Harlem Renaissance: five novels of the 1920s edited by Rafia Zafar

Mar 04

Harlem Renaissance: five novels of the 1920s edited by Rafia Zafar

This was a very interesting read. Harlem Renaissance: Five Novels of the 1920s edited by Rafia Zafar, is just as the title suggests–five novels written by African American authors during or about the Harlem Renaissance. This was a fascinating period in black history for many reasons. One, it is where a lot of black intellectuals began to become known in various fields–literature, music, art, scholarly pursuits. It really was a golden age for post-slavery African Americans. The five novels in this book are: Jean Toomer’s Cane written in 1923 — it is a story about a woman in Georgia, a teacher, who struggles with who she is as a black woman and how her ‘race’ affects her; Claude McKay’s Home to Harlem written in 1928, a story of two young men with very different backgrounds, both African American, and how they deal with the prejudices and stereotypes of white America — it is rich with culture–jazz and excitement– prohibition and drinking, and even sex– this is a story of defining a race from within the race and starting a cultural revolution, it is a good peek into Harlem in the 1920’s; next was Nella Larsen’s Quicksand which is a story about a woman who is half black, half white–she struggles with who she is, who her people are and how she can connect within a society so divided when she is not white or black but both; Jessie Redmon Fauset’s Plum Bun written in 1928 is the story of two African American sisters–they are different in many ways–one, the main character, is pale and can pass as a white person and so she does, but she learns how deserting your roots and your culture is not always the best thing, rarely ever is, actually, but how to be black in a white dominant culture is the question she is trying to answer; and finally Wallace Thurman’s The Blacker the Berry written in 1929, is a story about a young woman, Emma, who is very dark skinned and how this influenced how other African Americans, as well as whites, treated her, this story digs into how the culture of color went inside the African American communities as well as the...

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Where The Sidewalk Ends: The Poems and Drawings of Shel Silverstein

Mar 03

Where The Sidewalk Ends: The Poems and Drawings of Shel Silverstein

For one of my 2013 Reading Challenges, Reading Outside the Box, I chose this category: It’s my Birthday! So, have a party! Read a book that was published in either your birth month or birth year! And for my birth year, 1974, one of my favorite authors Shel Silverstein published one of his most popular books, Where the Sidewalk Ends. So, I read it. It was a fun, silly book of poems. The poems are silly and catchy. Some of my favorites are: Sick, a poem about a little girl who swears she is sick with all sorts of ailments as she is trying to get out of going to school but in the end, it is Saturday! And she recovers very quickly indeed–silly girl; Hug O’ War, Because, I absolutely love hugs!; and, Spaghetti, Because it is silly and messy fun; and Lazy Jane, This book is definitely fun and I can see why it is so very popular! I would definitely recommend Where The Sidewalk Ends: The Poems and Drawings of Shel...

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Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich

Mar 02

Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich

Love Medicine was a really good book. It is Native American literature and it is filled with disjointed short stories, coming together, as a tribe would from all angles. The characters are strong and vulnerable, believable and the stories pull on your heart strings. This is a book with a message. In this book we read about two families spanning many decades, in a non-linear manner. This lends to the interconnectedness of the past, the present and the future. That is a main point, each generation affects the next and the last. And many more to come. This book tells of the Governmental “re-education” of the Native Americans by predominantly white people and religious organizations. It tells of subjugation, of the woes of reservation, of alcohol and stereotypes. It tells of the struggle to cope with forced assimilation while still trying to hold on to who you are, the culture you have always known and that of your ancestors—while not being given the option to stay the same. I do not want to give too much away but I would definitely recommend Love...

