Indiana Youth Summit Scholarships

Indiana Landmarks, Indiana Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology and Indiana Freedom Trails invite students in grades 7-12 to participate in the Indiana Preservation Youth Summit.  Selected students travel to southern Indiana October 4-6, 2013, visiting Underground Railroad sites in New Albany, Jeffersonville and Madison while meeting with Underground Railroad experts, community leaders, and tourism and museum staff.

Students advise local communities on ways to engage youth in the study of preservation of local history and landmarks using Indiana’s Underground Railroad sites as the platform. Selected students also share their experiences during a town hall meeting October 31 at the National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference in Indianapolis.

Participants selected through a competitive application process receive a full scholarship for transportation, meals, lodging and materials.  Four educators will also receive full scholarships.

Please share the attached flyer with students or go to  Application deadline is September 9.

Today is History

 Today is the feast day of Augustine of Hippo. This African, also known as St. Augustine, is viewed by many as one of the Fathers of the Church.

Also on this day in history:

1565Pedro Menéndez de Avilés sights land near St. Augustine, Florida and founds the oldest continuously occupied European-established city in the continental United States. When the Spanish conquistador Pedro Menendez founded St. Augustine in 1565, not only were there black members of his crew, but he noted that his arrival had been preceded by free Africans in the French settlement at Fort Caroline, just a few miles north. The first Africans who came to the US came as explorers and they came long before 1619.

1582– Taichang Emperor, of China was born. (d. 1720)

1818– Jean Baptiste Point du Sable,  African American founder of Chicago died.

1833– The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 receives Royal Assent, abolishing slavery through most the British Empire.

1867– The United States takes possession of the (at this point unoccupied) Midway Atoll, moving the country into colonization in the Pacific Islands.

1879– Cetshwayo, last king of the Zulus, is captured by the British.

1901– Silliman University is founded in the Philippines. The first American private school in the country.

1917– Ten Suffragettes are arrested while picketing the White House.

1951- birthday of Suzuki Keiichi,  Japanese composer, performer, and singer-songwriter. He is perhaps best known to English-speaking audiences for his music for the Super Nintendo game EarthBound.

1952 – Rita Dove, American poet was born.

1953– Nippon Television broadcasts Japan’s first television show, including its first TV advertisement.

1955– Black teenager Emmett Till is brutally murdered in Mississippi galvanizing the nascent American Civil Rights Movement.

1957– U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond begins a filibuster to prevent the Senate from voting on Civil Rights Act of 1957; he stopped speaking 24 hours and 18 minutes later, the longest filibuster ever conducted by a single Senator.

1963 – March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. gives his I Have a Dream speech.

1963 – Emily Hoffert and Janice Wylie are murdered in their Manhattan apartment, prompting the events that would lead to the passing of the Miranda Rights

1990 – Iraq declares Kuwait to be its newest province.

1998– Pakistan’s National Assembly passes a constitutional amendment to make the “Qur’an and Sunnah” the “supreme law” but the bill is defeated in the Senate.

1998 – Second Congo War: Loyalist troops backed by Angolan and Zimbabwean forces repulse the rebels’ offensive on Kinshasa.

2007 – Miyoshi Umeki, Japanese-American actress and singer died. (b.1929)

“when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Summer is ending and the garden is winding down. I’m harvesting fewer veggies and making plans to prepare amend my soil over the winter. Next

Fall Crop: Rutabaga

Fall Crop: Rutabaga

year, I simply want a wider variety of vegetables. I need to move to a plot that gets full sun in the early morning, but I’m not sure how well that will work out.

And, as the garden winds down the library is gearing up for the school year. This week I’ve got classes to teach and a graduate student open house to staff. I’m meeting at CANDLES Holocaust Museum to develop a docent program, finishing up a project with National Geographic to align some of their books to the Core Curriculum and I have this idea for an article that I want to develop. And, my BFYA pile is growing again! I admit it’s still out of control, but I’m planning strategic days at home over the next few months to do nothing but read. And, my weekends are completely and boringly void of everything except books.

I think most people want others to be aware of the work they do and the

Weekly Harvest of Books!

Weekly Harvest of Books!

Internet is the perfect venue for sharing our successes. Have you ever done a search for someone and found nothing on them?

Do you ever search your own name? This morning, I used Google, Bing and Yahoo to search for myself. Using my full name, I got a lot of hits for obituaries of dead white women. I used to find curriculum units I prepared or programs I participated in but now, I suppose those things are just too old.

When I shortened my first name to “Edi” and eliminated “Edie” from my search, I got a few things related to my blog, a video that I think is about a singer in Latin h America and advice on how to dress like Edi Campbell, most probably the other Edi Campbell.

Now, I’m not trying to use the ‘net to claim my 3 minutes of fame but I do know that there is a very good chance I’ll be looking for another job or two. Face it, employers search to see what they can find out about us. is a nice, new tool that allows users to create their own home page and establish their professional image. It would be good for students entering the job market as well as for the seasoned professional who has little else online.

