Films, plays, art and books – JACBA Newsletter 12Aug2015

Angelina Jolie Pitt to exec produce animated film ‘The Breadwinner’ about Afghan girl


“Millions of young girls like Parvana are growing up today under oppression or conflict, and helping their families to survive in those conditions. This story is a reminder of the immense value of their contribution,” Jolie Pitt said. “I am delighted to be working with a talented team of artists who I know will do justice to the richness, creativity and strength of Afghan culture and to little girls like Parvana.”

The film, which will be directed by Nora Towmey, is based on Deborah Ellis’ internationally acclaimed young adult novel of the same name. The story revolves around a young girl living under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, who must disguise herself as a boy and become the breadwinner of the family when her father is unfairly imprisoned.

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The Heaven Shop by Deborah Ellis 2005 Awardee
The Breadwinner Trilogy by Deborah Ellis 2004 Special Commendation
Parvana’s Journey by Deborah Ellis 2003 Awardee

The ‘Green Book’ Legacy, a Beacon for Black Travelers


A film crew led by Calvin Alexander Ramsey and Becky Wible Searles will interview some of Mr. Green’s relatives for their documentary, “The Green Book Chronicles,” at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.

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Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey 2011 Awardee
Belle, the Last Mule at Gee’s Bend written by Calvin Alexander Ramsey and Bettye Stroud 2012 Awardee

Page by Page column: Before school begins again


Teachers say over and over that they can tell which children have read over the summer. Here are some more suggestions to try:

“Clara and Davie” (Patricia Polacco) – From the legendary Patricia Polacco comes a story based on the life of Clara Barton growing up, and the relationship she had with her brother that encouraged her in the field of medicine. Please be sure to read the author’s note in the back to discover how the famous author is related to Clara Barton. (Ages 8-12)

“Brown Girl Dreaming” (Jacqueline Woodson) – This book might be the top book I have read this summer. Woodson’s words are always lyrical and rhythmical. Brown Girl Dreaming is the about the author as a child. When asked on her website why she wrote the book she said “I wanted to understand who my mom was before she was my mother and I wanted to understand exactly how I became a writer. So I started researching my life, asking relatives and talking to friends – and mostly, just letting myself remember.” The book written in verse makes it easy to read and beautiful to visualize. (Ages 10-15)

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Mrs. Katz and Tush by Patricia Polacco 1993 Awardee
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson 2013 Awardee
From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson 1996
I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This by Jacqueline Woodson 1995

Cap your summer with several stage shows

“An Evening with Arna Bontemps” will be Aug. 9.

It will celebrate the life and literary works of Louisiana native and Harlem Renaissance author Arna Bontemps. There are three kid-friendly, mini-stage plays:

“Meet Arna Bontemps”: This brief biographical sketch of Arna Bontemps’ life will depict his childhood in Alexandria, Louisiana and his personal journey to Harlem – a Louisiana son and pioneer of contemporary juvenile literature.


“Popo and Fifina”: This stage play brings the children’s book, “Popo and Fifina: Children of Haiti” (1932), to life. This lighthearted story is the shared writing project of Harlem Renaissance authors, Arna Bontemps and his best friend, Langston Hughes.


“Lonesome Boy”: This stage play features Arna Bontemps’ children’s tale, “Lonesome Boy” (1955). In this story, Mr. Bontemps features his home state of Louisiana. This fable is about a young jazz musician named Bubber, his passion for playing the trumpet and his adventures in New Orleans at Mardi Gras.

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Story of the Negro by Arna Bontemps 1956 Awardee

A Jane Austen-esque novel for teens and other best books for young readers


A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America
By Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Enriched by well-chosen period illustrations, the book offers a bracing look at the scientific practices and yellow journalism of a century ago, while offering valuable lessons for potential medical scares in the future.

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Kids on Strike! by Susan Campbell Bartoletti 2000 Awardee
Growing Up In Coal County by Susan Campbell Bartoletti 1997 Awardee

Maya Angelou’s Art Collection With Unique Faith Ringgold Portrait Heads to Auction


Th[e] Ringgold work, a painted story quilt commissioned by Oprah Winfrey as a gift for the poet’s 60th birthday in 1989, is the anticipated top lot of the upcoming sale. The piece, which depicts the author as a young woman walking along a wooded path, incorporates handwritten texts quoting several of her writings, including the seminal I Know What the Caged Bird Sings.

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Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky by Faith Ringgold 1993 Awardee

Children’s book review: Tackling tough issues through pictures


“Yard Sale” was written by veteran children’s author Eve Bunting and illustrated by Lauren Castillo. Bunting, who is known for her children’s books about life issues, shines here. Almost everything in her family’s house is in the front yard now. Her family is moving to a small apartment. They cannot take all of their stuff, not even her red bicycle. Bunting does not shy away from the seriousness of the situation, but she tempers the seriousness with reassurance. Castillo’s watercolor illustrations are rendered in muted tones. This suits the tone of the story well.

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The Wednesday Surprise by Eve Bunting 1990 Awardee

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