It’s My Birthday Month!! Yay!! Nothing like celebrating another year of life…one full of blessings!!
This list right here…I’m really digging it!! Not just because it’s my Birthday month, but because these some hot literary joints!! One even has a film adaptation hitting theaters soon! But don’t take my word for it, check them out for yourself!!
The Silent Twins~Marjorie Wallace
Golden Ax ~Rio Cortez
How You Grow Wings ~Rimma Onoseta
The Witchery ~S. Isabelle
The Black Period~Hafizan Augustus Geter
The Getaway ~Lamar Giles
And remember you can always go back and check out the previous month’s list and past recommendations in the “Resource” section of the website!!
“We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.” ~Angela Davis
“We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions who have inspired others to achieve success.” ~National Hispanic Heritage Month/Library of Congress site
In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15th-October 15th), I wanted to offer a bonus list of book recommendations particularly for youth!! Gotta make sure the kids get their list too!! You know Dr. G always has a special place for the youth!!
A phrase that always comes to mind and that will be forever ingrained is the notion that #RepresentationMatters!! Regardless of it is popular culture, school curriculums, hiring practices, and especially the materials that read, everyone should feel as though they can and are represented. As I have noted early on, reading has always been a powerful tool for change and great way to find peace and space/place to belong.
It is so necessary that Black and Brown children/youth are able to visually see their experiences drawn and written. Knowing that they can see themselves lets them know they have value within this world. What better way to do that than through a book!! Many of these stories, as well as others, pay tribute to the author’s cultural background, tell familial and community stories and also play a role in de-stigmatizing existing stereotypes and tropes. Additionally, this visual work can inspire, educate, and motivate the next generation!!
So here is a sample of great reads highlighting Afro/Hispanic/Latinx children to add to your literary collection/bookshelves:
To Be Young Gifted and Black: Finding Black Excellence in “The Hill We Climb”
Sweet Baby Jesus!! Today (and yesterday) we witnessed #BlackExcellence and #Herstory in multiple ways, from the swearing in of Madame Vice President Kamala V. Harris, to the inspiring benediction by Rev. Dr. Silvester Beaman, to the full display of Black fashion (Pyer Moss, Christopher John Rogers, Sergio Hudson), to the powerful and poignant National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman !! My cup runneth over and I was filled with pure joy and happiness.
However, one moment in particular that stood out for me was witnessing 22-year old Amanda Gorman recite her poem The Hill We Climb on the Capitol steps this morning! Gorman’s poem was more than just words on a paper, but a call to the past, a moment to reflect, a call to action, and a space to inspire. Glowing and shining like the North Star, Gorman stunned audiences with her long yellow coat and crisp white shirt, with a ruby red headband atop her braids … listening to her reminded me of watching Maya Angelou share her poem On the Pulse of Morningat President Bill Clinton’s 1992 inauguration.
“Now we assert: How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?“
Gorman’s words, poise, and presentation inspired me as a fellow Black woman and it is my hope and prayer that her action and representation inspires not only young girls, but women of all ages to make their voices heard!
Everything about this occasion reads dignified, graceful, and refreshing! She had such a natural flow…literally and physically! Gorman’s eloquent moment in so many ways channeled the legacies of Shirley Chisholm, Maya Angelou, Ella Baker, Toni Morrison, and Fannie Lou Hamer!! The foundations they established laid the groundwork for a young Black woman like Amanda Gorman. Ahhhh they would be so proud! The acknowledgement of this moment is essential and should not be forgotten, if anything we should continue to see more moments like this one!
Let me tell you the ancestors are truly smiling today!!
“For there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it, If only we’re brave enough to be it.“
To see the full video and transcript, please see here!
The one great thing about scrolling through my Apple News app on my phone is finding jewels and nuggets regarding exciting new projects that showcase voices often not heard. And today was one of the many days where I scrolled up on an upcoming collaborative multi-faceted art project When We Gather.
Envisioned by Campos-Pons, she notes, “When We Gather offers an empowering moment to heal and unite the country through creative energy.” As she brought the artists together, their performance provides something of an awakening. “The circle shows us how we can remain connected even while we are separated due to this pandemic or due to the state of the nation. All of these factors have informed the collaborative choreography and spoken word of this global collective experience.”
Narrated by award-winning actress Alfre Woodard, the film highlights literary and choreographed dance movements from various backgrounds and traditions as it pays homage to Black women heroines. Now as a result of the pandemic, the performances were woven together from three different cities/locations (Brooklyn, Nashville, and Houston).
Before it launches on January 27th (7 pm/ET), starting today viewers can check out the interactive platform When We Gather, which shares behind-the-scenes stories of Black women heroines from the past, present, and future.
After hearing Vice President Kamala Harris, during her nomination acceptance, call forth the memory of her mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris, while also invoking a moment that acknowledges generations of all women creates a moment of unity and empowerment!! In essence, magic in the making!! When We Gather accepts the call from Harris to celebrate all “mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, girls; cis and trans and serves as a “collective answer to her invitation.”
Streaming of the film will be available free until February 15th, 2021.
Such a shining a moment that I look forward to watching!!