Monday, February 28, 2011

Meet Tristin and Tyler

Tristin and Tyler's Tales from the City" is a short-form series featuring twin brothers Tristin and Tyler who go on adventures in New York City, learn about interesting people, and do interesting things!  Watch an epsiode and then play along as Tristin and Tyler quiz YOU on key parts of the episode!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Black Comic Book Day

Last weekend we missed  Black Comic Book Day celebrated in Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia Los Angeles and New York.  Fortunately, some good things have come out of this event.   The organizers of the event are now working to make their work more accessible to readers at venues across the country.  Comic books will be displayed at bookstores, museums  and black comic conventions this year. 

Jerry Craft, the creator of Mamas Boyz,  explains the positive role comic books have on young people,  “The only reason I, and most of my friends, read regularly was because of comic books, I still remember the excitement of running to the corner store and seeing the new issue of Spider-Man waiting for me. Reading comics helped build our vocabularies. Playing games pretending to be the Silver Surfer or the Incredible Hulk stimulated our imaginations,”  Who knew there are so many writers and artists creating super heroes and characters for African American youth.  Check out his website for more information

Here are a few special events:
Reggie Hudlin, writer for Marvel Comics will  be appearing today at the Golden Apple Comic February 23 from 6-9 pm. in Los Angeles to promote his Black Panther series, now on DVD

Kids Comic Con will be celebrated in New York city on April 16 so make a note and check out for details.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Using Words that Empower Our Children

Maya Angelou in her interview on Oprah's Master Class explains how her mother's words empowered her.  After feeling rejection as a small child from her parents, she realized her mother was much better at relating to her as a young adult.  She said her mother's words gave her permission to be great.  Her mother would tell her she was wonderful and going to do something great.  Those words resounded with her throughout her life.

Give the children you know the gift of words.  Words that empower...

forthright      reasonable    loving     insightful    energetic  
uplifting     forthright     reasonable     loving     insightful                  
energetic        uplifting     honest        trusting         friendly                         
right on       deferential        positive         useful           observant   
sympathetic     aware     neat       cool         delightful        empathetic             
inspiring     zealous    clever         reliable       open        astute
funny        optimistic     free       organized  careful    honest           

Saturday, February 19, 2011

North Paran Sharing Books with Young People

Looking for something special to do for Black History Month?  Give a gift of books to young people and also add to your child's book collection at North Paran.  This website is offering to donate a new book to a child in need for every book sold on site. This is an opportunity to put the principles of Kwanzaa to work by supporting Black businesses and helping the community. Check out their website at

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Low-Income Parents Can Get Free Life Insurance for Their Kids' College Expenses

Just saw this article about Mass Mutual offering free life insurance to low income families. Check out Lynette Khalfani-Cox's column ...  

Low-Income Parents Can Get Free Life Insurance for Their Kids' College Expense   By Lynnette Khalfani-Cox on Jan 28th 2011 2:41PM  

Parents must meet a certain criteria to qualify for this insurance visit Mass Mutual's website for more information.   Here is a description of the program:

"LifeBridgeSM - Free Life Insurance Program
Our unique LifeBridge Free Life Insurance Program provides $50,000 term life insurance policies free-of-charge to eligible parents or guardians. We pay the premiums, and our agents drive the program in their communities. If an insured parent or guardian dies during the 10-year term, a $50,000 benefit funds a trust1 serviced by our trust company to pay eligible dependent children's educational expenses. Our goal is to give away $1 billion in coverage. As of May 31, 2009, we are halfway to our goal and have provided over a half billion dollars in free life insurance coverage across the country."

To learn more about the LifeBridge Free Life Insurance Program or to apply for this coverage, call (800) 272-2216 or visit 

Sesame Street: Patti Labelle Sings The Alphabet

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ten Ways to Love the Maple Sugar Child No. 1

Yonina with her uncle.

1. Use Words that Empower Our Children

Words are powerful and magical. The older I get the more I realize this. This is why I am on a word diet, trying to watch the things I say to the children. Too many things are said out of frustration, angst and ignorance.  So I try not to label our children but find words of empowerment and encouragement.