Fall crop: cabbage sprouts

Fall crop: cabbage sprouts

Get your name out there and make a difference in YA: apply to be a CYBILS judge.  Self nominations are due by 30 August.

The winners of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize were recently announced and make wonderful reading choices for young readers.

Don’t leave the young people out of the celebrations of the anniversary of the March on Washington. My favorite post to help bring them into the conversation is Don Tate’s listing of picture and nonfiction books. Throughout the year, educator’s can turn to ALA’s newly released Multi-ethnic books for the middle school curriculum.

We just can’t get around the fact that life is diverse, can we? So many different things to keep us busy!

Saturday Trailers: Meet the Authors

What better day for book trailers than a Saturday? And what better way to meet a few new YA authors than in a trailer! Today, I have three author videos: Eric Gansworth (If I ever get out of here  Arthur A. Levine, 2013), Sara Farizan (If you were mine; Algonquin) and Zoraida Cordova (The savage blue; Sourcebooks Fire). The videos give insight in the artists, their careers and their interests.

Sarah Farizan

Eric Gansworth

Zoraida Cordova

Male Monday: Guy Pals

BFFs. Buddies. Besties. Guy pals. Call ‘em what you like, I see a slow going trend in YA of male authors of color writing stories that explore male friendships.

Most often, YA male characters are either loners or involved with a female character, either as a friend or love interest. The following books not only have male characters who are friends, but they explore the friendship and what makes it tick.

Are there others?

Surf Mules by G. Neri (Putnam Juvenile, 2009) When Logan goes searching for the Perfect Monster Wave, he doesn’t expect his former best friend to be killed by it. Add to this a deadbeat dad who bankrupted his family and the possibility of college going down the drain, and Logan is suddenly in a tailspin.510Qq6rUCCL._SY346_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_

So when small-time dealer Broza offers Logan and his dropout pal, Z-boy, a summer job that could make them rich, it seems his problems might be solved. But between Z-boy’s constant screwups, a band of Nazi surfers out for blood, and a mysterious stranger on their tail, Logan is starting to have some serious doubts about hauling contraband across country, and hopes just to make it home alive.

Aristle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz (Simon and Schuster, 2012) When Aristotle and Dante meet, in the summer of 1987, they are 15-year-olds existing in “the universe between boys and men.” The two are opposites in most ways: Dante is sure of his place in the world, 515h0+SCp4L._SY346_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_while Ari feels he may never know who he is or what he wants. But both are thoughtful about their feelings and interactions with others, and this title is primarily focused on the back-and-forth in their relationship over the course of a year. Family issues take center stage, as well as issues of Mexican identity, but the heart of the novel is Dante’s openness about his homosexuality and Ari’s suppression of his. Sáenz (Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood, 2004) writes toward the end of the novel that “to be careful with people and words was a rare and beautiful thing.” And that’s exactly what Sáenz does—he treats his characters carefully, giving them space and time to find their place in the world, and to find each other. This moves at a slower pace than many YA novels, but patient readers, and those struggling with their own sexuality, may find it to be a thought-provoking read.

If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth (Arthur A. Levine, 2012) Lewis “Shoe” Blake is used to the joys and 510NQFcGy4L._SY346_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_difficulties of life on the Tuscarora Indian reservation in 1975: the joking, the Fireball games, the snow blowing through his roof. What he’s not used to is white people being nice to him — people like George Haddonfield, whose family recently moved to town with the Air Force. As the boys connect through their mutual passion for music, especially the Beatles, Lewis has to lie more and more to hide the reality of his family’s poverty from George. He also has to deal with the vicious Evan Reininger, who makes Lewis the special target of his wrath. But when everyone else is on Evan’s side, how can he be defeated? And if George finds out the truth about Lewis’s home — will he still be his friend?

Darius and Twig by Walter Dean Myers (Amistad, 2013) Darius and Twig are an unlikely pair: Darius is a writer whose only escape is his alter ego, a peregrine falcon named Fury, and Twig is a middle-distance runner striving 51m8s60I+BL._SY346_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_for athletic success. But they are drawn together in the struggle to overcome the obstacles that Harlem life throws at them.

The two friends must face down bullies, an abusive uncle, and the idea that they’ll be stuck in the same place forever in this touching and raw new teen novel from Walter Dean Myers, award-winning author of Monster, Kick, We Are America, Bad Boy, and many other celebrated literary works for children and teens.

Sunday Morning Reads

Someone tweeted a link to someone else’s blog post about ethnically diverse picture books. The covers were adorable and I was quite interested in reading the books. I took pause to see the blogger chose to market the books by saying they featured characters of color



but were not about race. That was so not necessary!

I’m not really good at warm and fuzzy and often miss the opportunity to just chitchat. I blog to promote books and literacy and for the longest, that was all I did here. Then, I realized a couple of things.

First, blogs are about social networking. I need to share more of me to build a network. Readers may enjoy the wonderful information I share, but they’re more likely to keep coming back because they love my charming personality. (I’m also learning how difficult it is to write sarcasm.) They’re more likely to engage in the dialog and come back to grow the conversation if it’s fun and inviting. I’ve manage to grow a huge following that comes back for the information, but not so much for the conversation.

Second, readers who come to this blog who are not Black may easily get the impression that all my conversations (that All black people’s conversations) are about race. So, I force myself to get personal and blog about life’s stuff.

My reading tastes are as eclectic as my taste in food. There is a feeling that comes over me when I need/want a black author, just like there’s a time when I really want a romance. But those feelings don’t last and I may just as easily be reading a historical French biography as the latest book by John Irving.

Terry McMillan’s Disappearing Acts came out in the late 80s. While it was successful, it was Waiting to Exhale that really did it for McMillan. While publishers grasped the concept of a group four female friends that she introduced and kept having that re-written, what I enjoyed most about McMillan’s books was that they were not about race. I think if you look at the social history, Blacks in this country were at a place where issues other than race could begin to move to the forefront.

I don’t know when race moved out of the conversation in kidlit. When were we able be comfortable enough in the existing racial identity that we were able to look at coming of age in terms of family dynamics, school situations or intellectual curiosity rather than racial identity? When were Latino writers able to let go of traditional stories and settings for urban American middle class situations?

If you’ve read two books by Asian American authors, Indian, or Latino authors, you have to realize there is no single story. Some stories, like If I Ever Get Out of Here or Darius and Twig, have to be based in race because the turmoil the characters face comes from their ethnic identity. Others like Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass or Sweet 16 to Life are based in communities of color and reflect those cultures in their writing.

All of these stories are testaments to the fact that there is no single American story. Think of all the stories you’ve read that wouldn’t be the same if set in a different city, if the character listened to different music or if the antagonists were zombies rather than werewolves. There is no ‘regular’ story.

Just like we can’t assume people of color write about race, we can’t assume white people write ‘regular’ stories. There are no ‘regular’ stories! Not everyone has likes chocolate chip cookies, rides a bus, goes to church, las a singe mom,  has a favorite color, drinks Pepsi, likes McDonalds or owns a cell phone.

The beauty of kidlit and YA should be in everyone being able to find who they are or who they want to be in what they read. YA shouldn’t have a philosophy similar to Henry Ford’s “Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.” ‘Regular’ like all black cars, is obsolete.

So, add to this conversation! Muddle over this information, or come back. Maybe we’ll talk about the best game apps and how I have to ration my time playing____!




The Queen City!

The Queen City!

Being a librarian is all about adapting to change and this conference of black librarians has provided no exception

Zetta had a gorgeous beach outside her hotel while I had the levee along the Ohio River.

Zetta had a gorgeous beach outside her hotel while I had the levee along the Ohio River.

to that rule. Zetta Elliott was out and B. A. (Barbara) Binns was in a few months ago.

Our third presenter was an unforeseen no-show.

My expectations were to deliver and then attend key presentations with then leave to re-explore my former hometown. The conference simply provided too many connections for me to explore as much as I would have liked.

Barbara and I delivered a well-received presentation on the reading habits of young black male readers. It was informative to hear Barbara discuss her observations of young black males in various venues as she researched her books and her resulting wisdom to not write about males in their homes. In realizing the different ways young males interact, she knew that they would also interact differently at home. Since she hadn’t observed these interactions, she avoided writing about them.

Audience questions led us to discuss cover issues,  the need for more black male authors, what males do read and why we should let them choose what that want to read so that they will read. Good librarians quickly realize that most people aren’t reading because they haven’t found what they like. I provided a 6 page list of books for boys ages 9-18 based upon the list on Greg Neri’s blog and Barbara provide free, signed copies of her book! It confounds me that so many people claim they cannot find these resources!

photo copy 4

Evening at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

I was disappointed that vendors such as EBSCO who typically have huge exhibits at conferences sent only one person with a notebook.

My literary find was Hole in the Head by Wilbert Smith Ph.D.. This book is  about Dr. Smith uncovering the story of a dozen Blacks (eleven men and one female) in Lyles Station, Indiana  (a historic all black settlement) who were experimented on as young children when photo copyradiation was first being harnessed for medical use. As a result of experimentation, these individuals lived their entire lives with holes in their skulls. Using hats and wigs, most found ways to cover this infliction that they developed for the sake of science. Despite the damage and dishonor done, this is a story of overcoming obstacles and achieving greatness.

I’m looking forward to reading this book and being prepared to further my discussion with Dr. Smith when he visits ISU this fall.

photoI connected with college friends, some whom I hadn’t seen in over 30 years! Met the audacious Karen Lemmons with whom I’ve communicated online for years and we have made plans! Quilt plans!!!!! I spent time on the campus where I earned my undergrad degree and was overwhelmed by the transformation of the campus of the University of Cincinnati. Yes, change was certainly the theme of this visit.

I went to lunch with my conference badge still on and locals asked what conference I was attending. Of course they expressed pleasant surprise when I told them black librarians and they wanted to know more. I didn’t quite tell them as much as I’ve written here!

Thursday evening I visited the National Underground Freedom museum and was surprised to find that one of the performers in the quartet was the niece of my college roommate!