Born in Flint, Michigan, Curtis spent his first 13 years after high school on the assembly line of Flint's historic Fisher Body Plant # 1. His job entailed hanging car doors, and it left him with an aversion to getting into and out of large automobiles--particularly big Buicks.
Curtis's novel Bud, Not Buddy, was a novel I enjoyed when I read it to my own children. This novel also won the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award in 2000. It tells the story of 10-year-old Bud Caldwell, who hits the road in search of his father and his home. Times may be hard in 1936 Flint, Michigan, but orphaned Bud's got a few things going for him; he believes his mother left a clue of who his father was—and nothing can stop Bud from trying to find him.
Grimes is a New York Times bestselling author and poet. She is also the recipient of the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her distinguished works include ALA Notable book What is Goodbye?, Coretta Scott King Award winner Bronx Masquerade, the novels Jazmin's Notebook, Dark Sons, and The Road to Paris (Coretta Scott King Author Honor Books). She is also the creator of the popular Meet Danitra Brown. Grimes lives in Corona, California.
Kwame is an accomplished poet, publisher, and the recipient of two NAACP Image Award nominations for Outstanding Children's Literature for 2013 and 2012. He is also a long time supporter of AALBC.com.
As a literary activist, Alexander also runs Book-in-a-Day (BID), a groundbreaking writing and publishing program that focuses on student-run publication—in one day. Educators spend hours looking for exciting ways to bring literature to life. The solution is Book-in-a-Day, a new fun-filled, hands-on literacy project that teaches students the fundamentals of creative writing and book publishing.
The Harlem born, Faith Ringgold is a painter, writer, speaker, mixed media sculptor and performance artist who lives and works in Englewood, New Jersey. Ms Ringgold is professor emeritus at the University of California, San Diego where she taught art from 1987 until 2002. Professor Ringgold is the recipient of more than 75 awards including 22 Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degrees.
Ringgold's awarding winning book Tar Beach was one of the first books I purchased for my girls. Tar Beach was also Ringgold's first children's and it won the Coretta Scott King Award for illustration and was also named a Caldecott Honor Book.
Flake is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, with a degree in English. She is also an AALBC.com bestselling author.
Flake's first novel the skin The Skin I'm In won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award and tells the story of Seventh-grader Maleeka Madison is miserable when a new teacher comes to her depressed inner-city school. Miss Saunders evidently is rich, self-assured in spite of the white birthmark across her black skin, and prone to getting into kids' faces about both their behavior and their academic potential.
While we have a few novels queued up for our March 2013 eNewsletter, there were none reviewed for this issue. Thanks to our subscribers we are able to guarantee at least one of the following novels, to be published in May, will be reviewed for our April 2013 eNewsletter.
You may also recommend a novel of your choice. If we get 20 or more new eNewsletter subscribers this month, I will pick one of your suggested novels to review as well.
Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes (Little Brown Books for Young Readers, May 7, 2013) — Ten-year-old Sugar lives on the River Road sugar plantation along the banks of the Mississippi. Slavery is over, but laboring in the fields all day doesn't make her feel very free. Thankfully, Sugar has a knack for finding her own fun, especially when she joins forces with forbidden friend Billy, the white plantation owner's son.
Little Green: An Easy Rawlins Mystery by Walter Mosley (Doubleday, May 14, 2013) — Easy Rawlins is back (almost literally from the dead after the car wreck that ended Blonde Faith) and cruising the streets of the Sunset Strip circa 1967, in search of a young black man who has gone missing.
Lost Daughters by Mary Monroe (Kensington, May 28, 2013) — (Ages 3 and Up) Here's a tale of a strong, spirited young girl who rises beyond her circumstances and inspires others to work toward a brighter future.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Knopf, May 14, 2013) — A dazzling new novel: a story of love and race centered around a young man and woman from Nigeria who face difficult choices and challenges in the countries they come to call home.
The shocking statistics indicate that over 40% of black men and women are choosing to remain unmarried, and that about a quarter of the brothers tying the knot are picking partners of another ethnicity. And when you factor in the 75% African-American illegitimacy rate, the black community’s long-term prospects aren’t exactly brilliant.
