Martin Luther King Weekend, 2021

ZORA, SHIRLEY & ARETHA

Good wishes to you this Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Weekend. More needed insight will be my goal in this weekend’s re-reading of CASTE, by Isabelle Wilkerson, my book group’s conversation this month. I also expect to re-read MARTIN’s BIG WORDS from Doreen Rappaport and Bryan Collier, which I often shared as a volunteer in K-2nd grade. I’m fortunate that 3 books from my unread new book stack are also part of this MLK Holiday.

They are Victoria Bond’s ZORA & Me, The Summoner, spun from child days of Zora Neale Hurston. Katheryn Russell-Brown’s SHE WAS THE FIRST traveling in 1972 to “Follow the Chisholm Trail” lifetime of U.S. Presidential Candidate, U.S. Rep. Shirley Chisholm, illustrated by Eric Velasquez and also, Katheryn Russell-Brown’s A VOICE NAMED ARETHA, celebrating the rhythm and blues icon whose hits can be sung from memory by me, my friends & likely you, too. This is illustrated by Laura Freeman.

Here are just brief riffs, from pre-reading skims. ZORA & ME, The Summoner. Together, the families of Carrie, who is Zora’s school days bestie in Florida, & Zora, elude white mobs descending upon Eatonville. The pair investigate skin-prickly stories of zombies & grave robbing, leavened by their keen interest in science.  Zora confronts bullies, including her rough and rude but town-respected, preacher Father, who in turn receives her brave spunk:

“You got it all wrong, Daddy.” Zora says. Often after that, there will be a slap.

Carrie says, “A faithfulness to mystery, to strange unknowable symmetries vibrated Zora.” 

This is part 3 of the richly researched ZORA & ME older middle grade novel series, ages 10-14.

SHE WAS THE FIRST, The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm. It is great to learn that U.S. Rep. Chisholm’s child days embraced Barbados in a deep way. I like this found poem from the book:

Shirley Anita

had a gift

people listened

and followed 

“the Chisholm Trail.”

c. Katheryn Russel-Brown

A VOICE NAMED ARETHA. Verses this musical genius wrote include a cheer from 1972:

In this whole world, you know


There are millions of boys and girls


Who are young, gifted and Black


With their souls intact, and that’s a fact!

c. Aretha Franklin Young Gifted and Black

[in lyrics I added a cap. for Black.]

::::

This poetry post is part of the informal & nourishing Poetry Friday community. The first week of the new year Ruth hosted Poetry Friday, and Sylvia collected us in Week 2 for a wonderful list of poetry books to be published for young readers in 2021. Right now we travel to the bayou with Margaret for the Pres. O’Bama inaugural poem picture book by Richard Blanco and Dav Pilkey you won’t want to miss. After the historic inaugurations of Pres. Biden & V-P Harris, we meet up with Laura. On the last Friday of this new month of the new year 2021, we return here to Bookseedstudio.

Hopes holding & prayers outgoing, the U.S. reaches the other side of Jan. 20th, 2021 in peace.

“Blessed are the peacemakers.”  

 

Dr. Carla D. Hayden, welcome!

    I am interrupting a blog break for a special announcement.

(But first – please know that this week perky Poetry Friday is beautifully shelved,
here at Books4Learning.)..

This week news arrived of a dynamic, digital-sharp, new
Library of Congress head Librarian, for the decade hence.

Her name is Dr. Carla Diane Hayden.

I must skip to the most important morsel about her
– for me –
she was born in Tallahassee, my town.
Now follows a poem, only after some significant
skinny about our new Librarian of Congress, first —-

* Book she read over and over as a child, Bright April, by Margurite
De Angeli.

1941880

* Well-liked leader in Chicago at that huge public library system.

* One bold year spent at the helm of the American Library Association.

* Innovative leader in Baltimore, where she leaves colleagues sad
at her departure from the historic Enoch Pratt Free Library System.

During riots last year in Baltimore, Dr. Hayden earned praise because
she kept the main library open although it was close “to the epicenter
of unrest.” When so much was shuttered, Dr. Hayden felt that
peaceable folks deserved a safe public haven. According to many
reports, the library became that, not only for reading, but also
offering a place to receive food and to meet other needs.
Here is a video that speaks to those moments, & others.

President Obama’s nomination of Dr. Hayden was challenged.
Despite full clarification of some important questions that
should have satisfied all.

And this week, 18 senators still voted
against this illustrious candidate.
Fortunately the bi-partisan majority ruled.
She is especially needed immediately because of several
reports indicating that the LOC is woefully & perhaps threateningly
for some of the public’s collection, behind in many aspects of librarianship
in the digital age.
See the state-by-state vote (& three who didn’t vote) here.

In Honor of Dr. Hayden, newly of the LOC
By Jan Godown Annino

May you find time to read.
From Bright April, to I Almost Forgot About You,
time to read books
may be
miniscule. (The Flag of Childhood is quick to dip in and out of.)

May you find a windowed nest.
From Georgetown to Capitol Hill,
finding a D.C. condo, like yours in Baltimore,
may be
challenging. (Try Brookland.)

May you ignore racist, sexist remarks.
From the Old South to Badlands survivalists,
bleeping, blocking & (privately) booing
those uglies can be
fun. (They hope for a book contract.)

May you be appreciated.
At office bookshelves and home library stacks,
please know that most real readers are
glad you are
#1 at the LOC. (About time!)

May you visit Tallahassee.
From the Meek-Eaton Black Archives at FAMU, to the Mayor’s office,
it’s a whole new town
than how things before,
went down. (In 1952.)

– c.jga

Unknown

Nelson Mandela by J. Patrick Lewis

copyright KADIR NELSON

copyright KADIR NELSON

 

July 18th is a day for Mr. Nelson Mandela, who said,

 

“It is within your hands to make of our world, a better world for all.”

 

Thank you, Anastasia Suen & POETRY FRIDAY & J. Patrick Lewis.

The J. Patrick Lewis poem gives me goose bumps, especially at one line:

Nelson Mandela International Day poem by J. Patrick Lewis.

 

Here is more on Mr. Mandela, Nobel winning peace maker:

http://www.mandeladay.com/

And here is even more, from his Foundation:

http://www.nelsonmandela.org/content/page/biography

And finally, from Alicia Lewis Murray, (I don’t know if there is a Lewis-Lewis connection..)  here is a look at Mr. Mandela from the perspective of children’s books:

http://www.balancingmotherhood.com/2013/12/12/nelson-mandela-childrens-book/

The artwork here is from KADIR NELSON’s exceptional book, NELSON MANDELA as displayed with Alicia’s article.

 

Obama’s poet

A Poet and a Secretary

THE book I just devoured in celebration of Obama’s elevation to the Presidency of the United States is for children.

And it’s not one of the several handy bios of him for young readers.

It’s a picture book of  poems in several voices, by his poet, Elizabeth Alexander, of Yale, and her equally distinguished colleague, Marilyn Nelson, a much-honored creator of children’s literature.

http://www.wordsongpoetry.com or

http://www.wordsongpoetry.com/another_starred_review_for_mis.html

Elizabeth Alexander’s presence on the platform at this historic event shouts out that this president lauds the arts & art creators.

Already sensing that, Quincy Jones asks for support to imbed the arts in the White House with a Cabinet level secretary post. See

http://www.petitionsonline.com/esnyc/petition.html

and reach it by typing in US Secretary of Arts

Meanwhile, Poet Elizabeth Alexander will receive a wider audience because of her Jan. 20th role on the world stage.

I want you to know she is already beloved by librarians, teachers, students & many others for  MISS CRANDALL’s SCHOOL for YOUNG LADIES & LITTLE MISSES of COLOR.

This book, with illustrations by Floyd Cooper (winner of three Coretta Scott King Honor Awards) is an unforgettable visit to the true story of a Quaker woman’s dedication to her black students in New England in the 1830s.

Her determination to stand tall against local terrorists affiliated with churches, the town council & local business community makes me, “ache with caring,” to borrow a phrase of Mem Fox, about seeing this history presented to a wider audience.

If you are more interested in the present day than in history,  notes in the book mention more recent updates, including how the 1984 dedication of the Prudence Crandall Museum, was also marked in an undistinguished way by the  Connecticut KKK.

Enjoy. Weep. Share. Rejoice in the presidency of Barack Obama.

(And a palette of color to Janeen Mason

http://www.janeenmason.com,   for the petition tip.