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Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss (2013)

Mar 01

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss (2013)

March 2nd is Dr. Seuss’ 109th Birthday. And each year it is celebrated all over the United States through the Read Across America program. March 1, 2013 is NEA’s Read Across America Day. Straight from the National Education Association website, here is more about the Read Across America program, What is NEA’s Read Across America? NEA’s Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss. NEA’s Read Across America also provides NEA members, parents, caregivers, and children the resources and activities they need to keep reading on the calendar 365 days a year. In cities and towns across the nation, teachers, teenagers, librarians, politicians, actors, athletes, parents, grandparents, and others develop NEA’s Read Across America activities to bring reading excitement to children of all ages. Governors, mayors, and other elected officials recognize the role reading plays in their communities with proclamations and floor statements. Athletes and actors issue reading challenges to young readers. And teachers and principals seem to be more than happy to dye their hair green or be duct-taped to a wall if it boosts their students’ reading. How and when did NEA’s Read Across America begin? In May 1997, a small reading task force at NEA came up with a big idea. “Let’s create a day to celebrate reading,” the group decided. “We hold pep rallies to get kids excited about football. We assemble to remember that Character Counts. Why don’t we do something to get kids excited about reading? We’ll call it ‘NEA’s Read Across America’ and we’ll celebrate it on Dr. Seuss’s birthday.” And so was born on March 2, 1998, the largest celebration of reading this country has ever seen. Why NEA’s Read Across America? Motivating children to read is an important factor in student achievement and creating lifelong successful readers. Research has shown that children who are motivated and spend more time reading do better in school. Who sponsors NEA’s Read Across America? At the national level, the National Education Association sponsors and spearheads the program with support from 40 national nonprofit and association partners. Locally, everyone—from schools...

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March is National Reading Awareness Month

Feb 26

March is full of reading fun! =) YIPPPPEEEEEEEEEEEE! March is National Reading Awareness Month, also known as National Reading Month. You are encouraged to read aloud to your children, friends, family, spouses, co-workers, whoever will listen, for at least 15 minutes per day every day this month. How hard can it be, really? This will hopefully become a habit you wish to continue. I encourage everyone to get involved. Click on the picture below for more details on Read Aloud’s 15 MINUTE Movement: March also happens to have a few other reading holidays–Dr. Seuss’ 109th birthday is March 2nd; the National Education Association’s Read Across America event kicks on the 1st of March; World Book Day is March 7th as well as World Read Aloud Day and last but not least, March 25th is Tolkien Reading Day.  So! Start early and begin to find out what everyone around you wants to read and see if those books are at the local library. Maybe check out two copies and commit to reading with them. You can take turns reading aloud. It is fun to read with people out loud, even grown ups with other grown ups. I do it all the time. I think a part of us will always love to be read...

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Axis Mundi by Karen Holmberg

Feb 25

Axis Mundi by Karen Holmberg

I love poetry and I love birds. So, when I saw this book with a bird on the cover, titled Axis Mundi, or the center of the world—the connection between Heaven and Earth, between man and woman, the cosmic axis—I thought to myself, this is a book I need to read. Axis Mundi was written by a poet, Karen Holmberg, who happens to be from Oregon, another lovely part of the Pacific Northwest. She writes of powerful things in her poetry, evoking strong emotions and visceral reactions in some. …by the mother who gives to us, and gives to us, Then wrenches away what we love In her vast wave. (Ward, 17-18) I can feel it being wrenched away, that which I love, whatever that is to me. Karen plays with language like an architect plays with lines and creates something beautiful, an emotion jumping off the paper through my eyes into my mind, burrowing for days so I might keep thinking about the meaning of her words, her poems, this book. She also writes her poetry with varying structure. Some were concrete poems which mix visual form and text to make a statement, staggering lines in some of her poems like, Negative (45-48). This adds a sense of dramatic effect, allowing the reader to fall off long-awaited cliffs or abruptly, like the emotion, or experience. It helps the readers experience the poem, rather than just read it. If you like poetry, you will like this book. I definitely recommend...

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Only 4 more days till Read Across America 2013 kicks off…

Feb 25

What do you have planned? Will you take the reader’s oath with me? Reader’s Oath Written by Debra Angstead, Missouri-NEA I promise to read Each day and each night. I know it’s the key To growing up right. I’ll read to myself, I’ll read to a crowd. It makes no difference If silent or loud. I’ll read at my desk, At home and at school, On my bean bag or bed, By the fire or pool. Each book that I read Puts smarts in my head, ‘Cause brains grow more thoughts The more they are fed. So I take this oath To make reading my way Of feeding my brain What it needs every day.   Shall we read it aloud? I will, if you will! We can post our oaths...

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