Connect with us

Books

Summer Book Reviews

WASHINGTON INFORMER — The truth is, though, summer’s halfway over and you’ve done everything you wanted to do so now you’re (do you dare say it?) bored. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!  So maybe it’s time to find some fun inside a book. These three have what you need.

Published

on

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

“The Floor is Lava” by Ivan Brett
c.2019, Gallery Books
$14.99 (higher in Canada)
252 pages

“You Are Awesome” by Matthew Syed
c.2019, Sourcebooks
$14.99 (higher in Canada)
160 pages

“United Tastes of America: An Atlas of Food Facts & Recipes from Every State!” by Gabrielle Langholtz, drawings by Jenny Bowers, photos by DL Acken
c.2019, Phaidon
$29.95 ($39.95 Canada)
239 pages

Mom says if she hears it one more time, she’s going to scream.

The truth is, though, summer’s halfway over and you’ve done everything you wanted to do so now you’re (do you dare say it?) bored. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!  So maybe it’s time to find some fun inside a book. These three have what you need…

If you think you’ve played every game there is this summer, look inside “The Floor is Lava” by Ivan Brett,and think again. In this book, you’ll find all kinds of games you can play by yourself or with others, with or without props, non-electronically, at home or anywhere you happen to be.

Play “Murder in Paradise” while you still have some vacation left. Get your baby brother to play the “Squiggle Challenge” with you. Try “The Silent Game” when your parents say you should simmer down. Play “Six Degrees of Separation” with a smarty pants. Here’s another tip: if you’re a babysitter, there are things in this book that little kids can play, too, and that’ll make you the best babysitter ever.

So let’s say you’re spending the rest of your summer by yourself, no other kids around. Then you need “You Are Awesome” by Matthew Syed, a good sharp pencil and a good sharp mind. That’s because this book is going to make you think, but in a good way that you’ll like. It’ll give you a nice confidence boost, and some stories to read that will show you how others became their most awesome selves, too.

And finally, here’s a way to beat boredom and get fed: “United Tastes of America” by Gabrielle Langholtz, drawings by Jenny Bowers, photos by DL Acken. Yum, this cookbook will teach you all about the foods beloved by folks in each state of America, and a few facts about the states themselves. Then, you’ll find recipes you can try with the help of an adult because some recipes are easy but some are really challenging and you’ll want expert assistance in the kitchen.

Bon appetite! No more excuses. And with these great books – no more boredom!

More than perhaps anything in the world, you hate when your child utters the “B-word.” Boredom should be banished, so eliminate it with these three fun books.

No matter what kind of kid you’ve got – quiet, boisterous, loner, or friend-magnet – these three books speak to that child’s heart. “The Floor is Lava” is for groups of kids or just one or two, and most of its activities require little-to-no materials. It’s the perfect book to spark imagination and creativity. “You Are Awesome” is great for the introspective child, or the kid who needs a boost for this fall; any child who’s heading to a new school will benefit from it. And “United Tastes of America” is great for the budding chef but be sure you stick around to help.

These books are just right for kids ages 10-and-up and are not just for summer. Get them, and your kids will scream with fun any time.

This post originally appeared in The Washington Informer.

Bay Area

Castlemont High Coach Launches “Books Before Balls” Project

Tamikia McCoy, an Oakland Athletic League phenomena in 1991 – 1993, dominated girls’ basketball, becoming a walk-on at Grambling to win the Southern Western Conference of 1993-1994.  

Published

on

Tamikia McCoy/Photo Courtesy of Tanya Dennis

 

Michael Franklin

Tamikia McCoy, an Oakland Athletic League phenomena in 1991 – 1993, dominated girls’ basketball, becoming a walk-on at Grambling to win the Southern Western Conference of 1993-1994.  

For two years, she played with the Running Rebels, an Oakland all-star basketball team.  After earning many degrees, McCoy returned to her beloved Castlemont as Coach in 2019, and quickly realized a responsibility to her students beyond winning games and created Books Before Balls.

Another Castlemont alumni of that same year was not as fortunate as McCoy.  Like McCoy, Michael Franklin was a basketball beast.  He was awarded first team All-City for the Oakland Athletic League 1993-1994 and was Northern California’s All American that same year. 

Franklin continues to hold the record for scoring 43 points in one quarter in a game against McClymonds. Tragically, he was killed Dec. 14, 2016, at a gas station at 98th and Edes in Oakland.

Coach McCoy’s concerns about violence inspired her to create the Books Before Balls Project to address academic and social gaps that are working against student success. 

“For violence and bullying to cease, the underlying reasons have to be addressed,” said McCoy, “Food scarcity may seem unrelated to violence, but it’s a signal that economic opportunities are lacking, which leads to trauma and desperation.”  

McCoy is also concerned that Castlemont’s library was closed and is spearheading a campaign to reopen and revitalize the library.  

She has joined with Oakland Frontline Healers and Adamika Village#stopkillingourkids movement to address issues of food scarcity, lack of economic opportunity, lack of resources and lack of support for students entering college.  

Together, they are creating a model that is duplicatable and hopefully will be adopted at other OUSD schools. Oakland Frontline Healers are a collaborative of 30 nonprofits and doctors offering services, food, and resources to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.  

Players and families will be tested weekly by Umoja Health before games, and the COVID-19 vaccine will be available for those that wish to take it.

With a grant from the Department of Violence Prevention, Building Opportunity for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS) and Adamika Village#stopkillingourkidsmovement, are honoring Michael Franklin’s life by hosting a series of “Mike’s Knights” Basketball Tournaments at Castlemont High School beginning the last Friday in November.  

Participants will be paid stipends to participate in the league or cheer squad and will be tutored and mentored during the tournaments, which will include family forums to discuss ending violence in East Oakland.

Books Before Balls invites the community to donate to the organization to support the Lady Knights’ basketball team, the success program that funds first year college students, or join their initiative to reopen the library. 

 For more information contact:  Ladyknights2019@yahoo.com For youth interested in joining the eight-week tournament contact Adamika Village at adamikaadamika@gmail.com 

Together with school leaders and administrators, and with the support of Oakland Frontline Healers, Books Before Balls is staging a “Student’s Against Bullying” event Friday, Sept. 17 from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. at Youth Uprising, 8711 MacArthur Blvd. in Oakland.

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

Continue Reading

Black History

Langston Hughes: Renaissance Poet and Writer

African American writers and poets have for years openly challenged cultural stigmas, creating classic works of literature. Many have earned Pulitzer and Nobel prizes, NAACP and Coretta Scott King Book awards among other honors. 

Published

on

Langston Hughes/Photo courtesy of Tamara Shiloh

African American writers and poets have for years openly challenged cultural stigmas, creating classic works of literature. Many have earned Pulitzer and Nobel prizes, NAACP and Coretta Scott King Book awards among other honors. 

Among these literary giants stands James Mercer Langston Hughes (1902–1967), whose poetry and other writings made him a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.

Born in Joplin, Mo., Langston Hughes’s parents separated shortly after he was born. His father relocated to Mexico, and the child was raised by his mother and grandmother. After his grandmother died, he and his mother eventually settled in Cleveland.

Hughes began experimenting with poetry during grammar school. His work was so well liked that he was elected class poet. He stated that “in retrospect,” he thought it was because of the stereotype about African Americans “having rhythm.”

It was summer after he graduated from high school that he penned “The Negro Speaks of Rivers.” Published in The Crisis (1921), a piece that brought him considerable attention and put it his work on the path to being noticed.

That same year Hughes enrolled in New York City’s Columbia College. He left a year later, citing “racial prejudice among students and teachers” as one of the reasons. He describes his first interaction at Columbia as “largely isolating and exclusionary.” In his autobiography Big Sea, he opens a chapter with “I didn’t like Columbia.” 

He would later build a relationship with the university––after he became a prominent writer.

After Columbia, Hughes remained in Harlem while working and continuing to write. In 1925, he won an Opportunity magazine poetry prize. Writer Carl Van Vechten then introduced Hughes’s poetry to the publisher Alfred A. Knopf. 

“The Weary Blues “was published in 1926.