The other day we rolled into the Emergency Room with my two year old niece, Yonina who had a bad stomach bug.  The assistant nurse who greeted us was  pleasant enough while she escorted us to the room to wait for the doctor. When she returned, however, Nina was in the hospital gown sitting on my lap as I tried to comfort her and  hold a pan under her as she threw up.  She looked at the little child in my arms and quipped, "I see this one is a spoiled." I hate when strangers who don't know you try to slap labels on you.  She doesn't know me, and she doesn't  know Nina.  Nina is very independent and hardly stays in anyone's arms because she likes to go about her business. But I was not about to explain that to this sister, instead I told her, "She is two years old with a high fever and is throwing up every fifteen minutes and doesn't understand what is going on. I don't call that spoiled, I call that sick." She gave me a look and disappeared.  Thank God, I didn't see her any more.  When the doctor came, she realized right away it was serious.  Nina was extremely dehydrated and a few minutes away from being admitted into the hospital.

These days I make it a point to not accept other people's labels and negative descriptions of our children.  Also I make it a point to watch what I say about young people.  They need words to empower them and let them know they are loved and cherished. They need words that touch the essence of who they are.  If we don't tell them who will?

Years ago, at a parenting seminar I was given a list of positive adjective to describe your child. Here are a few adjectives. I will be listing more all month.  Do you have some positive adjectives to add?

supportive        kind     attentive    cooperative   stimulating             

perceptive         wise   warm      reassuring       encouraging        dependable

loyal     thoughtful     considerate    influential     affectionate       vital    

tactful     zestful      helpful      accepting   refreshing         inclusive     

valuable      sensitive   consistent   creative     curious      intuitive     gifted        

resourceful    leader          directive      tender        responsible   alive    steadfast            

Ten Ways to Love the Maple Sugar Child

 This month is not only Black History Month but the month we celebrate Valentine's Day, and both celebrations go together.  Black History Month should be about loving our selves, our children and our community.  I thought I would do a segment called "A Hundred Ways to Love a Maple Sugar Child" until my son dropped a dose of reality on my project. He said one hundred was too ambitious, why don't I just start with ten ways and see where it goes. Good idea! So here we go!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Digital Diaspora Family Reunion

Check those old family pictures that have been stacked away for ages, now it is time to take them out and tell our stories. Digital Diaspora Family Reunion is a touring Roadshow that travels across the African Diaspora to uncover the hidden treasures in family photographic archive. Individuals are invited to explore the rich and revealing historical narratives found within their own family photograph albums and share their stories with the world.   The show is now in New York.

Members of the community are invited to bring images, photo albums and other scannable mementos  to Harlem Stage from February 23 to 25. The project will culminate on February 27 with a special live event and multimedia presentation celebrating Harlem's hidden family history. Make a reservation to bring in your images by calling 212-281-6002 or visiting

Harlem Stage is at 150 Convent West 135th St. Tickets on February 27 to this screening are $10 for adults, and $5 for teens. Call 212.281-9240 or visit  Harlem Stage

Friday, February 4, 2011

19th Annual African American Children's Book Fair

 Come see some of the best and brightest from the Literary Community. Creators of books that teach a child the love of READING.  Over 20 Participating Authors & Illustrators!
 On Saturday, February 5, 2011, 1:00-3:00 p.m. at Gymnasium of the Community College of Philadelphia, 17th & Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA.
The Book Fair started out on a cold frosty day at John Wanamaker Department Store and is now one of the oldest and largest single day events for African American Children's Books in the country. The success of the program is due to the fact that they offer the best and the brightest from the African American Children's literary community. Parents, caregivers, and educators from the tri-state area are very supportive of the event. They all understand that children who read make more responsible decisions about their lifestyles.
Author and illustrators will make presentations from their books; also games, prizes, promotional give-aways and reading resources will be available. A wide selection of African American books to purchase will be featured at the event. Authors include
Javaka Steptoe - Jimi Sounds Like a Rainbow: A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix,   Shadra Strickland, Eric Velasquez - Grandma's Gift,   Renee Watson - A Place Where Hurricanes Happen and What Momma Left Me, Derrick Barnes - Ruby Series and We Could Be Brothers, Sabrina Carter - Please Don't Yell at We!, Bryan Collier - Dave The Potter,  Kerri Conner, Floyd Cooper - Ruth and The Green Book,  R. Gregory Christie,  Jerry Craft - Mama's Boyz, L. Divine,  Kristina Evans,   Cheryl Hudson,  Dinah Johnson - Black Magic,  Sean Qualls and  Earl Sewell.
The event is free and opened to the public.
For more information about the book fair Email : or call (215) 878-BOOK.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Alvin Ailey Celebrates 50th Anniversary

