Randhes & The Cop


In February when the kids took a trip to Philly, we ran into a lot of police which got the children super excited!! (We visited the city during the time Vice President Pence was there which meant a lot of marches and rallies…crazy traffic and high security.

In this photo Randhes is trying to remember how to take a picture with his tablet…while the SWAT cop is smiling for the real deal! A canon camera!




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!

Rice & Rocks by Sandra Richards


.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


Mr. and Mrs. Fox


I met Mr. Fox a Saturday ago. He was the bus driver who took my students to Philadelphia.

He pulled the long bus in front of the center right on time.

The parents, students and staff got excited when they saw the bus. It made going to Philadelphia a dream come true!

The bus is here!! One person called out and that created an even greater excitement.

The news ignited the crowd. I walked downstairs to check on the volunteers who were making sandwiches. I could hear the children upstairs talking excitedly about the big, big bus out side. Their feet running to look out the door.

I went upstairs to where everyone was waiting and addressed the crow: Mary Mitchell!!

Here we are!! They responded.

Good Morning and thanks for coming! As you already know, the bus is outside! By the time my speech was over, everyone stood up and began to aboard the bus.

When I walked on the bus, Mr. Fox turned to me and said, “So, you are the lady in charge.”

“Yes. I am.” I responded.

“What you got planed for today?”

This began our relationship and set the tone for our trip. His wife, Mrs. Fox was there and assisted me almost like a mother assists a daughter. Never in the way, encouraging and there for support.

Needless to say, we had a safe and very successful trip.

I can’t wait to use Entertainment Express again!