Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy Kwanza! Happy New Year!

Each year I try to celebrate Kwanzaa by making a small fruit basket for each of the children in the family with gifts of books and games. They especially love clementines, apples and pears but I also try to add a new fruit that we have never tried. This year I have found a special book with a complimentary theme to give them, D is for Dragon Fruit, An Exotic Fruit Alphabet Book by Monique Duncan.   This book allows "children to travel around the world and learn about a colorful variety of fruit from A to Z."  Ms. Duncan has embarked on her own creative path by establishing a publishing company, Sweet Pea Books, which exemplify the principles of Kujichagulia, Ujamaa and Kuumba.  Find out more about her story by visiting,

Kwanzaa brings us together as a family and a community but the principles we share and talk about are needed throughout the year.  So let us begin the new year with The Nguzo Saba - The Principles of Kwanzaa and extend them throughout the year.  At Maple Sugar Child, I will focus on the values and  principles of Kwanzaa in our everyday life throughout the year.

The Seven Principles (Nguzo Saba) of Kwanzaa are:

Unity: Umoja (oo–MO–jah) -to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
Self-determination: Kujichagulia (koo–gee–cha–goo–LEE–yah) - to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
Collective Work and Responsibility: Ujima (oo–GEE–mah) - to build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.
Cooperative Economics: Ujamaa (oo–JAH–mah) - to build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
Purpose: Nia (nee–YAH) - to make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
Creativity: Kuumba (koo–OOM–bah) - to do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
Faith: Imani (ee–MAH–nee) - to believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

A Child is Born

In the heat of the season we sometimes forget the true meaning of Christmas. This gentle book reminds us of the true Christmas story as told by Margaret Wise Brown, the author of the popular, Goodnight, Moon and illustrated by Floyd Cooper.  In her quiet poetic style Margaret Wise Brown brings alive the miracle of Christmas highlighted by the luminous illustrations of Floyd Cooper. This is a Nativity book to inspire all ages and is our Book for the Season.  Merry Christmas!  

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas at The White House

Michelle Obama's theme for this Christmas season is "Simple Gifts." As she explains the greatest blessing is  being able to be with loved ones, enjoy freedom and reach out to others in need. The theme is about family and helping community.  I am so proud to see the wonderful work our first lady is doing for the children of this country. Her program, Let's Move! encourages families to exercise and develop healthy eating habits. Her message is very important to the African American community where families are facing major health issues. Adopting a healthy lifestyle should be a priority in the African American families. In this video, she reminds everyone to support military families especially during the holidays.

This season the Obamas have both managed to spotlight  their interest in children and families. President Barack Obama also published his first children's book,  of Thee I Sing A Letter to My Daughters. He begins with, "Have I told you lately how wonderful you are?  A great message  for all children. The book illustrated by Loren Long published by Random House pays tribute to thirteen ground breaking Americans and the ideals that shaped our nation. Sales will go to a scholarship fund for children of  soldiers injured or killed. Of course, he dedicated the  book to Michelle - whose fierce love and daily good sense have nourished such wonderful daughters.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO)

Do you know a young gifted  person in high school or college who can use assistance in reaching  their career goals. SEO  (Sponsors for Educational Opportunity) provides mentorships for high school students and paid internships for college students. For more information about the programs they offer for young people visit