What did Mr. Ailey teach his dancers about 'Revelations'? from AlvinAileyAmericanDanceTheater on Vimeo.

I can't believe that the Alvin Ailey Dance Company is celebrating 50 years!   His classic, Revelations is still being performed.   Alvin Ailey was a genius and a pioneer in dance, and he seemed to have passed his vision on to his students.   Young people today need talented teachers to inspire them to greatness.  Parents and teachers can get inspiration from him to encourage and expand young people's horizon, and if you get an opportunity take them to see Revelations.  It is part of our history.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dawoud Bey at Emory University

Dawoud Bey is one of my favorite photographers. He is also my cousin but the reason I like his work is that it is always so timely and insightful. His work is very much connected to his own personal ideas and vision. Then there is also the spiritual quality.  He has a new exhibit, The Emory Project at Emory University.

Here is how he describes this project, "The idea here was to bring together members of the Emory community who do not necessarily interact with each other in the course of a day and have them sit together to be pictured. They also wrote self reflective texts. This project was very well integrated into the University community through its five year Transforming Community Project."

To see more of his work check out his book, Dawoud Bey:Class Pictures.  This is a collection of portraits of young people and their aspiration.


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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Black History Month with Chef Jeff Henderson

Welcome to the first day of Black History Month!    I just received this press release about a new book by Chef Jeff Henderson just in time for Black History Month if you are in Washington go check him out.  I saw him at the Sister to Sister Conference, and he was such a wonderful and gracious person. This brother turned his life around and is now making a difference. The exhibit, America I am also seems very impressive. "This exhibit traces the indelible imprint African Americans have made on America. Their stories - some familiar, many surprising - are inseparable from the story of America itself." Visit one of the largest African American oral history exhibits. A great way to start February.

Press Release

America I AM
Pass It Down Cookbook
Over 130 Soul-Filled Recipes

Today February 1, kicks off the first day of Black History Month, with America I AM: The African American Imprint exhibit, and America I AM Pass It Down Cookbook. This community cookbook, edited by Chef Jeff Henderson with Ramin Ganeshram, includes over 130 recipes, personal reflections, and informative essays from everyday people coast to coast who passed down their recipes and memories. These delicious dishes underscore why soul-filled cuisine endures from generation to generation. __________________________________________________

Come out and meet Chef Jeff and pick up your copy of
America I AM Pass It Down Cookbook

Wednesday, February 2 at 1:00PM at
The National Geographic Museum
1145 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
Wednesday, February 2 at 4:30PM at
The Howard University Bookstore (The Hub)
2225 Georgia Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20059

Washington DC: Tune into Fox 5 Morning News on
Wednesday, February 2 at 9AM to see Chef Jeff!
Then tune into WPFW 89.3 to hear Chef Jeff on Gloria Minott's show!

For more information visit:

About the Editors: 

 Chef Jeff Henderson was the first African American to be named Chef de Cuisine at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and executive chef at CafĂ© Bellagio. He hosted The Chef Jeff Project, a docu-reality TV series, and is the author of the New York Times bestseller Cooked and Chef Jeff Cooks. Visit

Ramin Ganeshram is a chef and award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in Saveur, O, National Geographic Traveler, and more. She is the author of Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad & Tobago, and Stir It Up!, a culinary novel for middle grade readers.

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