Chocolate Storytime April 2014

Chocolate Storytime Brings Classical Piano and Poetry to La Pintoresca

Christopher Davis Nash v2For our April Chocolate Storytime, we celebrated National Poetry Month with literature from Nikki Giovanni and Carole Boston Weatherford. Thanks to La Pintoresca’s branch manager, Ms. Pat Smith, we also had a colorful assortment of paper fortune cookies that each contained a sweet, short poem. The children, teens, and adults delighted in choosing their cookie from the beautifully decorated box, opening the cookie, and then reading the poems aloud. Guests had a variety of crafts from which to choose. From poetic Mother’s Day cards to wooden puppets and airplanes, younger and older attendees expressed their creativity in some way. Visit our Photo Albums for pictures.

In the first several pictures, you will see a group shot of our very special Chocolate Storytime moms: Cindy Simkovitch, our arts and crafting helper; Ms. Gray and her daughter, a San Rafael Panda mom, Sabrina; and my wonderful loving mother, Barbara Lindsey, a retired teacher from Inglewood, California.

Another treat was classical pianist Christopher Davis Nash, who demonstrated the term, “practice makes perfect.” He gave gave a beautiful solo performance of Frédéric Chopin’s Fantaisie-Impromptu in C-sharp minor, Op. posth. 66. He also provided background music throughout the rest of the afternoon, including our arts and crafting time.

Christopher Davis Nash attended Hamilton High Music Academy and is a recipient of many awards, including the Southeast Symphony Association (SESA) Conservatory. He studied with Dr. Paul Sweetnam at SESA and was also privately tutored by Polish music professor, Wojcieck Kocyan of Loyala University of Los Angeles. Christopher has won first place in most of his competitions including the prestigious and historic National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM) competitions.

Spotlight on Poets Nikki Giovanni and Carole Boston Weatherford:

Nikki Giovanni is a world-renowned poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator. She graduated with honors in history from her grandfather’s almaNikki Giovanni mater, Fisk University and published her first book of poetry, Black Feeling Black Talk, in 1968, and within the next year published a second book, thus launching her career as a writer. Early in her career she was dubbed the “Princess of Black Poetry,” and over the course of more than three decades of publishing and lecturing she has come to be called both a “National Treasure” and one of Oprah Winfrey’s twenty-five “Living Legends.” Giovanni’s poetry collections for kids and picture books celebrate African American history and culture, families and pride. Her works include Ego-Tripping and Other Poems for Young People and Rosa. Since 1987, she has been on the faculty at Virginia Tech, where she is a University Distinguished Professor of English.

Carole Boston WeatherfordCarole Boston Weatherford is an author of children’s literature and some historical books, as well as poetry and commentaries. As an author, she acknowledges her calling “to mine the past for family stories, fading traditions and forgotten struggles.” The books she writes, in poetry and prose, explore African-American history from a children’s perspective and relate the past to new generations. Her works are often inspired by true events, many of which took place in the areas where Weatherford has lived. In her Author’s Notes for each book, she includes a portion of her historical research, from which her fiction or poetry emerged. In describing her purpose for writing to the School Library Journal, she says, “I want the books that I write that are set during the Jim Crow era and the Civil Rights era to nudge today’s kids toward justice. We’ve gone a long way, but we still have a long way to go.”

The Sun is So QuietThe Sun is So Quiet

by Nikki Giovanni and Illustrated by Ashley Bryan

These poems about nature captured the attention of children with rhythm, personification, and exciting metaphorical imagery. The poem that our children wanted to hear was, “Kisses”:

Flowers for hours
remain inert
but when the bees pass
they flutter and flirt
The bees come down
to steal a kiss
then off they fly
to some other miss

Reviews: Good Reads and Amazon

Sugar HillSugar Hill: Harlem’s Historic Neighborhood

by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Between repetition, rhyme, and rhythm and beautiful pictures, we learned about Sugar Hill in the 1920s and the famous individuals that helped to make it black national monument. Brief mentions include jazz greats Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Sonny Rollins, and Miles Davis; artists Aaron Douglas and Faith Ringgold; entertainers Lena Horne and the Nicholas Brothers; writer Zora Neale Hurston; civil rights leader W. E. B. DuBois and lawyer Thurgood Marshall. The illustrations were vivid, perky, and beautiful.

Reviews: Good Reads and Amazon (editorial)

Max and the Tag-Along MoonMax and the Tag-Along Moon

written and illustrated by Floyd Cooper

When we were younger, we all shared the wonderment of why the moon followed us everywhere. This book takes us on a little boy’s mesmerizing journey that first starts off with a promise from a grandfather to his little grandson. Although the moon disappeared at one point, it reappeared, enveloping Max in its warm glow. The beautiful, warm, and soft illustrations gave a calming and comforting effect and will be a lovely addition to a bedtime story collection.

Reviews: Good Reads and Amazon

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