SundayMorningReads

Yolo County Librarian Patty Wong is the 2012 recipient of the American Library Association Equality Award. The annual award, $1,000 and a framed citation of achievement are given to an individual or group for outstanding contributions toward promoting equality in the library profession.

In being selected for the award, Wong was noted for her outstanding efforts in teaching and mentoring students. “As an instructor at the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University since 2006, a participant on many Spectrum scholarship committees and a mentor for many students from diverse backgrounds, she reaffirms on a daily basis her commitment to making libraries more diverse and a core part of the communities they serve” said the ALA in a recent  news release .

Congratulations!

The Joint Conference of Librarians of Color will begin registration for the 2012 conference,  Celebrating Stories, Embracing Communities on 1 March. The conference will be held 19-23 September in Kansas City, MO.

7 March is World Read Aloud Day. From their website:

 World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology.

By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their future: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their words to change the world.

Volunteer to read to a group of students, senior citizens or close friends! Find a community leader or local author to read to your students! Sign up for a Skype visit from an author who will volunteer to read to your students! I am working on plans for my school now and hope to post pics of a great, reading aloud/reading allowed kinda day!

A blanket of clouds lined the sky last Thursday

Speaking of author visits!!! This past Thursday, Ben Davis High School’s Media Specialist extraordinaire Kathy Hicks-Brooks invited me to hear author L. Divine! She even gave me the OK to bring teachers Ms. Preddie St. Claire and Ms. Butler, Language Arts teachers who have come to know Ms. Divine’s Drama High series through their students. Both spoke to me about how well their students relate to Ms. Divine’s books and how hard it is to keep copies of the books in their classroom libraries. While the Drama High books primarily appeals to girl readers, boys looking to read a little romance enjoy the books as well. I’ve even had young men checkout a copy from my library because they were attracted by the young woman on the cover!

Ms. Divine had spent the entire day with at Ben Davis, visiting classes and speaking to groups of students. We met her at a dinner in the evening where she spoke of how much she missed teaching, relaxing with teachers in the lounge and hosting after school activities for students.  She was a storyteller who took us through her time as a grad student, as a teacher who struggled with the concept of ‘attachment theory and as a young woman struggling to be an independent mother and provider and always, as an advocate for the students she served.

Her attachment to her students probably led her

L. Divine at Ben Davis H.S.

to write ‘The Fight’ after one student burst into her classroom to fight another over some boy. This story grew into the Drama High series which currently has readers anxiously waiting for volume 15, Street Soldier. Her passionate presentation energized both students and staff to work together for a productive future.

Unfortunately, Ms. Divine seems to have hit the wall that too many authors of color hit after publishing one or two successful books. With a new series ready to go and no publisher ready to take her on she,  like several other writers of color, is ready to self publish.  As she stated, “it’s the faith in what you’re doing, in what you have to give” that seems to motivate her not only  to work to provide young people with books they want to read but to continue being an advocate for young people who seem to have lost their own voice.

L. Divine was recently featured on the BrownBookshelf’s 28 Days Later.

Read-In: Ninth Ward

 

I’ve really enjoyed the questions and comments that Doret and Vasilly have generated on their blogs! I’ve had a busy week this week, much busier than I would like with such a project going on, but thinking about Lanesha and MamaYaYa has kept me grateful, has kept me focused and has given me purpose this week.

Here are my questions!

1.   Lanesha talks a lot about symbols in the book. She mentions words, numbers and math as symbols. I found other symbols in the book; what symbols did you find? What did they mean to you?

 

 

2.  My grandmother was like a second mother to me. My sister and grandmother both had 6 fingers. I was in the NOLA train station that summer before the hurricane hit and I’ll always remember the beautiful murals in that building. I cannot think of a deeper way the story relates to me, thankfully my coming of age was nothing like Lanesha’s.  How does the story relate to you?

 

 

 

review: Ship of Souls

"Different readers will take away different messages, all of them powerful—quite an accomplishment for so few pages" Booklist

review: Ship of Souls

author: Zetta Elliott

date: Amazon Publishing; 28 February

main character: Dmitri “D”

D never really had a lot of friends so the loss of his mother is particularly devastating to him. As the only child of a single mother, there’s little else for him other than the foster care system. D doesn’t know much about the workings of the system, but he knows that nothing in his life will be secure anymore. Elliott does a masterful job of writing this story on so many levels! Where we see how much D has: his quick placement in a caring home, a good school with teachers who care about him and two true friends; we also feel his immense insecurity and loneliness. D had so little and lost so much that he couldn’t realize his own blessings. There was something in him, though, something from his mother that never allowed him to give up on himself or others. His pain makes him doubtful in his relationships but his upbringing demands him to be thoughtful and giving.

It’s this depth of character that brought Nuru, the bird creature to him so that D could work with her to save the lost souls in the netherworld.

It’s D’s intelligence in math that brings him his new friend, Hakeem, ‘Keem’, the basketball star who needs help in math. While working together, the meet Nyla, an elusive and carefree soul in whom Keem has a bit of an interest. Keem and Nyla prove to be true friends to D as they fight save D from the creatures below.

Some authors are writers while others are storytellers. I think this short novel attests to Elliott’s skills as both. The events flow flawlessly, without contradictions or miscues. Historic elements are woven into the story from the American Revolution to 9/11 which speak to the presence of so many ethnic groups in the creation of America and the historic misinterpretation of their contribution. Water, trees and birds are magical elements of nature that serve as portals between the physical world and other dimensions. And then there’s Nyla and Keem, two supporting characters who are developed so well that we cannot help but wonder what more will happen to them, alone and/or together.

D couldn’t do it alone and America couldn’t be American without the Germans, Africans and other groups of people who have blended—who have fused—their lives, rhythms, beliefs, foods, fashions and stories to make us who we are. I can’t help but to pair, or fuse, this book with this German Music Chart. The day I accessed the chart, it was filled with songs from the US, UK, Germany and Sweden. Even within each song we can find elements of fusion with Madonna, the American living in England; Rea Garvey an Irish singer who plays guitar for the German group Reamonn. “Ai Se Eu Te Pego”/Ah When I Get My Hands On You is sung in Portuguese by Brazilian singer Michel Teló.

 

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“Ai Se Eu Te Pego” Michel Teló

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“She Doesn’t Mind” Sean Paul

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“Somebody That I Used To Know” Gotye Feat. Kimbra

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“Heart Skips A Beat” Olly Murs Feat. Rizzle Kicks

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“Himmel Auf” Silbermond

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“Jar Of Hearts” Christina Perri

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“Video Games” Lana Del Rey

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“Give Me All Your Luvin'” Madonna Feat. Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.

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“Levels” Avicii

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“Anti Hero” Marlon Roudette

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“Troublemaker” Taio Cruz

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“Don’t Gimme That” The BossHoss

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“Hangover” Taio Cruz Feat. Flo Rida

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“Bück Dich Hoch” Deichkind

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“Ma Cherie” DJ Antoine Feat. The Beat Shaker

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“Wildes Ding” Culcha Candela

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“Young, Wild & Free (Feat. Wiz Khalifa &, Bruno Mars)” Snoop Dogg

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“Good Feeling” Flo Rida

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“Someone Like You” Adele

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“Colour Me In” Rea Garvey

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Ask readers what songs from what countries, remind them of characters, emotions and situations in the book.

I must disclose that I reviewed a copy of the book that I received from Zetta Elliott who is also a friend. It’s hard reading a book by a friend. You know so much about the story while it is developing, you know how important the book is to the author and you want it to be good. Zetta didn’t let me down with Ship of Souls, she doesn’t let any of us down with this one. Ship of Souls recently received a starred review from Booklist.

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Getting Ready for the Read-In

Monday, we’ll begin discussing Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes. I hope you’re going to join us!!

Have you looked closely at the amazing cover of this book?

Shino Arihara design this cover which hints of the magical aspect of the story. We can’t see much in the young girl’s face other than her determination and what about that flower umbrella?

In describing how she came to write the book, Rhodes says the following on her blog.

My own family had experienced the 1994 Northridge Earthquake; my children were five and three. My three year old stopped speaking; my five year old, kept hiding. For a week, my husband, children, and two dogs all lived on our “big bed” in a broken house without utilities. But we were all safe, and we were all together – I couldn’t imagine the trauma of dislocation and death Katrina caused to Louisiana families.

Still, it wasn’t until 2008 when Hurricane Ike was threatening New Orleans, that Lanesha’s voice spoke to me: “They say I was born with a caul, a skin netting covering my face like a glove.  My mother died birthing me.  I would’ve died, too, if Mama Ya Ya hadn’t sliced the bloody membrane from my face.

There she was! An orphan, someone nurtured with care by an elder, and someone born with a caul, a sign of  “second sight.” I just knew Lanesha was a survivor—a strong, resilient, and heroic child to be celebrated. With loving from Mama Ya Ya, friends, and the companionship of a dog, Lanesha would endure. Lanesha is the child who throws her arms about herself and says, “I like me.”

With that voice, I knew I had my next story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not one to follow the rich and famous and I’m slow to react when they  die. Stunned by the  sudden loss but then, overcome by the mass amount of grief for someone we really didn’t know, who probably couldn’t have cared less about anyone of us and who well, entertained us. Of course any loss is sad, I’m not heartless. I know there are people who really knew Ms. Houston and are grieving their loss. Their private loss.

24 hour news channels fill with every sensational aspect when stars die and anything else that involves national security, alien invasions or disease outbreaks becomes inconsequential. Rarely do we hear from personal friends, find out about foundations these people supported or even learn about their sense of humor. But, many feel like they’ve lost a friend.

I will probably get caught up in some of the retrospectives, I usually do. And, in doing so, I learn more about this person than I ever knew before, I become more amazed at their talent and I become more keenly aware of the loss of their artistry.

I expect on Monday, a few students will look for books about Whitney Houston in the Media Center. I’ve checked and found that the one book I had disappeared years ago. So, I’ll order a couple of newer books from Amazon so that they can arrive quickly while the students have the interest. I hope it has a lot of good photographs.

I considered watching the Grammys tonight to see Jennifer Hudson and Chaka Khan honor Ms. Houston. Typically, the only reason I watch award shows is because they make nice background sound while I read. Did you know that many artists have planned to boycott the Grammys this year because they’ve elimated award categories such as Latin jazz, contemporary jazz, native American, zydeco, Cajun, classical, Hawaiian, polka, regional Mexican, and world music? I’m sorry, but this just makes me think of Arizona all over again.

All this comes in the middle of February, the middle of Black History Month and American Heart Month. Few do Black History month like the BrownBookshelf. I’m pretty sure that if you read my blog, you already read that one but if you don’t, or if you’ve forgotten, then be sure to visit everyday this month to learn about new children’s and YA authors and illustrators. Today, the featured author is Earl Sewell who I’ve gotten to know through his KimaniTru books.

Tuesday is Valentine’s Day. I used to really detest that day until I realized it wasn’t just a day about romantic love, that it’s about celebrating love!! I send something special to my children and I send cards to all my female friends. I love those women dearly and know my life wouldn’t be nearly as rich without them. So, I take the day to tell them that I love them, something I haven’t always done with my friends.

Tuesday is also International Book Giving Day. What gift shows love more than a book? I mean, to give a book, you have to really know the person you’re giving the book to and take the time to find it. They’re quite personal! In the giving, remember the Birthday Party Pledge and give a book with characters of color to the children you love! Expand their minds! Give them

books about love

How to Salsa in a Sari Dona Sarkar

Huntress Malinda Lo

Graffiti Girl Kelly Parra

Jazz in Love by Neesha Meminger

Dreams of Significant Girls by Cristina Garcia

The Making of Dr. Truelove by Derrick Barnes

We’ll Always Have Summer Jenny Han

books to help them love themselves

Letters to Young Black Men: Advice and Encouragement for a Difficult Journey Daniel Whyte

The Thundering Years: Rituals and Sacred Wisdom for Teens Julie Tallard Johnson

Gringo: A Coming of Age in Latin America by Chesa Boudin

or books about things they love

Vera Wang Queen of Fashion; Amazing Chinese American (Biographies of Amazing Asian Americans) (Biographies of Amazing Asian Americans) Ai-Ling Louie

Beisbol: Latino Baseball Pioneers and LegendsJonah WInter

Yao Ming: The Road to the NBA Chunfei Xiao

Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets under 25 Naomi Shihab Nye

The Rose that Grew from Concrete

Do I like Whitney Houston’s music? O! Yes! I do!! I loved her movies and her incredible voice and am sad in many ways. I definitely intend to restock my Whitney cds which have disappeared over the years and I’ll hold onto that voice as long as I can. Maybe I’ll send my children a book about her for Valentine’s Day.

 

review: The boy who harnessed the wind

"This exquisite tale strips life down to its barest essentials, and once there finds reason for hopes and dreams" Publishers Weekly

book review: The boy who harnessed the wind

authors: William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

date: 2009; Harper Perennial

non-fiction

browse inside

 The boy who harnessed the wind is the story of William Kamkwamba’s imaginative growing up in Malawi. In the beginning of the book, we learn a little about Malawi: its customs, beliefs and practices. While life if very different for people in Malawi, we don’t get the sense that our lives are so totally different, as if we’re on two different planets. Kamkwamba relates the oppressiveness of the Malawian government and how its actions affect the people, particularly the farmers. When country is devastated by a drought, the government does little to help its people and they have to do whatever they can to have something to eat.

At the same time, William is trying to get an education. Because there are no crops, his family has no money for school.  William seems to already know that school isn’t the only place of learning and that our education shouldn’t rely only upon institutions, well, except for the library. His inquisitiveness eventually leads him to develop a small windmill for his family, a source of light in their home after the sun has set. This simple invention leads to a life that even he could not otherwise have imagined.

The boy who harnessed the wind is really told quite simply. There is nothing that is hard to believe and nothing extraordinary yet it is quite an inspiration.

The book reminded quite a bit of Africans thought of it, part of the We thought if it series from Annick Press. While Africans thought of it presents numerous traditional inventions from throughout the African continent for younger readers, The boy who harnessed the wind shows readers a young boy who is as creative and as resourceful as any boy from any continent. Kamkwamba doesn’t downplay societal differences, rather he gives us an ordinary African life that seems quite ordinary to American readers.

Kamkwamba is a recipient of the GO Ingenuity Award, a prize awarded by the Santa Monica based nonprofit GO Campaign to inventors, artists, and makers to promote the sharing of their innovations and skills with marginalized youth in developing nations. With the grant, Kamkwamba will hold workshops for youth in his home village, teaching them how to make windmills and repair water pumps, both of which proved to be transformative skills for this young African leader.

He is currently studying at Dartmouth College, class of 2014. Bryan Mealer met William shortly after finishing a rather hard-hitting book about the Congo. Ready for an uplifting story, he pursued William’s story after reading about him in the Wall Street Journal. The two men met and the rest, as they say, is history.

The boy who harnessed the wind was a NY Times bestseller. While the book was released for Adult readers, it is a book that young adults can and should read to learn about the world around them. The book would easily fit into Science, Geography or World Lit classes.  In January 2012, Dial released The boy who harnessed the wind: young readers edition.