Olokun of the Galaxy

New Picture Book Honors Earth’s Oceans, Ecosystems and Victims of the Atlantic Slave Trade

‘An epic for the ages’—Tony Medina, author of I Am Alfonso Jones

‘Richly imagined’ and ‘Urgent’—Melissa Tuckey, editor, Ghost Fishing:
An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology.

Olokun of the Galaxy is a poetry and visual arts book about Olokun, an African spirit of the deepest ocean. Through 32 colorful pages, award-winning author and artist Esther Iverem tells a moving tale about protecting the Earth’s oceans and honoring the millions who died during or descended from the Atlantic Slave Trade. This book, available in hardcover and e-book, takes Olokun from Earth to other oceans in the galaxy—including the waters beneath the ice of Europa, the methane lakes of Titan and exoplanets.

Iverem developed this beautiful book, suitable for older children to the oldest adults, to feature and accompany a series of award-winning art figures she creates from reclaimed pants that she has exhibited across the United States since 2012. Honoring indigenous water protectors and the Movement for Black Lives, some of these “pants dolls” wear medallions that read “Water is Life” and “Mni Wicomi or carry small photos of African Americans killed by state violence, such as Eric Garner or Sandra Bland.

Just as Iverem has added washable play dolls to her figure series, she wants the Olokun of the Galaxy book to be for the youngest child who loves nature and space. She realizes, however, that parents of the very young will want to choose how and when to present the book’s verses that address the horrors of the Atlantic Slave Trade or “Maafa,” the Kiswahili term for “terrible occurrence” or “great disaster.”

“I read storybooks to my son and then watched him grow up loving science and reading all kinds of fantasy and myths that were great but were divorced from African history and culture,” said Iverem. “I am excited to see Olokun of the Galaxy be a story that gives children a narrative that combines historical fact and fantasy, educates about protecting Earth and explores mysteries of the universe.”

Esther Iverem is a multi-disciplinary author, artist, producer and curator. She has received numerous honors for her diverse body of work, which includes the news show “On the Ground: Voices of Resistance from the Nation’s Capital” on Pacifica Radio and online at www.onthegroundshow.org. Before working as an independent writer and artist, she was a staff writer for The Washington Post, New York Newsday and The New York Times. Her previous books include a book on film, We Gotta Have It: Twenty Years of Seeing Black at the Movies, 1986-2006 (Hatchette Book Group) and two books of poems, Living in Babylon and The Time: Portrait of a Journey Home (Africa World Press). She is a native of Philadelphia, a graduate of the University of Southern California and Columbia University. She lives in Washington, DC and is available for interviews, readings, book clubs, school groups, young reader circles or organizations concerned with environment, science, conservation, media or culture. Contact her at www.estheriverem.net.

Olokun of the Galaxy hardback and e-book available for sale online and in stores. Published by Seeing Black Press and distributed by Ingram with more than over 39,000 bookstores, online retailers, libraries, and schools.

Shop online at outlets such as Barnes and Noble or Amazon, or order from your local bookstore. Also, Iverem is selling a limited number of signed books online through her shop on Etsy. The e-book is for sale at Apple Books here

To view Iverem’s art portfolio, which includes the Olokun figures click here to go to the website for her art studio, www.legacyquiltsandart.com.