public library Tag

Berkeley Public Library visit

Last Fall in 2023 I got the distinct pleasure of reading my latest book “Fresh Juice/ Jugo Fresco” to a big group of students at the South Berkeley Public Library branch. Here are some photos from that day.

Giving a reading to children is kind of like a performance. You know what story you’re going to read, and since Fresh Juice is still new I have read it out loud to kids only about 15-20 times. For some of my other books I’ve read them 100’s of times; each time trying to emphasize a different part depending on the group I’m reading to. Sometimes I read in English, sometimes Spanish. In this photo I’m trying to gt the kids to talk back to me rather than just listen. Folks in the church used to say “call and response”.

Something I love to do when I visit with kids beyond reading them the actual story is to share some of the behind the scenes, the outtakes, and the practice that goes into making these books that take minutes to read and sometimes years to make. I love sharing drawings and paintings from the process, and I LOVE sharing my sketchbook with them. Younger kids and even some of the older ones love seeing drawings, paintings, sketches, etc because whether its a song, a dance, a video game, or a picture book its fun to see how artists do the thing.

I’ve kept a sketchbook since I was a child. I love sharing them so much that I self published a book full of my drawings, paintings, sketches, etc that have helped me develop stories, share knowledge, or just develop as an artist. You can cop that here.

BIG shout out to Juan Rigo (Adult w/ the hat on the left) who is a librarian at Berkley Public Library who I’ve known since Berkeley high school! He told me he was gonna bring me to the library to read to the babies and sho nuff did. Thx Juan! And BIG shout out to Maestra Arroyo sitting next to Juan who not only brought her class but a fellow teacher’s class to see me read. All photos taken by Jessica and Juan!

SEE? When you see librarians and teachers give them props, words of affirmation, and support when they are in labor struggles for better pay. If it weren’t for these two, my story would not have reached these kids that day. I take that honor seriously and am forever grateful for all of you doing your best to cheer on and game up the next generation with knowlege and love.

Dig this? Check out this visit to McBee Elementary and the Texas Book Festival or Bella Vista Elementary in Oakland.

If you havent already, please review “Fresh Juice/ Jugo Fresco” wherever you review books. Request it at your local library or bookstore no matter where you live.

Black is Beautiful 2022 – Tougaloo 9

 

This is for the Tougaloo 9 (Meredith Coleman Anding Jr., James Cleo Bradford, Alfred Lee Cook, Geraldine Edwards, Janice Jackson, Joseph Jackson Jr., Albert Earl Lassiter, Evelyn Pierce, and Ethel Sawyer) a group of undergrad college student activists from the HBCU Tougaloo in Jackson Mississippi. In 1961 they lead the first student lead protest against segregation in MS. Their target was the segregated public libraries in Jackson. They first went to the “Negro” libraries to request books they know would be unavailable, then went to the “White Only” libraries to request them. Although the rules were separate but equal, more than not Black libraries didn’t have the same access to literature or knowledge as the White libraries did even though both people paid taxes funding these public spaces. After this the students decided to protest in their best clothes (Naacp protocol) by going to the White only library. There they asked for books they couldn’t find previously, sat down, and began to read them quietly. The librarians called the police who demanded they leave. When they refused and were arrested. As they sat within the jail system hundreds of local Black students held a vigil in support of them which was violently broken up by MS cops. The next day Black students from Jackson State (HBCU) came to protest as well. The students lost their case against and were fined. But, their actions set off fear in MS and inspired other students. The Naacp filed a lawsuit against the MS library and the judged ruled in favor of desegregating all MS libraries. This also forced the u until that point silent American Library Association to make a statement in favor of desegregation as well, even though they did not have. BLK president until 1976! 

Extra: MS was one of the most racist states in the US. It is the state with the most lynchings of BLK folks according to the Equal Justice Initiative. From citizen lead vigilante groups and cops, to the mayor, news media, and the governor; the threat of violence for challenging Jim Crow was very real and very dangerous. In fact Medgar Evers who trained these students was murdered in the same city 2 years after this action. In addition, all citizens pay taxes which fund the books, staff, and creation of libraries. It is unspeakable the humiliation Blk folks had to and continue to endure.
Sources: Black Past, Wikipedia, Mississippi Free Press, EJI
If you like this check out The Contract Buyers League

Want to see some more activists? Check out:

Marsha P Johnson 2016

Storytime prints (Set of 4) updated

 

I released this print set in 2019, and I’m just updated it and re-sharing it. Check it out for your classroom, library, organization, or home. Why did I do these? I made these to illustrate children of color reading or being read to to foster an environment that is welcoming and encourages reading for fun.
Cop it HERE
If you missed my set of prints that say READ, check them out here.

READ Print 4

Here’s the last print of this “READ” series encouraging young people to pick up a comic, graphic novel, YA, MG, Magazine, art book, whatever and read. I started this at the beginning of the year in March and I was inspired to do more so I did. For this one, I imagined a young Asian Boy. Check it out and share.

PURCHASE here

Did you catch the last one? READ print 3

READ Print 3

For this this print I imagined a South East Asian Girl. This is the third in a new series of prints with a simple concept, encourage reading and illustrate an array of young people reading, focusing on children of color. If you’d like to get a print of this one

PURCHASE here.

Did you see the last print? Here it is.

Pura again

Did this painting of pioneering bilingual Puerto Rican librarian Pura Belpre several years ago for women’s history month,

HERE

And it has been reused many times. This most recent one by a Latinx librarian in Oregon for a mock Pura Belpre award, which is pretty cool. If you didn’t know, every year the American Library Association gives out an award to Latinx illustrators or authors of new kid lit books and it is named after Pura for all of her amazing work in storytelling and literacy. Anyways, carry on. And visit McMinnville Public library.

Story time print 3

Happy new year y’all. This is the third print in the series of “story time” pieces. Why do them? To make art that encourages young people to read. You can see the other prints here on the blog.
I’m passionate about literacy and I hope that this artwork will make it into a classroom, library, organization, day care, or home near you. The subject of this piece is a young father of color and his child reading. Thats it.
Purchase here.