April 30 Poet of the Day: Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks, a prolific and award winning poet is April 30 Poet of the Day, the last “official” day of Poetry month.  Read about this fascinating poet here:

Poets.Org: http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/gwendolyn-brookshttps://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poems/45683

Poetry Foundation: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/gwendolyn-brooks

Modern American Poetry: http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/brooks/brooks.htm

Library of Congress Online Resources: http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/brooks/

Illinois Poet Laureate: http://www.illinois.gov/poetlaureate/pages/brooks.aspx

Voices from the Gap: http://voices.cla.umn.edu/artistpages/brooks.php

Lesson Plans from ReadWriteThink: http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/many-years-later-responding-1030.html, from Shmoop: http://www.shmoop.com/we-real-cool/http://www.shmoop.com/bean-eaters/, from EDSITEment: http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/impact-poems-line-breaks-enjambment-and-gwendolyn-brooks-we-real-cool

April 28 Poet of the Day: Nikki Giovanni

April 28 Poet of the day is Nikki Giovanni.  Read about this award winning prolific poet here:

Poets.Org: http://www.nikki-giovanni.com/http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19505

Poetry Foundation: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/nikki-giovanni

AfroPoets.Net: http://www.afropoets.net/nikkigiovanni.html

Voices From the Gap: http://voices.cla.umn.edu/artistpages/giovanniNikki.php

PBS Interview with Tavis Smiley: http://video.pbs.org/video/2365125112/,earlier interview with Bill Moyers: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/02132009/watch2.html

MSNBC Interview with Melissa Harris-Perry: http://www.msnbc.com/melissa-harris-perry/poet-nikki-giovanni-visits-nerdland

NPR: http://www.npr.org/2013/10/29/241605794/poet-nikki-giovanni-on-the-darker-side-of-her-life

Lesson Plan from ReadWriteThink: http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/childhood-remembrances-life-intersect-271.html?tab=1#tabshttp://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/entering-history-nikki-giovanni-963.html

April 24 Poet of the Day: Lucille Clifton

Lucille Clifton is April 24 Poet of the Day.  Poet, Educator and Author of the Everett Anderson children’s books series, Lucille Clifton was born on June 27, 1936 in Depew, New York.  Read about this prolific writer here:

Additional resources about Lucille Clifton:

PBS: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/poetryeverywhere/clifton.html

NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124113507

Shmoop Lesson Plan on “Homage to My Hips”: http://www.shmoop.com/homage-hips/ May have to register in order to access all resources.

Poetry Foundation: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/lucille-clifton

Voices From the Gap: http://voices.cla.umn.edu/artistpages/cliftonLucille.php

Poets & Writers Interview: http://www.pw.org/content/no_ordinary_woman_lucille_clifton

Modern American Poetry: http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/clifton/clifton.htm

YouTube Videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPr6EOggzm0



April 11 Poet of the Day: Robert Hayden

Robert Hayden is April 11 Poet of the Day.  He is best known for the poems, “Those Winter Sundays” and “Middle Passage.”  Read about this Detroit born, prolific poet    here:

Additional resources on Robert Hayden:

Poets.Org: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/196

NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=208946759

C-SPAN: http://www.c-span.org/video/?315905-1/life-robert-hayden

Teacher Resources and Lesson Plans:

PBS: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/foolingwithwords/lesson2.html

Edsitement: http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/analyzing-poetic-devices-robert-haydens-those-winter-sundays-and-theodore-roethkes-my-pa

Shmoop: http://www.shmoop.com/those-winter-sundays/ (may need to register to access all the resources)

March 25 Woman of the Day: Toni Cade Bambara

Toni Cade Bambara, born on March 25 in 1939, is March 25 Woman of the Day.  Read about this author, film-maker, and college professor here:

Other resources on Ms. Bambara:

Lesson plans on Ms. Bambara’s stories: http://www.webenglishteacher.com/bambara.html

Pearson Prentice Hall: http://www.phschool.com/atschool/phlit/author_bios/bambara_tc.html

