13-Year Old Nigerian-American accepted into Duke GIFTED program

Missouri City, TX (BlackNews.com) — Back in 2013, Noella Ukpe Roberts of Missouri City, Texas, was narrating adorable videos of her favorite folktale, Lǎo Lǎo Tóu, in fluent Chinese. Today, the 7th grade student, invited to join the Duke University Talent Identification Program’s prestigious 7th Grade Talent Search in October, has gained admission into Duke’s Summer Studies Program. She will be taking a college-level equivalent course in finance that will explore marketing, innovation and the effects that the stock market, taxes, mortgages and interest-bearing accounts have on our daily financial decisions.“

Qualifying for Duke’s Summer Studies is such an amazing opportunity. I’m hoping to gain skills in finance that will prepare me to own and operate my own animation studio one day,” said Noella.

Each year, Duke TIP identifies a group of academically talented students in the United States based on their exceptional grade-level standardized test scores. Only those who score at or above the 95th percentile qualify to participate in the 7th Grade Talent Search and to take the ACT or SAT, which are designed for college-bound eleventh and twelfth graders. Of those, only the top scoring participants are granted admission to Duke’s Summer Studies Program.

“We are so proud of our daughter,” said Noella’s father, Gabriel Emegha. “She has consistently worked hard at her academics and is extraordinarily focused and determined to make her dreams come true!”

Participants in the 7th Grade Talent Search also receive a variety of support services and gain access to research and other information about using their academic abilities more effectively.

For more information about Noella, contact Dionne Roberts-Emegha at (281) 748-7410 or visit www.NoellaCommunityImpact.com.

McDaniel College Launches 150th Anniversary Celebration

Visit 150.McDaniel.edu to learn more and follow #McDaniel150 on Facebook and Twitter

WESTMINSTER, Md. – McDaniel College marks its 150th anniversary with a year-long sesquicentennial celebration honoring its past, present and future.

Founded in 1867 as the first coeducational college south of the Mason-Dixon Line, McDaniel was formerly known as Western Maryland College, named for the Western Maryland railroad. The college’s founding date is Sept. 4, 1867, when the first academic year began, and the college’s charter was approved by the State of Maryland on March 30, 1868. In 2002, the college was renamed for William Roberts McDaniel in honor of his 65-year association with the college as a student, professor, administrator and trustee.

As a kick off, college historian James E. Lightner, who has served the college for five decades as a 1959 alumnus, professor emeritus of mathematics and current trustee, is the speaker at McDaniel’s 147th Commencement on Saturday, May 20, 10 a.m., in the college’s Gill Center. Lightner penned the history of the college in his more than 700-page book, “Fearless and Bold.”

Debuting in May 2017, a commemorative logo celebrating the 150th anniversary will appear on banners and signage on campus and throughout Westminster, Md., as well as on college stationery and other materials.

An anniversary website, 150.McDaniel.edu, will include an interactive historical timeline and a calendar of 150th anniversary-related events. The hashtag #McDaniel150 will also be utilized on Facebook and Twitter to celebrate the 150th anniversary.

Throughout the 2017–2018 academic year, the college plans to hold lectures, exhibitions and other events to commemorate the anniversary, including two special celebrations:

· McDaniel College’s 150th Birthday Party takes place on campus in conjunction with Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 21, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Free and open to the public, the event features live music, children’s activities, food and a beer and wine garden. A timeline exhibit highlighting each decade of the college’s history will be on view in Rice Gallery, Peterson Hall, with a reception beginning at 10 a.m., including opening remarks by college historian James E. Lightner. (The exhibition runs Thursday, Oct. 19–Friday, Nov. 10). There will also be self-guided historic tours of campus and viewings of “Fearless and Bold: LIVE,” a 90-minute multimedia presentation on the college’s history adapted from the book, “Fearless and Bold,” in Decker Auditorium, Lewis Hall of Science.

The Birthday Party will continue as McDaniel’s Green Terror football team takes on the Mules of Muhlenberg College at 2 p.m. at Kenneth R. Gill Stadium, with a cake-cutting ceremony slated for halftime (approximately 3:15 p.m.). McDaniel is nationally recognized for its unique drive-in tailgating tradition and approximately 2,500 fans annually attend the Homecoming football game. Admission to the game is free; parking on the field is $10 per vehicle (cash only, payable at the gate).

· Holiday Light Show illuminates Kenneth R. Gill Stadium with a drive-through light display synchronized to music throughout the holiday season. The show opens on Saturday, Nov. 25, in conjunction with Westminster’s Miracle on Main Street holiday electric parade.

The college also plans to participate in various community engagement activities, including the Westminster Fallfest Parade on Thursday, Sept. 21, and the holiday electric parade on Saturday, Nov. 25, as well as the PEEPshow at the Carroll Arts Center in March 2018. An exhibition pairing former and current art faculty members at McDaniel with alumni artists will be on display at the Carroll Arts Center from Jan. 9–Feb. 25.

In addition, McDaniel’s Center for Experience and Opportunity (CEO) will be hosting “Service Saturdays” with McDaniel students spending one Saturday each month working on community service projects with local nonprofit organizations. The Westminster Clean Up in April 2018 also includes McDaniel students volunteering at various sites throughout Westminster.

HBCU News:Albany State University names new head football coach

ALBANY, Ga. – The Albany State University director of athletics has selected a new head coach for the university’s Golden Rams Football Program. Gabe Giardina, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Charleston Southern University, begins his head coaching duties at ASU April 24, 2017.

Giardina, selected from a pool of more than 100 applicants following a national search, has more than eight years of experience in football leadership roles at the collegiate level.

Both ASU President Art Dunning and Director of Athletics Sherie Gordon said the university’s focus on student success played a major role in the selection of the coach and thus they greatly valued the input of student-athletes in the selection process.

“We wanted a strong leader with a plan and genuine passion about the social and academic development of our young men,” Gordon said. “We wanted someone committed to recruiting in the state and in bordering states. We wanted someone who could connect with our student-athletes and engage positively with the university and the Albany community. We wanted a winner. We have found that person in Gabe Giardina.”

“I met with our director of athletics after four finalists came to campus for a series of interviews. Upon completion of that process, I accepted her recommendation for this appointment,” Dunning said. “Having a head football coach who is committed to building character, promoting academics as a priority and working to ensure that our players graduate into meaningful careers aligns directly with our goal for student success. I am pleased to welcome Coach Giardina and his family to Albany State University. I look forward to working with him to develop and sustain a winning football program on and off the field of play.”

“Wimberly and I could not feel more blessed and excited to join the Albany State family. We are glad to make our home at a place with such a rich history and tradition,” Giardina said. “From the moment this process started we could sense and feel the passion and commitment that both Dr. Dunning and Sherie Gordon have for the development of the student athlete as a whole person. We are going to win with culture, character and integrity. We want to be Albany’s team!”

Giardina continued, “We are going to be a bright light in this community that alums and community members will be proud of by the way our young men compete on the field and by the way they conduct themselves off the field. It is our goal that all our players have the type of experience that truly transforms their lives and puts them on a path to do the same for others, all while bringing home championships to southwest Georgia.”

During his recent tenure at Charleston Southern University, led by a multiple option offense, CSU’s football team amassed 36 wins in four seasons, the most winning four years in that program’s history. The team won two Big South Conference championships in 2015 and 2016, and made two NCAA playoff appearances. In 2014 and 2016, the offense averaged more than 400 yards per game. Charleston Southern ranked 14th in the NCAA Division I FCS Coaches Poll at the conclusion of the 2016 season.

Giardina also has three years of experience as an assistant head coach and special teams and running back coordinator at CSU. He served as an offensive coach for wide receivers at Delta State University in 2012.

Building character and scholarship in football players is just as important to Giardina as building a winning team on the football field. Under his tutelage, five CSU players earned national and conference academic honors.

As a student and graduate assistant for the University of Alabama, Giardina worked for both Mike Shula and current Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban. He played for the Crimson Tide from 2000 to 2003. He appeared in nine games and earned Academic All-SEC honors in 2003.

Giardina and his wife Wimberly, a board certified music therapist, have three children, Frank Foster, DeAra and Whitt.

What others are saying about Gabe Giardina:

“Gabe did a great job for us at The University of Alabama, and we appreciate his contributions to our program. The characteristics that made him a good coach while he was here will be the same that make him a successful coach at Albany State and we wish him the best of luck.”

Nick Saban, Head Football Coach, The University of Alabama

“Gabe Giardina is not only a talented and intelligent football coach, he is a wonderful leader, developer and molder of young men. There will be no shortage of energy, passion and maturity as he leads the Albany State football program. His development as a coach is a direct reflection of his core values of faith, integrity and the importance of family.” Mike Shula, Offensive Coordinator, Carolina Panthers

“Gabe has been in preparation for this opportunity for many years. He is a leader of men who gets the most out of his players. Gabe is demanding yet passionate in his relationship with his players. He has the utmost integrity and will communicate a clear vision for the football program. He and his beautiful wife Wimberly will be a valuable addition to the Ram family and the city of Albany. This is the beginning of something very special for Albany State football.” Jamey Chadwell, Offensive Coordinator, Coastal Carolina University

James Fortune releases NEW SONG and cover for upcoming Album DEAR FUTURE ME, Available For Pre-order Now

An astonishing collection comprising 17 tracks in total, James Fortune & FIYA’s new album DEAR FUTURE ME also features the standout songs “Expectation”, “More Like You” and “Free Indeed”, as well as featured appearances from Tasha Cobbs, Kierra Sheard, Isaac Carree, Zacardi Cortez, Todd Galberth, and Joseph “JoJo” Clarke.

Check out the videos for “I Forgive Me” and a behind the scenes clip for “Dear Future Me” below:

James Fortune: “I Forgive Me” video


Behind the scenes video in the studio for “Dear Future Me”


James Fortune & FIYA: DEAR FUTURE ME, Available for Pre-Order Now

Release: June 23, 2017(FIYA World Entertainment/Entertainment One Music)

Album Track Listing

My Letter

Dear Future Me

It Gets Better

I Forgive Me

I Forgive Me Reprise (feat. Todd Galberth)

Favor of God (feat. Zacardi Cortez)

The Halftime Show (Favor of God Reprise)

You Rescued Me (feat. Tasha Cobbs)


You Still Love Me (Interlude)

I Wouldn’t Love Me (feat. Kierra Sheard)

Dear Mirror (feat. Isaac Carree)

Where Are You Now (Interlude)

More Like You


Free Indeed

I’m Healed By The Blood (feat. Joseph “JoJo” Clarke)

Apple Music


Google Play




Connect with James Fortune:

Facebook: /JamesFortuneAndFIYA

Twitter: @MrJamesFortune

Instagram: /mrjamesfortune

Snapchat: mrjamesfortune

136th My Maryland State Fair calling for scholarship applicants

Courtesy Photo/MY Maryland State Fair

— MY Maryland State Fair is currently seeking applicants for the Maryland State Fair and the Marlin K. Hoff Scholarship programs. Applications may be obtained at www.marylandstatefair.com. Completed pplications and attachments must be postmarked on/or before July 1, 2017. Recipients of the scholarships will be recognized at special ceremonies during the 2017 unFAIRgettable MY Maryland State Fair.

“Since its inception in 1879, agriculture education has been one of the Maryland State Fair’s top priorities,” said Maryland State Fair General Manager Andy Cashman. “Our competitive scholarships highlight and reward the accomplishments of youth, help them with their educational pursuits, and promote the importance of agriculture to our state and our world.”

The Maryland State Fair $2,000 Scholarships recognize the importance of education and participation in the Maryland State Fair. Applicants must be permanent residents of Maryland and active participants in the 2017 Maryland State Fair. They must be currently enrolled in an accredited college/university or be a high school senior entering their college freshman year in 2017. The applicant must complete an essay on the impact of their experience participating in the Maryland State Fair and how the scholarship will be beneficial in helping them with their career goals. Nine winners will be selected and will each receive $2,000 in scholarship monies.

The Marlin K. Hoff $2,000 Scholarship will be awarded to one Maryland youth enrolled in a four-year college, and currently or previously enrolled in a 4-H, FFA or breed organization dairy project. The recipient will be selected on the basis of involvement in the dairy industry, academic performance, leadership qualities, future goals and financial need. The Marlin K. Hoff Scholarship will be awarded during the Maryland Holstein Futurity at the 2017 MY Maryland State Fair.

The 136th unFAIRgettable MY Maryland State Fair presented by Toyota is a fun and educational destination complete with daily exhibits, presentations and entertainment that are sure to captivate visitors of all ages. No other event provides so much food, fun, family entertainment and education for so little. The Maryland State Fair, located in Timonium in Baltimore County, opens Thursday, August 24 and runs through Monday, September 4, 2017.

For more information, visit: www.marylandstatefair.com

32nd Fallen Heroes Day honors police, firefighters killed in line of duty

Baltimore— The 32nd annual Fallen Heroes Day ceremony will be held on Friday, May 5, 2017 at 1 p.m. at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. The annual event, which attracts more than 1,500 guests from across the state of Maryland, honors and remembers police and correctional officers, firefighters, and emergency medical/rescue personnel who died in the line of duty during the past year. It is the only statewide ceremony in the nation that brings together all segments of the public safety community. Fallen Heroes Day is also an opportunity for the public to show their appreciation for those who risk their lives every day to protect the citizens of Maryland.

The 2017 Fallen Heroes Day ceremony will honor Firefighter/Paramedic Lieutenant John Ulmschneider of the Prince George’s County Fire Department who died just weeks before the 2016 ceremony. On April 15, 2016, Firefighter/PM Lieutenant Ulmschneider and another medic responded to a “welfare call” at the home of a man suspected to be suffering from a medical emergency. When there was no answer at the door, forcible entry was used. The occupant of the home shot at the medics, mortally wounding 37-year-old Firefighter/PM Lieutenant Ulmschneider, a 13-year member of the Fire/EMS Department.

The ceremony will begin with a procession of more than 25 honor guard units from across the state, police motorcycle and mounted units, bagpipers, and drummers. Kai Jackson, veteran journalist and Fox 45 News anchor will be the keynote speaker.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Keiffer J. Mitchell, Jr., Special Advisor, Governor’s Legislative Office, will give memorial addresses. Princella Hunter, the mother of Fallen

Hero Trooper First Class Shaft Hunter who was honored at the 2012 Fallen Heroes Day Ceremony, will speak as a survivor. Television news anchor and radio host Mary Beth Marsden will serve as MC.

During the ceremony, the family of Firefighter/PM Lieutenant Ulmschneider will be presented with a replica of the Fallen Heroes Memorial and a resolution from the Maryland General Assembly. Additionally, one police officer and two firefighters who died in the line of duty, before Fallen Heroes Day was established in 1986, will be remembered and their families will be presented with a Governor’s Proclamation.

“Our hearts go out to the Ulmschneider family as we remember Firefighter/ Paramedic Lieutenant John Ulmschneider and those public servants across the nation who have died in the line of duty,” said John O. Mitchell, III, Chairman of Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. “This year, as always, Fallen Heroes Day provides an opportunity for the citizens of Maryland to take time to show appreciation and respect for the men and women who risk their lives each day when they report to work.”

Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens was established in 1958 by John Armiger, Sr. In 1976, he set aside 330 burial spaces for fallen heroes and their spouses. Ten years later, he established the tradition of Fallen Heroes Day.

Keeping with tradition, Governor Larry Hogan has issued a proclamation declaring May 5, 2017 as Fallen Heroes Day in Maryland and has ordered flags flown at half-staff at the State House and all state facilities.

The Fallen Heroes Memorial is located within Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens, 200 East Padonia Road in Timonium.

Applications are being accepted for Fall 2017 WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium

— WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease has announced that applications are now being accepted for the Fall 2017 WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium. The Symposium is taking place October 6-October 9, 2017 at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. The application deadline is July 31, 2017.

The four-day Symposium brings together dedicated female heart patients and provides a rigorous training for them to be WomenHeart Champions— patient volunteers who work in their local communities to lead support network meetings with heart disease survivors and/or participate in other WomenHeart education and advocacy activities.

“Education, advocacy and support are at the core of the fight against heart disease in women. WomenHeart Champions trained at this prestigious program are equipped to improve awareness, increase action and lead peer support efforts in their local communities,” said Mary McGowan, CEO of WomenHeart.

McGowan referenced research that underscores the impact of peer support in helping women improve their heart disease outcomes.

“So many women experience feelings of fear, anxiety and isolation following a heart disease diagnosis. However, women who regularly attend a support group led by a trained peer leader are more engaged in their health care and experience lower levels of stress, anxiety and depression,” she said. “This is just one example of the real impact made by participating in the WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium, and we’re so proud to see the difference it makes in each WomenHeart Champion’s local community.”

Members of WomenHeart’s National Hospital Alliance are encouraged to nominate patients that they believe would be would be best suited for this leadership opportunity. The organization is also seeking nominations from hospitals not currently affiliated with the National Hospital Alliance, as well as directly from women living with heart disease. Patients are asked to complete a short survey to begin the application process.

WomenHeart was founded in 1999 and the Science & Leadership Symposium at Mayo Clinic was founded as an integral part of WomenHeart in 2002. WomenHeart currently boasts more than 800 WomenHeart Champions and 97 WomenHeart Support Networks that reach more than 10,000 women heart patients nationwide every year.

Art installation encourages reflection about Segregation Era, 21st Century Race Relations

An alternate reality that was once the center of summer fun and recreation for Baltimore’s black population, Pool #2, which operated as a segregated pool in the “historically black” section of Druid Hill Park from 1926 to 1956, is temporarily the site of an art installation and exhibit, featuring the work of the city’s most imaginative artists.

“Everyday Utopias,” an exhibition coordinated by Curator Sheena M. Morrison, brings together ten of the area’s contemporary artistic talents to interpret through art how Druid Hill’s once segregated Pool #2 and the history and trajectory surrounding that facility represent the “everyday” successes and struggles of civic life.

“From the initial campaign to construct the city’s first public pool for black people to the resolute activism that led to its eventual closure, Pool No. 2 reflects the pragmatism of an “everyday utopia” a term coined to define those creative practices that we engage in daily to find new and better ways to improve our lives and the world,” said Morrison.

Known as the Colored Pool by local residents in the 1950s, Pool #2 was constructed in response to a 1953 drowning accident involving a young African American boy in the Patapsco River.

“The tragedy revealed the difficult circumstances for many African Americans looking for a place to swim in Baltimore. The boy lived near Clifton Park but swam in a dangerous river due to his exclusion from the park’s whites-only pool,” according to the Explore Baltimore Heritage website.

Baltimore sound artist and Maryland Institute College of Art graduate, Andrew Keiper created Summer Sonar, a sound installation to bring an awareness of water and its many personal and social meanings.

“The surface of water can figure as the threshold of conscious awareness and in the water below, swims our dreams, aspirations and fantasies,” Keiper said.“Desegregation filled this pool,” Keiper added referring to the ultimate closure and filling of Pool #2, “but did it bury white supremacy?”

After the Patapsco River drowning, the Baltimore NAACP subsequently mounted a successful campaign that closed the pool the same year it was opened. The pool lay dormant until local artist and 2016 MacArthur Genius Fellow Joyce J. Scott won a commission to transform the once “Colored Pool” into a memorial.

“How do we make this area useful and beautiful, and harken back to the pool era?” Joyce said when reflecting on how she would approach the work of memorializing the pool. The result was filling in the pool and creating a lawn. Scott kept the original metal diving board, chair, ladders and boys changing room to pay homage to the pool’s original patrons.

“I, Colored,” a mural and photographic collage with hand painted flags is the work of artist and photographer, Tiffany Jones. The multi-dimensional collage and flag installation is meant to encourage visitors to recognize that in spite of the hardships of Jim Crow life in the 1950’s, African Americans still enjoyed rich, full cultural lives.

“We tend to forget that African Americans continued to live incredible, textured, multi-faceted lives during the Jim Crow era,” Jones said. “There was laughter and celebration.”

Other artists who are part of the exhibition, include: Billy Colbert, Sutton Demlong, Fluid Movement, Lauren R. Lyde, Antonio McAfee, Edward-Victor Sanchez, and Michael Trueblood.

Until the Everyday Utopias exhibit, Scott’s original work stood alone. Through May 7, 2017, Joyce Scott’s lawn-filled Pool #2 at Druid Hill Park is alive with the art of Everyday Utopias.

Baltimore & Me:Community Policing: Outreach minister serves BPD as civilian chaplain

Minister Debora Berry’s work in the southeastern district as a chaplain for the Baltimore City Police Department (BPD) has aroused in her a deeper appreciation for the men and women who suit up everyday to protect and serve the citizens of this city.

Earlier this year, Berry graduated with the third class of the civilian chaplain academy, the faith-based program of the BPD’s Community Collaboration Division—ready to serve.

“I’m truly honored to be called to this,” said Minister Debora Berry, whose previous work in ministry centered around planning faith-based activities for youth with Greater Harvest and Beyond the Walls ministries in East Baltimore.

“It’s new to me, but I accept the calling. I’m excited about what God is truly doing, not just for me but, for them. They are the ones that have to be out here each and everyday to deal with what’s going on [in the city],” she said.

Understanding the inherent interdependency in the relationship between police officers and city residents, Minister Berry’s service to the program is split between manning one of the dozens of prayer alters strategically located throughout the city and providing spiritual care for first responders and officers on beat.

She credits the training she received from the academy for expanding her consciousness about topics, including: domestic violence, racial bias, and principles of community policing and mental health.

“My job is to be there to pray when called,” said Minister Berry, who was called to a shooting on the first day of field training with the chaplain academy.

“We are there to pray with the officers… to cover for the first responders… to pray for the community,” she said. “We’re there praying for whoever is going through what they’re going through.”

Another call, took her to the scene where a man attempted suicide by jumping in front of a bridge in Dundalk toward a moving train.

“He missed,” recalled Minister Berry. “It was hard to be up close with someone who wanted to take their life. When I saw him there I just asked God to transform his mind. Life is too precious just to throw away like that, regardless of what you’re going through.”

Minister Berry brings a warrior’s spirit to her work with the faith-based program. More months than not, she exceeds the 20-hour expectation set for volunteer clergy because sometimes,she says, that’s what it takes.

During one-on-one with officers, the outreach minister helps them to spiritually digest what they experience physically on the job— to see things through the eyes of love, to work through the toxic emotions that have the potential to drive police, as well as any other human being to take their own lives or to complicate the lives of others.

“I was pretty much there everyday at one point,” said Minister Berry. “Every day that the partner officer I was assigned to was working, I was there; I had to develop a rapport. I had to build that relationship to where he could open up.”

When they first met, Minister Berry says, her partner was numb. From what she could gather in the beginning, he was facing challenges with balancing work and home, and adjusting emotionally to his experiences on the job.

“He would never open up, he would just walk around saying, ‘I’m OK. I’m OK. I’m OK.’ But now today he opens up— we talk outside of the district. He calls and checks up on me— and I [check on] him, and the relationship we have is mutual.”

Prayer, as Minister Berry employs it, is not just about the words. It’s about the infinite power activated when people take courage to stand with one another, in the face of the appearances that make them different, to make a commitment to collectively, acknowledge the source of absolute good— God, a higher power or whatever connects all humanity.

For all the good seeds planted in the hearts and minds she has touched with her service, Minister Berry says she has reaped a harvest that has transformed her life. She recalled being called to the scene of a fatal house fire in North East Baltimore that claimed the lives of six children, earlier this year.

“My biggest challenge was seeing those babies, innocent souls, being pulled out of that fire. It really touched my heart. I thought about my babies, my [five] grandchildren,” the mother of two daughters and one son said.

With first responders since 10 a.m, she stayed and prayed until the fire was extinguished and everyone was out of the house. She was drained, and just when she thought she had no more to give, her partner officer stepped in. “He covered me in prayer,” she said. “You have to love one another. It’s all about love. We have one big happy family over at the southeastern district— we stand together, civilians and police officers.”

Tiffany Christy is an urban educator, youth advocate, and multimedia editor and producer. She enjoys capturing the beauty of her beloved Baltimore in words and pictures. Follow Tiffany on Facebook/tiffany.ginyard and visit her blog, Fly Lyf, at www.flygirlnetwork.org/blog.

Caribbean author debuts children’s fantasy book at African American Children’s Book Fair

— Children’s author Danielle Y.C. McClean will debut her fantasy adventure book, Secrets of Oscuros: The Protectors’ Pledge on May 6, 2017, at the 5th annual African American Children’s Book Fair at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, 830 E. Pratt Street in Baltimore from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Danielle Y.C. McLean is a third-place winner of the CODE 2016 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature—the largest prize for Caribbean children’s literature for her children's fantasy adventure book,

Danielle Y.C. McLean is a third-place winner of the CODE 2016 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature—the largest prize for Caribbean children’s literature for her children’s fantasy adventure book, “Secrets of Oscurus: The Protectors’ Pledge.”

A third-place winner of the CODE 2016 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature (the largest prize for Caribbean children’s literature), The Protectors’ Pledge is a fast-paced adventure set deep in a Caribbean forest with JV, a twelve-year-old hero who must risk everything to save the forest and his village.

McClean breathes life into the exciting story, which is centered around JV who can’t wait to spend his vacation exploring the Oscuros Forest. Everyone in the village of Alcavere believes the Oscuros Forest is a place to be feared, inhabited by dangerous and magical beings. But JV is not afraid, even after his first trip into the forest brings him face to-face with a mysterious creature.

Then the disappearance of one of their own shakes the village and JV joins the search. He finds himself deep in the Oscuros Forest on a rescue mission and committed to a promise, which the Protectors of the forest insist he keeps, no matter how dangerous things get.

Can JV complete his daring quest even as he uncovers in the process, a shocking secret that will force him to question everything he thought he knew?

“Writing The Protectors’ Pledge was a labor of love to celebrate and share my Caribbean heritage with children in an exciting and engaging way. To win a CODE 2016 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature means I achieved that goal and inspires me to keep moving forward on my journey as an author,” said McClean.

Danielle Y. C. McClean was born on the Caribbean island of Trinidad in a home where books were valued and plentiful. Though she went on to earn advanced degrees in French and Spanish translation as well as a law degree, she retained a love of books and a desire to become an author. In 2016, her debut novel, Secrets of Oscuros: The Protectors’ Pledge, won a CODE 2016 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature. McClean lives with her husband and two children in Tennessee, where she is a translator, interpreter and Spanish teacher.

The Protectors’ Pledge is published by CaribbeanReads Publishing. E-books and print books are available for purchase at select bookstores and all online booksellers.For more information, visit: www.daniellemcclean.com.