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The Gordon School


Kwame Mbalia and Eric Wilkerson
in conversation with Head of School Noni Thomas López

Wednesday, December 8th, 6:30pm
Over Zoom, registration required
Submit your questions in advance as part of the Zoom registration, or email them to Dr. Thomas López at

Author Kwame Mbalia (above left) and illustrator Eric Wilkerson (above right) will join Dr. Thomas López for a conversation on Black joy, African American representation in children's books, and their respective creative paths. Guests are invited to submit questions in advance.

Mbalia and Wilkerson are this year's Karla Harry Visiting Author honorees. They are creative team behind the New York Times bestseller Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, which was awarded a Coretta Scott King Author Honor and CABA award. 

Along with two Tristan sequels, Mbalia is the co-author of The Last Gate of the Emperor and the editor of Black Boy Joy, a recently published middle grade anthology of stories, comics, and poems about the power of joy and the wonders of Black boyhood. He is a graduate of Howard University and currently lives in North Carolina with his family. 

Eric Wilkerson is an illustrator who has worked in film, commercials, video games, and the publishing industry, including with Kwame Mbalia on his Tristan series. A graduate of The School of Visual Arts, he has taught in the illustration department at Syracuse University and has guest lectured at Syracuse University’s Visual Communication Symposium, Fashion Institute of Technology, and for classes at the School of Visual Arts NYC. Eric has worked with companies such as Activision, Disney Publishing, Scholastic, Random House, Upper Deck, and Weta Workshop during his nearly twenty years as a professional illustrator. He is passionate about creating work centering people of color in science fiction illustration, and continues to work to keep representation of African Americans at the core of his work.