Bookish Details around Philly

The main reason we went to Philadelphia is because of books….And when you travel because of books you are rarely let down. Stacy and I ended up in  Uncle Bobbie’s Shop, a book store in Germantown after visiting the Lest We Forget Slavery Museum.

Some of the books I came across that I made a note to purchase.

Below, Stacy and I smiling with Mrs. Ragsdale, the director of the Lest We Forget Slavery Museum. She gave us a very informative tour. The tour changed the way I see the world and how I see myself. Learning about the slave trade and the atrocities of it, did something to my joyous spirit for the rest of the weekend. Stacy kept asking me, What happened?

I realize when one begin to dig into history, one have to be ready for the good, the bad and the ugly. That was the first time I visited a museum and actually cried.

 

As mentioned before in a previous blog, we also visited the African American History Museum which was rich with history but a totally different experience.

Philadelphia prides itself in being the forerunner in Black Press. In 1884, Christopher Perry published the  Philadelphia Tribune making it the oldest black paper in the United States.  IMG_2324

The street newsstand…IMG_2315

Right before we ate, we caught the last few hours of the children’s book fair. Where we met authors and Illustrators, Nikki Grimes, Renee Watson, Carole Boston Weatherford, Eric Velasquez, Tami Charles and Floyd Cooper.

 

Teen Rescued After Getting Trapped in Old Bank Vault With No Money at All — TIME

Sounds like a good plot for a story….

A Florida teen who got trapped inside an abandoned bank vault had to be rescued by a former bank employee who remembered the vault’s combination. The local rescue team of Hollywood, Fla., told WSVN that two teens were exploring an old office building that once contained a Bank of America branch on Wednesday when the…

via Teen Rescued After Getting Trapped in Old Bank Vault With No Money at All — TIME

Some of the people we met

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While at the Louis Armstrong museum, we met some art lovers who happened to be visiting city at the same time. Very intelligent and talented intellectuals who bonded with us over beignets, fried chicken, collards, and avocado wraps.

We met them for Sunday dinner afterwards and had a blast talking about the city and life. They were the age of our parents and talked to us as daughters. When they learned of the little trouble we got into while there, they warned us about creating a better travel plan for next time and then spoke to us about our careers and future.

 

We met so many people we kept a list of who we met and where.

The first was our Uber driver, James, who was the first to tell us his true opinion of NOLA. ‘If anyone tell you they had a bad experience in NOLA, it’s because of something they did.’

Then we met the crew mentioned above: Marget, Melissa, Fritz, Adjoa and Debra

Around the same time, I met James at the lemonade stand who asked me how old I was and then if Stacy and I brought our boyfriends along.

When we left the museum and fair, we met the tour guide assistant who helped us pick a tour…

We met the bus driver, Marlon, who spoke to us about the disparities in NOLA and told us to visit the 9th ward if we really wanted to see the hood.

We met Lindsay and her boyfriend who set us straight about the pronunciation of New Or-leanSS.

 

We met very intelligent Ellenie, who worked at a herb shop. She knew the names of different herbs and what each on was used for. I learned that Ginko helps with retaining memory.

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We ran into smooth talker Dabir at the flea market and Shari and her friends outside of the market.

Then, Shanay, a soon to be bride, whose photo is on my blog, posed with her girlfriends at a popular Cajun sea food spot.

The most funny crew was Ron, Robert and Rick. The ‘R’ Crew at Cafe Dumonde. They weren’t even related but acted like brothers.

The most daring was meeting Mr. Keith who allowed me to climb a ladder and take photos of the painting on the side of the building.

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We met Uber Driver Kynytia who told us how to pronounce the supermarket name, Robért’s. You can’t say Robert’s. You have to pay attention to the accent.

Then, Kimble, the most dope uber driver and musician who rapped his songs to us on the way back home.

Where we stayed, we met Zachariah, an ecologist who told us Louisiana loses a football field of land everyday.  

We met Cameron at the famous Gumbo shop and because he was standing on line ahead of us turned around and engaged in conversation with us. He was visiting from Wyoming on a business trip. He asked if he could join us when the waiter called us.

We ran into the same Australian couple two or three times.

Then, at the musical festival, we met dancers after their show whose names were Suga baby doll, G baby doll, baby doll kit, and Pinky. All baby dolls.

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Christopher Paul Curtis

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I was super excited to meet Christopher Paul Curtis at the National Book Awards Ceremony this month! I attended without finding out who were on the finalist list. I love surprises…especially if I can control them in some way.

The first thing I would always do when I arrive at the New School (which is where the ceremony is held) is visit the book seller’s table. I do this even before looking at the program. Looking at the books for sell tells me who I will be listening to that night.

When I came across The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis, I asked the vendor if he Mr. Curtis was going to be there that night. Sometimes authors don’t show up to the event.

Yeah, I believe so, he responded.

And, sure enough. He was there!

I was really happy to meet him in person because his writing kept me up at night as a little girl. His books were among the many books my favorite librarian, Mr. Hardy, placed in my hand when I was in middle school.

When I introduced myself to him during the intermission, he looked at me and smiled.

It’s a pleasure meeting you, Lystria. Do you teach?

Yes! I do! How did you know?

I actually didn’t. I didn’t know weather to ask if you taught or how old you were! You look so young.

Thank you, Thank you. I get that I a lot. I teach third grade.

Oh, third grade! I still remember my third grade teacher.

He signed my book and we spoke a little bit about his writing habits. I had remembered some of his habits by reading all of his books closely over and over again as a little girl.

Do you still wake up at 6 to write?

He started smiling. Well, Lystria, it’s getting earlier and earlier.

After we spoke, I met other authors. But meeting him and hearing him speak was by far the most nostalgic and settling for me.

Before I left, he introduced me to his wife Mrs. Curtis and author, Andrea Pinkney. They all looked at me in my eyes and told me how thankful they were that I was teaching.

Thank you for teaching our children.  They told me constantly.

I would be lying if I told you I did not leave that event feeling better then when I walked in. The same feeling I felt after reading  Bud, not Buddy or The Watsons go to Birmingham had returned to me when I met Christopher Paul Curtis in person.

Majora Carter

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Last year after doing a mini lesson on Urban Planning and talking about communities, cities and how they are built, I invited  leading urban revitalization strategy consultant, and real estate developer, Majora Cater, to speak to the students and we all were surprised when she actually came!!

She spoke to the third graders in a language they could understand. She shared with them the power of education and how needful it was as she was growing up. Of course they were more interested in the story about her dog walking in her wedding and how she felt when the Bronx was burning. However, she kept them engaged and informed them of what the Bronx used to be before they were born.

As the teacher who invited her, I was extremely happy and proud! I kept smiling the entire day! Especially when my principal said she enjoyed the presentation.

 

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