A Week in the Life of a Tiny Pioneer: Story Time & Black History Month Exhibit Update

Where y’at?!

Last Saturday I had much fun participating in the first Global Families Festival of 2020 organized by the International House in Davis, CA, in partnership with the always inspiring Teacher Can from the Peregrine School, the Homeless Refuge Support and Advocacy Inc., and the kids dance group Afro Mini Vibes. This is a bi-monthly themed event catering to 3–10 years old and their family, filled with music, craft activities, a story time and food. Kids and parents alike love it! I read the Coretta Scott King award-winning book Trombone Shorty, written by Grammy award-winning artist Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, and illustrated by the also award-winning Bryan Collier. What a pair! I brought a trombone (had help!), and had the audience gleefully answer the “Where y’at!” greeting calls sprinkled throughout the story.

We all had fun, and I can’t wait to do it again!

A Black History Month Art Exhibit in the Making

The closer we get to the event, the more excited and joyful I am at the prospect of sharing a glimpse into the stories of so many Black geniuses. As a reminder to readers learning about this Black History Month project for the first time, it is a kid-friendly event that celebrates lesser known brilliant Black minds and bodies who changed the course of history. The exhibit would not have been possible without the early support of Scott Love, our Library Regional Manager of the West Yolo Region. Scott offered the space at the Mary L. Stephens branch in Davis, and shared about the project with the Arthur F. Turner location in West Sacramento as well. What does this means?

1 exhibit, 2 locations!

When will the exhibit take place? It will start on the 1st of February and last the entire month.

What About the Art?

The exhibit will feature portraits of selected but world-wide Voices of the African diaspora, past and present, along with non-traditional haikus inspired by their work, famous quotes, short biographies, and a map showing where each historical figure is from (so kids and adults get to learn a little bit of geography). Next to each portrait, there will be an invitation to check out the available library materials on the that person’s life or slice of history. The book recommendations will be for both kids, and adults.

Some of the Highlights of the Week:

1- We launched a GoFundMe page on Monday, to help cover the costs of printing the posters and the information cards. The fundraising is off to a soft start but is gaining steam! Everything collected will be used toward this cause and nothing else, as it will only make the event better.

2- Four amazing artists since joined the exhibit and will share their work with the audience (there will be both prints and original pieces). The fundraising page will be updated regularly throughout the week, as I add the contributors’ biography and finalize, with the help of an amazing librarian friend, further public announcements. I can already share the participation of the truly fantastic Robert Liu-Trujillo, creator of multicultural and bilingual books for kids and founder of The Trust Your Struggle Collective and Come Bien Books, among other activities.

3- The exhibit opened the doors for three different art workshops, woven with a bit of storytelling, to take place during the month of February. It is my hope to help further highlight Black creators. The details are being finalized.

Stay tuned for more exciting news next week! Don’t hesitate to help us spread the word. Thank you for reading, I wish you a fun and productive week.

PS: Tiny Pioneer. Tiny refers to the Tiny Fellowship, a program that supports projects that aim to improve the education system.

Children’s Book Review: Hammering for Freedom: The William Lewis Story

Multiculturalism Rocks! Children’s Book Review: Hammering for Freedom
Book Title: Hammering for Freedom: The William Lewis Story
Author: Rita Lorraine Hubbard
Illustrator: John Holyfield
Publisher: Lee & Low Books, Inc.
Age Range: Grade 1 – 2

In celebration of Black History Month, I'm honored to review Hubbard's inspirational
picture book Hammering for Freedom: The William Lewis Story. 
William “Bill” Lewis was born a slave on a Tennessee plantation owned by Colonel James
Lewis. When Bill was just a young boy, Colonel Lewis put him to work as a blacksmith
rather than in the fields. 
As his owner, Colonel Lewis owned all the money Bill made from his blacksmith work but
he let Bill keep a few coins. Bill knew that if he saved up his money he could buy his
freedom. If he bought his freedom, then he could buy his family's freedom too.

“As Bill’s stack of coins grew, so did his hopes and dreams. Each coin he saved brought
him closer to purchasing his freedom. Once he was free, he could spend his money on
whatever he wanted. And what he wanted was to free his family.”
In 1837, Lewis opened his own blacksmith shop in Chattanooga, where he worked on 
his days off on the plantation to make more money for his freedom ($350). This alone
was a remarkable feat for a black man at this time. He then worked well into his fifties
to buy freedom for his entire family; including his wife, mother, aunt, sister and brothers.
“Twenty-six years after Bill’s arrival in Chattanooga, his plan was complete. He had
worked, sweated and prayed. Now he finally had his loving family around him, just like
when he was a boy. Only now they were all free.”
This is a beautiful book about breaking the chains of slavery; and, the endurance and
perseverance of black families.
Masterfully illustrated by John Holyfield, Hammering for Freedom: The William Lewis
Story is Hubbard’s debut picture book and also the recipient of 2012 Lee & Low Books’
New Voices Awards which led to publication.
Learn More:
Rita Lorraine Hubbard
John Holyfield
Lee & Low 2012 New Voices Awards Interview
Where to Buy: