Our only Amelia Jenks Bloomer

We are anticipating the February Read-In, created by the Black Caucus of the NCTE , but before that introspective time at the library is upon us, it’s time to announce two important events of January. First, Literacy with a capital L was feted  well for a week in official ways here in Florida.

Bears of the kind that can be compelled to look at books enlivened Celebrate Literacy Week. They attended school where I volunteer. At the appointed hour we experienced the fun of  DEAR – Drop Everything and Read . My Book Bear puppet snuggled in his always-attached purple sleeping bag, to read CATWINGS from Urusula K. LeGuin.  I settled in a plastic chair to begin Tracy Barret’s channeling of teen angst in Classical (minotaur) times, THE KING OF ITHAKA. Celebrate Literacy Week  ended for me with a surprise visit from  The Cat In The Hat & a governor of the way past & Mrs. Governor at Children’s Day at the Mueum of Florida History.  As one little girl said, whilst occupied in making an alligator book mark at my table for Children’s Day:  “I am a STAR reader! ” She is. They all were. Are. Please let us enjoy more weeks like this.

Also in January I’ve been delighted to compose linking information about 10 particular books for our reading pleasure. The links are a work in progress, so check back.

Each title is newly deemed by the Social Responsibilities Round Table’s Feminist Task Force, of the American Library Association, to be worthy of association with the hallowed name of that wonderful editor, writer, public speaker & wife beloved by her husband, Dexter Bloomer, the one and only feminist Amelia Jenks Bloomer  (1818-1894) Dexter so adored Amelia that after her death, he collected her writings in a book.  He was a journalist who urged Amelia, a teacher and caregiver to children, to publish in the first place.  Her good name is lent to an annual list of 60 or so books, dynamic stories, both fiction and non, published each year, for readers from babies through age 18, that are written and illustrated in a way that is thought to “spur the imagination while confronting traditional female stereotypes.” AJB is, of course, remembered for the Turkish pantaloons that another feminist brought back from world travels. Amelia aquired some, wore them rather than 10 pounds of petticoats & stiff corsets, etc. & wrote about them in her newspaper, The Lily. One fine biography where some of this AJB material is from, is given us by Nebraska author Mary Lickteig, to whom I say a rousing, Thank You.

For 2011 (published in 2010) the Top 10 titles of the Amelia Bloomer Project List, announced Jan. 11, 2011  at the ALA’s Midwinter Meeting are:

CLICK: When We Knew We Were Feminists by Courtney E. Martin and J. Courtney Sullivan


FEARLESS: The True Story of Racing Legend Louise Smith by Barbara Rosenstock & illustrated by Scott Dawson

I AM NUJOOD, by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoul

PEMBA SHERPA by Olga Cossi with illustrations from Gary Bernard

SHE SANG PROMISE: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole Tribal Leader by Jan Godown Annino with illustrations from Lisa Desimini & afterword from Moses Jumper, Jr.

SOAR, ELINOR! by Tami Lewis  Brown with illustrations from Francois Roca

THE COWGIRL WAY: Hat’s off to America’s Women of the West by Holly George-Warren

THE FIREFLY LETTERS: A Suffragette’s Journey to Cuba by Margarita Engle.

WOMEN AVIATORS: From Amelia Earhart to Sally Ride, Making History in Space by Bernard Marck




(2 notes: I am publishing this now before February arrives & I expect to have more links up soon. The month got away from me with an unexpected out of town trip & …. life, sweet life.   Thank you to Jennifer L. Holm for writing the wonderful  Our Only May Amelia, from whence I stole the title idea for this post.)

Bye for Betty Mae

It is hard to write about Betty Mae Tiger Jumper being gone but she is no longer on this Earth.

Her funeral service at the House of Prayer Full Gospel Church was lovely & spoken with words of her two Native languages (Creek & Mikasuki)  & also in the language in which she wrote her three books & her newspaper,  The Seminole Tribune – English, amid a garden of floral displays, an overflow crowd of family & some friends. Outside  gray skies opened a deluge to create perfect funeral weather, as if Breathmaker echoed the tears of those within.

I think there were more smiling eyes than wet ones – the stories they told on her were so good, fitting for one whose life was exuberant.

And we also heard about simple things, day old bread and cheap baloney & fried chicken necks  that she made into feasts for children, during the lean years.

We were transported to the chimpanzee tourist zoo of decades back, where she protected a baby who was like her, born of an Indian mother & non-Indian father.  This friend spoke & cried & smiled, following other men who also became emotional in expressing their love, all admirers of this elder, the last matriarch of the proud Snake Clan.

I loved it that her grandson Josh Jumper preached. And that her son, the poet Moses Jumper, Jr.,  told one of my favorite stories, about the day he thought he could skip school because the family truck wouldn’t start. Skip school? Un-huh.  Not likely. Not with Betty Mae your mama.

He told us how she got the family bicycle, made him climb up on the handlebars & she proceeded to pedal him the long way to school down a highway.

Eventually someone who knew them, stopped & offered a ride.

She would have pedaled her kid the whole way.

That was a sweet summary: a mother’s love of her son; a mother’s devotion to education.

She passed on Friday, January 14, 2011, peacefully in her sleep. Bye Betty Tiger, Bye Betty Mae. Bye Betty Mae Tiger Jumper.

(Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, the first woman elected leader of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, in 1967, was an amazing woman whose story I brought to children in a 2010 picture book, with artist Lisa Desimini & an afterward written by Moses Jumper, Jr.)

mother earth


Look at Eartrh Day 2010 events but also plan ahead for August 2010, Living Earth Fest

Earth Day Program
Honoring the Living Earth: Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Communities in Colombia

Thursday, April 22, 2010
12–1:30 p.m.
National Museum of the American Indian
Room 4018, Fourth Level
4th Street and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C.

This program will also be webcast live.

program flyer

CELEBRATE EARTH DAY with special presentations by Luis Gilberto Murillo-Urrutia and Dr. Alicia Rios Hurtado. Murillo was elected governor of Chocó, Colombia, at the age of 31 after successfully instituting pioneering programs to protect biodiversity and the tropical rainforest, and to defend the land rights of Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities.  As governor, Murillo won wide praise for his innovative proposals and strategies for sustainable development and environmental protection. He is currently the Vice President for Programs and Strategy at Phelps Stokes in Washington, DC.

Alicia Rios Hurtado has served as Vice-President for Research and Director of the Institute of Biodiversity at the Technological University of Chocó and currently leads the university research group on sustainable use of biodiversity. Dr. Rios Hurtado received Colombia’s prestigious National Award for Scientific Merit in 2004. She is one of the nine members of the National Council of Science and Technology, and is the only woman and the only Afro-Colombian on the Council.

Presented by the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in partnership with the Smithsonian Latino Center and the Embassy of Colombia.

To RSVP or for more information, please email NMAI-SSP@si.edu.

happy earth day copyright Jan Godown

Write on

This announcement in my email brightens my day.

Young Native Writers Essay Contest

The National Museum of the American Indian, in partnership with the Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation, is pleased to announce a call for entries for the annual Young Native Writers Essay Contest.

Five selected essayists, and the teachers that inspired their participation, will win an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. in July 2010 and a $2,500 scholarship.

Learn more.

<< Image: Mariah Oney (Navajo) from Phoenix, Arizona, was the top scholarship recipient in 2009.

Please don’t keep this a secret. Pass it on. And many thanks to the National Museum of the American Indian for the alert


& gratitude to the sponsors, Holland & Knight.   Good luck to the young writers.