08 Nov

A Family of Three Educators Each Publish Children’s Books

Posted by Obiora Nnamdi Anekwe

Three local authors in one family have recently published children’s books, each on different themes. Yvonne Southerland (mother), Alexis Southerland (daughter), and Obiora N. Anekwe (son-in-law) displayed and read from their respective books in the African American Heritage Center during the Kids Book and Comic Fair held Saturday, November 4th at the Macon Library, a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, located in the Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. The branch, opened in 1907, was the borough's eleventh Carnegie library. This year’s theme was “Celebrating diversity in fiction written by local independent authors.” In Yvonne Southerland’s children’s book, The Moose is Loose: The Adventures of an Adirondack Moose and the Wiggletoes Family, she chronicles 35 summers in which her family spent vacations in the Adirondacks visiting many of Big Moose’s favorite sites. She is a retired art educator in the New York Department of Education who has edited a tour guide, Florence and its Hills, and authored a book on her family history entitled, Legacy: Seven Generations of a Family.


Alexis Southerland Anekwe, Yvonne’s daughter, is the author of her first children’s book, Believe. In her book, a young boy is encouraged by his mother to explore several different careers that he might pursue. In the end, his mother teaches him that belief is the key ingredient to achieving his dreams. For the past eleven years, Alexis has served as a special education teacher in the New York City Department of Education. She has also taught in higher education as an adjunct professor at Touro College, Graduate School of Education and Psychology. She resides in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, Obiora N. Anekwe, and their son, Amari Anekwe.

Obiora N. Anekwe, Alexis’ husband, has written and illustrated two children’s books, entitled The Adventures of Blind Tom and Ma Rainey Sings the Blues. He became interested in Blind Tom and Ma Rainey while growing up in Columbus, Georgia, the hometown of both entertainers. His honors college senior thesis was about Ma Rainey, Mother of the Blues. Obiora is a special education teacher in the New York City Department of Education. He has previously served as an adjunct professor at Auburn University and academic administrator at Tuskegee University. He has published several books and articles in education and bioethics.