Overall, “Where Did Our Love Go?” proves to be a most informative and entertaining read, at least in terms of the individual contributors’ intimate experiences. I can’t say that the diversity of personal opinions contained on the pages allows one to draw a conclusion about where African-American culture is headed but I don’t think anybody’s expecting the black community to share a monolithic mindset anymore anyway.
Employing a “kids first” philosophy, Rhee chopped heads in the top-heavy administration, firing dozens of dead wood principals, laying off hundreds of extraneous office workers and closing over twenty under performing schools. Although students’ test scores improved during her brief stint in the position, her anti-union stance proved unpopular.
Mayor Fenty’s reelection bid was basically a referendum on whether the city wished to continue with Rhee’s scorched earth philosophy. When he lost, her days were numbered, so she handed in her resignation rather than wait around to be fired.
Abraham H. Galloway, a runaway who joined the Union during the Civil War before serving as a spy and leading thousands of his brethren out of human bondage. The product of the mating of a slave with an itinerant white sailor who didn’t own her, their biracial baby as an infant became the property of a master only seven years older than himself.
Abraham’s childhood was typical for an African-American boy in the ante bellum South, as he “commonly witnessed slave women beaten, abused, and sexually humiliated in public.” So, it should come as no surprise that, as a young man, he and a friend, Richard Eden, would stowaway on a ship headed for Philly. [Troy's Note: Galloway is a real life "Django"]
James Bennett Jr., was arrested on October 12, 2011 by the Lakeland, Florida Police Department and charged with five felonies, including assault and battery on a police officer. Bennett, a personal trainer at the Lakeland Family YMCA, claims he didn’t strike anyone on that day but a possible sentence of 25 years in prison awaited him if convicted.
What sticks with the reader from Bennett’s book is that this young black man embraces his many problems without trying to shift blame to his family, his community, or society. His writings seek to identify the obstacles and challenges of his life and present them as a mirror for all of those disfranchised black youth in a similar situation. This is the true value of Bennett’s spiritual narrative against fear and doubt on the arduous journey to success. That’s why this book deserves attention.
The Book Look - Season 2, Episode 1 - February 2013
Back for Season 2 with new authors, celebrities and contributors! In Episode 1, host Monda Webb and contributors Kwame Alexander and Charisse Carney-Nunes cover Nicole Sconiers' Escape from Beckyville and Walter Mosley's The Gift of Fire while hearing from Rev. Bernice King on the new book about her mother, Desert Rose: The Life and Legacy of Coretta Scott King.
Much of the pre-Oscar buzz had been about Seth MacFarlane’s hosting the Oscars, and how his irreverent brand of humor would be received by the crowd. Although he didn’t take many potshots at Hollywood royalty, his monologue, performances and banter did reflect a disappointing coarsening of the culture.
In a skit inspired by Denzel Washington’s film Flight, he had a black, hand puppet drinking alcohol and snorting coke. Then there was his shockingly-pedophilic sexualizing of 9 year-old Best Actress nominee Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) by speculating about when she’d be too old to date George Clooney. And he made light of domestic abuse when he suggested that Chris Brown and Rihanna considered Django Unchained a date movie because it was about a man trying to get back a woman who’s been subjected to unspeakable violence.
Content from Wikipedia, which is maintained by unpaid volunteers, is used by Amazon, Facebook, and Google for commercial purposes. All of these websites dominate the most prominent positions in the Google search results for an author's name, usually with several links. The problem, unfortunately, is much more profound than the subjective rankings of different websites or the exploitation of Wikipedia for monetary gain.
This also results in many excellent websites being crowded out of Google's search results. Google even goes as far as to use Wikipedia's content prominently on their search results page to sell their eBooks. Google literally hijacks visitors they would have previously sent to an independent website. This is one reason there is less coverage of Black books now than there was 10 years ago. Today we know it is much harder for an independent website to be discovered through a Google search. Most importantly however, weaker websites fail to develop and new websites are discouraged from ever being created. All of this tends to decrease the variety and depth of content published online—particularly as it relates to Black people.
I stopped watching or caring about the Academy Awards/Oscars years ago. Maybe I was just jaded. I'd spent my whole adult career in the ad game and there was something about watching this 2 - 3 hour-long trailer for the movie biz that made me feel er...uh...stoopid - almost as dumb as dropping my hard-earned shekels to go to the auto show. Don't get me wrong. I grew up like most poor, "colored" kids in America. I was as big a sucker for this stuff as anybody else. Bigger. When you're poor, young and black in America, watching, reading and hearing white folks’ half truths, myths and fantasies about themselves is 99% of your "education".
