Joshunda Sanders, illustrated by Charly Palmer

The first volume in a children’s book series about eight-year-old Ava Murray, intrepid and inspired reporter of the people, places, and happenings in her neighborhood, the Bronx, and her city, New York.

Six Foot Press
Pub date: 7/8/2019

40 pages
Full-color illustrations throughout
Ages 4 to 7
11.5 x 9” (H x W)


Eight-year-old Ava Murray wants to know why there’s a difference between the warm, friendly Bronx neighborhood filled with music and art in which she lives and the Bronx she sees in news stories on TV and on the Internet. When her mother explains that the power of stories lies in the hands of those who write them, Ava decides to become a journalist. I Can Write the World follows Ava as she explores her vibrant South Bronx neighborhood buildings whose walls boast gorgeous murals of historical figures as well as intricate, colorful street art, the dozens of different languages and dialects coming from the mouths of passersby, the many types of music coming out of neighbors’ windows and passing cars. In reporting how the music and art and culture of her neighborhood reflect the diversity of the people of New York City, Ava shows the world as she sees it, revealing to children the power of their own voice.

Joshunda Sanders has been a journalist since 1998, one of only a handful of African-American women to be a full-time staff writer at the Houston Chronicle, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and San Francisco Chronicle. A former President Obama appointee in communications at the Department of Energy, she most recently served as Director of Communications, North America, for change.org. She still lives in the Bronx neighborhood in which she was born and raised. She has been published in the New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, and many other international publications. She is the recipient of the 2018 Excellence in Fiction Award from the Bronx Council of the Arts.

Charly Palmer is an award-winning painter and collagist whose first children’s book, Mama Africa!: How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with Her Song, won a Coretta Scott King Award and was named a Kirkus Best Book of 2017.  He is also the illustrator of There’s a Dragon in My Closet.


Review from School Library Connection, November/December 2019 issue
Sanders, Joshunda
I Can Write the World
Illustrated by Charly Palmer. 2019. 40pp. $18.95 hc. Six Foot Press. 9781644420010. Grades K-2

Eight year old Ava Murry lives in the Bronx, New York, and wants to grow up to be a journalist and write about the world she loves living in as she sees it, not as the negative atmosphere that newscasters report as her life. The text is accompanied by lush, graffiti like paintings by Charley Palmer which consist of bold colors and geometric shapes, a style inspired by his childhood exposure to Ezra Jack Keats stories. Ava’s story plays out in her classroom where she shares her perceptions that her beautiful community and neighborhood are not fully understood by the mainstream media. Unconventional punctuation, such as the absence of periods, identify this book as a narrative poem, lending a dramatic tone to the oral reading of the text. Regardless of the viewpoint, the story conveys a sense of pride and care exhibited by Ava and her intuitive mother that crosses ethnic and economic boundaries and which will inspire readers to carefully reexamine their own surroundings rather than automatically accept what others tell them about their condition. This book provides is a timely and valuable message in this age of 24/7 news coverage. Josie Stanmyre, Retired Elementary Librarian, Fairfax County Public Schools, Reston, Virginia

Highly Recommended