Voices From the Gap, University of Minnesota: http://voices.cla.umn.edu/artistpages/bambaraToni.php

The Bombing of Osage Avenue, a documentary written and narrated by Toni Cade Bamabara: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVbOlY7svfE

Books written by Toni Cade Bambara:

Gorilla, My Love

The Salt Eaters

These Bones Are Not My Child

The Sea Birds Are Still Alive

March 13 Woman of the Day: Harriet A. Jacobs

Harriet A. Jacobs, born in 1813, was one of the first African American women to publish an autobiography.  Her autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, told how she struggled to avoid the sexual advances of her master.  More information about this courageous woman can be found here:

More resources on Harriet A. Jacobs:

Yale University: http://www.yale.edu/glc/harriet/                                                                              PBS: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4p2923.html                                                                                                                                                      NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1869987

Middle School lesson plan: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/slavery/teachers/lesson3.html

Teacher’s Guide: http://www.us.penguingroup.com/static/pdf/teachersguides/IncidentsSlaveGirlTG.pdf

Annenberg Learner: http://www.learner.org/amerpass/unit07/authors-7.html

March 11 Woman of the Day: Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry, who wrote the play, “A Raisin in the Sun”, is March 11 Woman of the Day. “A Raisin in the Sun” was the first African American play when it opened on Broadway on March 11, 1959.  More information about Hansberry and her play can be found by clicking here:

Biography from About.com: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/aframerwriters/p/hansberry.htm

Lesson plan on “A Raisin in the Sun” from EdSITEment: http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-american-dream

Shmoop: http://www.shmoop.com/a-raisin-in-the-sun/

Audio Patricia Marx interviews Lorraine Hansberry: http://www.wnyc.org/story/lorraine-hansberry/

Happy Birthday Ralph Waldo Ellison!

Ralph Waldo Ellison, the author of the classic book Invisible Man was born on March 1.  Information on this author can be found by clicking on the following links:

Library of Congress. Type Ralph Ellison in the search box and view hundreds of primary resources on this author at http://loc.gov

PBS: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/ralph-ellison/an-american-journey/587/

NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9977702

Lesson plans/activities on Invisible Man

Random House: http://www.randomhouse.com/highschool/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780679732761&view=tg

PBS: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/lessons_plans/ralph-ellisons-invisible-man/ 

Ms. Effie’s LifeSavers for Teachers: http://mseffie.com/AP/Invisible%20Man.pdf

Zora and Me

This week, the Zora Neale Hurston Organization is hosting its annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival in Eatonville, Florida.  This is the 25th year of the festival and it is a week-long celebration with workshops, activities, and other events.  I mention this festival as a segue into my review of the children’s book, Zora and Me.

Zora and Me, written by Victoria Simon and T.R. Simon, imagines the childhood of Zora in Eatonville, Florida.  The story is narrated by Carrie and Zora’s storytelling gives Carrie plenty to say.  When a decapitated body is found on a railroad track, Zora creates a believable yet scary story that she is willing to tell anyone who wants to hear it.  In fact, Zora also believes she knows the murderer, and, recruiting Carrie and her friend Teddy, goes to many lengths to prove her theory.

Zora and Me is beautifully written, with Carrie’s voice that draws one into the mystery.  Carrie and Teddy are fully developed characters and just the right friends for the imaginative Zora.  Other characters are developed, too, and the issues of race, particularly passing, racism, poverty, and equality are woven carefully in the story as the mystery unfolds and reveals the killer.

Zora and Me has won a few awards, including the The Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe New Talent Award.

A discussion guide and lesson plans are available for this book.  The discussion guide can be accessed by clicking here: http://www.candlewick.com/book_files/0763643009.bdg.1.pdf

The lesson plan, and other resources can be found on The Teaching Books.Net: http://www.teachingbooks.net/tb.cgi?tid=21622&a=1

Zora and Me, 192 pages.  Hardcover: 978-0763643003; Paperback:  978-0763658144 Grades 5 and up.