that there still needs to be a “white stamp of approval” on a book about black life (“as if…”). I appreciate Mr. McMorrow reading his work and using his platform to create the opportunity. Therefore, it’s bittersweet to point this out because part of me wants to say this is “unity at work,” but let’s get real. As a black librarian, this could’ve gone differently and with more candor had the “read-aloud” had a performer (maybe even a guest librarian reading)…preferably someone who could scat-sing or deliver on the #RepresentationMatters the tweet to this link touted. It’s my immediate reaction, if I’m honest. Why isn’t there a footnote about the illustrator? Give those young American artists a way to connect and find inspiration from a black illustrator, since representation does matter he should’ve been represented.

Kid Lit TV Commenter Julie Gribble

Thank you so much for your feedback, Jean. I made your suggested changes to the post by including information about the illustrator of THE NUTCRACKER IN HARLEM, James Ransome, and I will include information about both the author and illustrator in all of KidLit TV’s future posts.

James Ransome is a member of the KidLit TV team and hosts YOUNG AT ART where he teaches the basic and intermediate art skills used to illustrate children’s books. Please follow this link to share James’ brilliant art tutorials with young artists: https://kidlit.tv/?s=james+ransome. This link also includes posts on KidLit TV that feature or include more information about James.
If you have a moment, please explore our website and let me know other areas that might need improvement. Your opinion is important to me!

Thank you!

Kid Lit TV Commenter Kathleen

I simply adored this story. The illustrations are so elegant and captivating. I appreciate that this Read Aloud is posted publicly so that I can share it with teachers, who then can share it with their students. I feel there is something very special and worthy of celebration when we see that the author of this rich, beautiful story is white. Anyone who is a writer will tell you that reading your stories aloud can either be terrifyingly uncomfortable, or a true privilege. I believe, based on the joy in the author’s face – especially the sparkly in his eyes – that he must relish the opportunity to share his work with others. I read in another comment that his whiteness discredits him; that a black actor would have brought more sincerity to the production of this read aloud. I beg to differ. What can be more sincere than a white man choosing to create and share with the world a story whose cast is entirely black? Moreover, the representation is of utmost respect, from the elegant clothing they wear, to the beautiful home in which they live. Moreover, the love and joy among the family members is palpable and heartwarming. We are constantly presented with a choice in life: we can judge what we see by looking for what we can perceive as wrong, or can we open our hearts and choose to look for what’s right. He could have written a story about a white family in Brooklynn – but this is the story he choose to write, and he has the right to share it and to be proud of it. Why diminish something beautiful? Rather, let’s celebrate the coming together of whites and blacks. Uniting ourselves is how we grow together in love. To suggest the author does not have the right to read his own book seems divisive to me and I am unable to see how such a belief can possibly help to move us forward as people. The better world that I dream of and believe in is based on everyone’s worthiness being based on their contributions to making the world a better place, regardless of the color of our skin. Thank you to everyone who participated in making sure that this lovely story not only got published, but is being made available for free for all to enjoy. Happy Holidays!


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