Hughes also spent time in Washington, D.C., where he worked as a hotel busboy. As poet Vachel Lindsay sat in the hotel’s dining room, Hughes placed three of his own poems beside Lindsay’s plate. The following day, several newspapers reported that Lindsay had “discovered” an African-American busboy poet. Later that year, Hughes received a scholarship to Lincoln University. 

He also received the Witter Bynner Undergraduate Poetry Award and published “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” in The Nation.

In 1926, Hughes published a second collection of poetry, “Fine Clothes to the Jew.” It faced great criticism from the Black press. By 1929, he had helped launch the influential magazine Fire!! His first prose volume, “Not Without Laughter” was published in 1930. He traveled in the American South in 1931, then to the Soviet Union, Haiti, Japan, and other countries; and served as a newspaper correspondent (1937) during the Spanish Civil War.

Hughes published countless other works during the 1950s and 1960s, including several books in his series “Simple.” He won several awards including the Anisfeld-Wolfe Award for best book on racial relations, the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP, the Golden Harmon Award and the Guggenheim Fellowship.

Hughes continued writing until he died in 1967.

Sources:  https://www.biography.com/writer/langston-hughes
https://www.britannica.com/biography/Langston-Hughes
https://allpoetry.com/Langston-Hughes

Continue Reading

Art

BIPOC Writers to Showcase Live Readings of New Anthology ‘Essential Truths’

The free, virtual event will begin with an invocation by Berkeley Poet Laureate Rafael Jesús González and will feature 18 BIPOC writers and poets in lively readings and presentations.

Published

on

Essential Truths the Bay Area In Color/WriteNow! SF

Oakland Asian Cultural Center in partnership with Write Now! SF Bay will host an East Bay Showcase of its latest anthology “Essential Truths on Thursday, July 22. 

The free, virtual event will begin with an invocation by Berkeley Poet Laureate Rafael Jesús González and will feature 18 BIPOC writers and poets in lively readings and presentations.

Among those performing and reading are: Avotcja, Clara Hsu, Danny Ryu, Darzelle Oliveros, Dianne Leo-Omine, Elmaz Abinader, Kelechi Ubozoh, Karen Seneferu, Kimi Sugioka, Sandra Bass, Shirley Huey, Shizue Seigal, Sridevi Ramanathan, Susana Praver-Pérez, Tiny (aka Lisa Gray-Garcia), Tony Aldorondo, Tureeda Mikell, and Wanda Sabir. 

To register for this event, which begins at 7:00 p.m., visit https://oacc.cc/event/essential-truths-east-bay/. A complete list of Oakland Asian Cultural Center readers’ affiliations can be found here: OACC READERS

Write Now! SF Bay, an organization that has helped 350 writers and artists create with their free and low-cost programs and provided a safe community where BIPOC feel free to express themselves, has published its fourth anthology.

“Essential Truths, The Bay Area in Color,” is its fourth anthology. The collection of 130 Bay Area BIPOC’s poems, musings, and art was edited by Siegal, the founder/director of Write Now! SF Bay.

“Our work is not always polished, but it arises from the lived experience of grappling with real issues of the day,” Siegal said. “We may write in the vernacular or English may be our second or third language. 

“If our rhythms are unfamiliar, ask yourself why—is our work inflected by other tongues and vernaculars, rusty from disuse, scattered by stress or trauma, struggling out silence, or hastily scribbled on borrowed time? 

“Old ways are dissolving, and change is in the air. BIPOC arts and activism have been here all along. Now we are stepping into the light,” Siegal said.

The contributors are Black, Brown, Indigenous, People of Color, and LGBTQ communities along with a few white allies who run the gamut from poet laureates to high school students to college professors and beyond. 

Since 2015, Write Now! SF Bay has been led by and for BIPOC Bay Area writers and builds multicultural solidarity around their unique identities as people of color and reclaim their culture and history, personal and community well-being as well as civil liberties and social justice.

“Essential Truths, The Bay Area in Color” is published is available for purchase at $17.95 by visiting https://www.writenowsf.com/essential-truths

Continue Reading

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending