Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Karibu Book Store's Last Day Open

As you've probably already heard, the Black book store Karibu has said it's final farewell this week ( at one of it's locations. Many loyal customers came out to the store located in Maryland to say their goodbye's and take advantage of buying their books one last time. It's a sad thing for many people as Karibu was such a successful African American bookstore that it had grown into a chain in various areas, and has been in business for 15 years. Now due to some financial set backs, the owner has been faced with having to close the once successful bookstore completely. I was not fortunate enough to be located near a Karibu store but feel a personal sadness because of the literature that it brought to others and created great exposure and distribution for. I know niche stores like this can obviously fill a big pinch with major book sellers being so popular. So in honor of smaller book stores, I am personally making a commitment to visit them more often. All children's bookstores would fall into the "niche" category as well so I vow to visit them as well vs. always going to the major chains (or ordering online) as they usually offer great programs and reading schedules for children. For a complete list of African American bookstore locations in all the different states, log onto for this information.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Chicago public schools use Shenanigans Series, which features two African-American kids in relatable plotlines

The Chicago Tribune ( has an interesting and great story about a mother named Jil Ross who was inspired to create children's books aimed at African American children after noticing that she could not find a lot of them in bookstores. What's so inspiring is that after seeing a need, she set out to publish her own book series called The Shenanigans. It's been doing well enough to be featured in 10 Chicago public schools and is also being offered by several online sellers like Amazon, Borders, etc.
Jill states that the marketing has been the hardest part as she has sold 800 of her newest books at a profit of $6.25 each. She's now working on her 6Th book with her main mission being to help children become excited about reading. I think it's a wonderful thing and I wanted to highlight her in order to help promote her efforts.
Reading, publishing, and children are all subjects near and dear to my heart so I applaud all efforts to anyone who makes it a mission to add value to children's literacy. To learn about other African American authors of children's books, there's several places you can look up. Try and you can find some of the latest releases there which highlight many authors and their books. Also, log onto as they are currently highlighting some of the top picks for Black History month which is really exciting.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Paying Students To Study

I read in the Boston Globe ( that two Georgia middle schools have started a pilot in which they will pay a select group of 40 students money to study. It's called a "Learn and Earn" initiative and it's hopes are that the money ($8.00 an hour), will help motivate students to learn, study, go to class regularly, and make better grades. This is in it's infancy stage and will be viewed for the actual results in approximately 15 weeks after the pilot is complete. If successful, it's possible that this can catch on with other public schools as well in a pioneering effort to get students to do better in school.

This made me start thinking about what parents could actually do in the very beginning of children's lives to enhance their school performance from the first day of preschool. It seems extreme to plan so far in advance but we live in a competitive society in which our kids can't afford to wait until later on in their lives to develop good study habits. I came up with three things which are easy enough and are virtually free in costs and should start very early in life.

1. Encourage children to read books by buying fun kid's books for them as soon as their born (can also obtain for free at the library). Age appropriate of course, and they will get the message early on that reading is fun, inspiring, a way of life.

2. Reward and compliment them when they excel in school or are working hard in a subject matter that may be difficult for them. Rewards can come in any manner such as a trip to the local park, a hug, a treat, etc. It does not have to be a monetary reward at all if your budget does not permit, all kids will just appreciate the recognition.

3. Do a regular check in with their school work. Find out if they need your help, a tutor, or extra after school studying in any subject they might find challenging. Don't assume that just because they haven't brought it up, that they aren't experiencing challenges.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Just Us Books

Aside from Mill City Press, one of my favorite publishers is Just Us Books. They offer a great selection of African American children's books ranging from picture books to teen subject matters. Their pioneering efforts to help publish more African American authors demonstrates that there is definitely a vibrant market for this sort of literature.

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I'm currently working on a website that includes content from my book Sunny's Adventures. My site will include free coloring book pages for kids which parents can download and print out. There will also be a coloring contest in which all children will receive free book marks just for entering. The winner will receive some great prizes with a personal message from me.

I will also be linking to items mentioned in the story including a great lemon cake recipe and fun brain tickler questions. Teachers will find information for including this story in their classroom discussions as well as guides for parents.

I'm extremely excited to show off my website and I hope you enjoy it along with the book Sunny's Adventures!

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Monday, January 7, 2008

Why I wrote Sunny's Adventures...

I want every child to know that they can be anything that they want to be in this world. This is one of the driving forces for my creation of Sunny’s Adventures, to show my own daughter that all things are possible – you can do and be more than just one thing. The only limitation in life is thinking that they “can’t” do something or believing someone who tells them they “can’t” do something. Life’s circumstances do not dictate who they are or who they will become and this is a message they need to hear over and over again. This will enable them to achieve every possible dream that they can ever imagine.

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Excerpt's From Sunny's Adventures

...from my book.

#1“It’s going to be a good day today,” Sunny said as she sat at the kitchen counter helping her grandmother make her delicious double-layer lemon cake. It was Sunny’s favorite dessert in the whole wide world. Her grandmother put just enough lemon juice and powdered sugar in it to make the moist treat melt right in your mouth.

#2“Okay students, let’s all settle down and sit in your seats as I have some very important information to discuss with you,” their teacher Mrs. Peabody instructed. Everyone found their seats and immediately got quiet so they could hear what their teacher had to say.
“It appears we have a problem, class. Our pet turtle Wilma has disappeared from our classroom.”
How can that happen? Who would take Wilma, everyone wondered aloud.

#3Sunny had so much fun helping her mom to make their apple streusel blueberry pie. The blueberries were the secret ingredients Grandma had added in this year. They had already taste-tested it at home and it was absolutely a winner as far as Sunny was concerned. Once they had finished preparing their pie, they put it into their assigned oven and let it bake. They then began to clear their work area and wash up since Sunny had some flour in her ponytails and some on her face too.

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Welcome to my new blog! Allow me to introduce myself; I am a children's book author of the soon to be released book called Sunny's Adventures, a children's book. It's about a young girl named Sunny that helps to solve several fun mysteries. She embraces each experience with an eager excitement each and every time something arises. Sunny is sure to be an inspiration to all young children as she helps others to solve their problems.

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