I think I really believed George Washington never told a lie until I heard Malcolm X or H. Rap Brown tell a different version. That was the beginning of my adulthood. But ‘til then, pop culture was all I knew...or wanted to know. But now I've lived 65 blackyears in America. EurAmerica’s myths and fantasies are not so much fun these days. Watching the AAs is not a priority. Besides, I'm sure my friends, family and every "news" outlet in the country will make sure I know who won...whether I ask or not.
Komona’s (Rachel Mwanza) life was irreversibly altered at the tender age of 12 when rebel forces led by the Great Tiger (Mizinga Mwinga) rampaged through her tiny African village. The unfortunate girl was forced at gunpoint to kill her own parents (Starlette Mathata and Alex Herabo) before being abducted and brainwashed into joining the cause.
The picture is cleverly constructed as a series of vivid flashbacks narrated by Komona directly addressing the unborn baby growing in her belly. While the plucky protagonist easily earns our admiration for maintaining her sanity in the midst of the madness, there is still something slightly unsettling about a production so matter-of-fact about the endless atrocities providing the backdrop for such a touching front story.
When Jack was a little boy, his imagination was whetted by a bedtime story about a mythical war waged ages ago against a fearsome race of giants that had descended from the sky. Before his mother died soon thereafter, she suggested that he might even be related to Erik the Great, the brave monarch who had led the valiant defense of Earth against the gargantuan invaders.
Directed by Bryan Singer, Jack the Giant Slayer is an alternately enchanting and eye popping adventure which must be seen in 3-D to be appreciated fully. Between the breathtaking panoramas and the daring derring-do on display, the picture amounts to a captivating, cinematic treat guaranteed to enthrall tykes, ‘tweeners, and just about anyone interested in seeing a classic fairytale brought to life. Fee! Fi! Fo! Fum! I smell a hit with the little ones!
A bodyguard doesn’t have the luxury of making a single slip in the process of protecting the President, since a would-be assassin needs but one opportunity to succeed in his deadly mission. Ward Hill Lamon (Lea Coco) learned that lesson the hard way when John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln in the back of the head on April 14, 1865. Ironically, that was the very same day on which Honest Abe created the U.S. Secret Service. For, up until then, Lincoln’s security detail essentially consisted of just one person, the self-appointed Lamon.
A fresh take on The Great Emancipator from the point-of-view of a constant companion who had been at the President’s side at Gettysburg and for many historical moments but not on the day he died.
A veteran of the stage, in 2010 Viola returned to Broadway in the highly anticipated revival of August Wilson's "Fences," alongside Denzel Washington. Her performance in the 1987 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play earned her a Tony Award, as well as the Drama Critics' Circle Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama Desk Award. In 2001, she was awarded a Tony for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for her portrayal of Tonya in "King Hedley II."
A graduate of The Juilliard School, Davis also holds an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts Degree from her alma mater, Rhode Island College. Here, she talks about her latest outing as Amma in the screen adaptation of the romantic fantasy novel “Beautiful Creatures.”
Returning good search results fast is very difficult but DuckDuckGo.com looks like it is up for the challenge and is able to do so without any observable bias in their results. The results do not skew toward big corporations, or scandalous content. I'm actually excited about this search engine!
This is not paid commercial, but DuckDuckGo.com is the first viable alternative I've seen since Google's Search became a tool to enhance it's own eCommerce properties.
The streets are pitch black, but a different shade of darkness has engulfed the north Bronx neighborhood known as Edenwald. Sleepless nights, suspicion, and violence are plaguing the hood, all a result of rampant use of cocaine, known as "hard white" among residents.
This conversation was prompted by an article in the LA Times about the uncertain fate of tens of thousands ancient manuscripts in the ancient city of Timbuktu where Islamic insurgents were said to have set fire to the library there.
"As a repentant survivor of the insanity of Pan-Africanism dogma, over the years it has amazed me that so many people of color from the Africa Diaspora hold Arab Muslim culture in high regards when in fact Arab Muslims probably destroyed as many black African cultures as the European Christians who arrived to the continent much later. " -Need2riteFaster
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