Ethan

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This is Ethan. The kid who went all the way to the book fair in Philly with me and did not want to buy a book. He came for one purpose: to go to a gift shop.

We ran out of time and had to head back to the Bronx without going to a gift shop. So, he spent his 10 dollars on food, pizza and soda to be exact.

When he complained about not being able to go to the gift shop, I promised him that we would set up our own gift shop at the center…with items from the museums in Philadelphia.

It took a lot of internet searching but finally, I found toys, books, games, journals and even candy to sell. We set up our own store at the center and it was a success! We had four books signed by authors (that no one brought), Benjamin Franklin Journals (that staff brought),  Liberty Bell Sharpeners (that kids brought and got in trouble with their teachers with), and then popular toys like play dough and frozen dolls that they sold for two dollars. He was the owner and made almost 100 bucks selling merchandise to parents and children after he finished his homework. He even hired his friend, Brianna.

Today, during Circle time they will get paid and honored for creating an idea and working on it…(aka, nagging Ms. Lilly until they had their way).

But- Now we have a dilemma.

The dilemma is not how much I should pay them but should Ethan get paid? After a week of being a great sells person, he seemed to be on a mission of mischievous acts!

On Tuesday during a presentation about culture in Africa; he sat in the front and talked and laughed with his friends. The presenter had to stop talking to reprimand them.

Then, on Thursday, he joined another little boy in teasing a child about having ‘fake’ Jordan sneakers (which really got me upset).

I want to pay him. But I also want to teach him a lesson. How can both be achieved?

Javaka Steptoe

A dear friend and mentor, Mr. Steptoe posing at the 25th African American Children’s book fair with his new book, Radiant Child: The Life and Story of Jean-Michel Basquiat, which is the winner of the 2017 Randolph Caldecott Medal and of the 2017 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award.  

Congratulations Javaka!

Mother and Son: Carole Boston Weatherford and her son, Jeffery

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I was blessed to meet Carole Boston Weatherford and her son, Jeffery Boston Weatherford at the African- American children’s book fair. 

First I met Jeffrey Boston Weatherford and he told me about his debut book ( he is the illustrator and his mother is the author), You can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen.

Then, I met his mother, Carole Boston Weatherford. I didn’t realize that I met a genius until I sat down and read some of her work. I really appreciate the time and labor she put towards writing children books.

During a meeting with the students at Mary Mitchell, I showed them all the books I bought written by her and they gasped.

oh my gosh! She wrote so many books!!

I was able to talk to my students about my favorite photographer, Gordon Parks, through the use of her book, Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured White and Black America. 

Most of the students were familiar with Freedom on the Menu and those who weren’t were more interested in that book than any of the other books I purchased by her.

I am happy I met them and  can’t wait to see what this pair put out next!

Rice & Rocks by Sandra Richards

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.Today I brought all the books I bought at the book fair into the classroom.

Pick a book to read. I told them.

Something about a book begin new and signed by the authors made the children really excited.

Dominic looked at all the books and picked Rice and Rocks. He saw there quietly, reading and turning each page slowly.

When he was done, he looked up at me and said in a slow and emotional way,

Ms. Lilly, I really liked this book.

He sat there thinking and I didn’t interrupt. But now, I want to know what exactly he was thinking about. Maybe tomorrow I will ask him why he liked the book.

Pictured: The author of Rice and Rocks (Ms. Richards) posing with her book

 

Authors and Illustrators

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From left to right:

Javaka Steptoe, Carole Boston Weatherford, R. Gregory Christie, Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, Elizabeth Zunon, Floyd Cooper and Jeffery Boston Weatherford

Taken at the 25th Annual African American Children’s Book Fair