Women Makes Movies

The following information was posted to the AFAS listserv today.  In checking the credibility of this organization prior to posting, I found that one of  Women Makes Movies‘ aquisitions (“Rough Aunties”) just won the World Cinema Documentary Prize at Sundance and this is the third year in a row for one of their acquisitions to take a top prize.  No, they can’t be much more credible than that! So, here is their information as stated in their posting:

To celebrate the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States and the first black American to hold the highest office in the land, Women Make Movies is pleased to offer a special collection of our most important titles celebrating African American pioneers.

In 1965, three Mississippi women arrived to their country’s capital seeking civil rights for all and walked into the U.S. House of Representatives as the first black women allowed into the senate chambers in over 100 years.

With more than 50 years separating the experience of African American teenager Kandice, who is bused in to the affluent, mostly-white suburban Weston for school, and the landmark Brown vs. the Board of Education decision, this film illustrates the ways in which a truly desegregated education system is still an unachieved goal in this country.

This exuberant celebration of African American women and their achievements features interviews with Angela Davis, June Jordan and Alice Walker discussing Black power and feminist movements in the context of the civil rights history.

A legendary African American actress, poet, and political activist, Beah Richards (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner), defied racial stereotypes throughout her long career while fighting for civil rights alongside the likes of Paul Robeson, W.E.B. DuBois and Louise Patterson.


Pioneering Black American composer-arranger-pianist Mary Lou Williams is one of the most remarkable figures in the history of jazz. Includes lively interviews with Williams, Dizzy Gillepsie, and Buddy Tate interwoven with the musical and personal elements of her dramatic life. Narrated by Roberta Flack.

A powerful tribute to legendary black lesbian feminist poet Audre Lorde (1934-1992), a celebrated icon of feminism, Lorde inspired several generations of activists from black liberation, women’s liberation, and lesbian and gay liberation. New DVD includes bonus footage from the 1990  “I Am Your Sister: Forging Global Connections Across Difference Conference” and additional selections of poetry and music.

This intimate portrait of writer Dorothy West explores the forgotten role of women in the Harlem Renaissance and growing up African American. Archival  footage and photographs, interviews and excerpts from her autobiographical  novel, “The Living is Easy,” capture West’s fascinating story.

This candid study of women in hip-hop explores a fascinating and diverse
feminist community, which yearns to find a place in a male-dominated
subculture that is, in itself, marginalized.
For more information visit: http://www.wmm.com/filmcatalog/collect12.shtm

book review: A Wish After Midnight

Title: A Wish After Midnight

Author: Zetta Elliottwish

Publisher: Zetta Elliott, 2008

Main character: Genna Colon

Genna’s mother probably never told her to be careful what she wished and she probably never told Genna that she was beautiful, or smart or a wonderful daughter. Mom was too busy struggling with a son and a daughter she already lost to the streets, trying to make ends meet on her single income and getting through life’s daily demands. No, life was not easy for Genna and her family in Brooklyn. We know that Gemma is intelligent, tall, responsible, friendless and losing hope. She’s a young girl who doesn’t know her gifts or her options. She really leads a sheltered life and is unaware of much in the world around her, except for the world that exists in her garden.

She’s crushin’ on Judah and when they finally get together, her world expands. There is much tension brought in her home because of the decisions of her older siblings and how they affect the dynamics of the household.

Genna comes of age in this story, but not before she makes one fateful wish that takes her to the past. She transcends time and space to land in Civil War era Brooklyn. Her relationships lead her to uncover the depths of racial relations in New York City, what freedom really means, her true beauty and her real love.

This historical novel is a well written tale, penned by Zetta Elliott, author of Bird and numerous works of published poetry, one act plays and other works. She is a scholar and researcher who is well versed in Brooklyn’s diverse history. Even with these accomplishments, Elliott has had to go the route of self publishing in order to get this book to market. Don’t let that stop you from purchasing it! Adding this book to any young adult collection will be a wise investment. The historical evidence of the Draft Riots, and conditions for Irish and African Americans is sound. Messages in the book are clear but not overpowering. The suspense created by the story remains with me even now as I wonder how Judah found Genna and if he will indeed find her again.

Zetta Elliott be careful what you wish for because you should have a bestseller on your hands with this one!

For purchase information: http://www.zettaelliott.com/books.html

THEMES: race relations; Brooklyn; Civil War; coming of age; identity

International Latino Book Awards


From LaBloga, I see the International Book Awards are now accepting nominations. Winners will be announced in May at BookExpo America.  More information can be found on the Latino Book & Family Festival website.  Last year’s  YA winners:

There’s a Coqui in My Shoe – Marisa deJesús Paolicelli – Chi Chi Rodriguez Books

2nd Place: Submarines/Submarinos – Catherine Ellis – Rosen Publishing
Honorable Mention: Alex Rodriguez: Baseball Star/Estrella Del Beisbol – Mary Ann Hoffman – Rosen Publishing

Summer Educator Workshops

If you’re trying to find something to do this summer, consider the NEH Summer Workshops for educators.  A couple of summers ago, I participated in the wonderful Pearl Harbor workshop hosted by the EastWest Center in Honolulu and have to say it was one of the most incredible opportunities I’ve had.  This year’s list of topics include  Zora Neale Hurston (in Florida!!);  music, culture and history of the Mississippi Delta ; The Alamo, Alabama and the Civil Rights Movement; Nashville and the Civil War; Ellis Island; the Underground Railroad and several others.  These workshops are available to teachers and librarians, last about one week and provide a stipend as well as materials.  Check it out!

Application deadline:  1 March 2009

Sapphire’s Push

Push by Sapphire, an ALA Book for College bound has hit the big screen!  It’s premiering at the Sundance Film Festival.  I found out about the movie while reading about the new batch of teen movies appearing at Sundance.  I don’t know where else these movies will see the light of day.  They sound like quite powerful peices of storytelling that give us insight into the world we’ve handed to our children and how they’re struggling to survive in it. I hope for the opportunity to see all of them, especially Push, very soon!