We are so excited to kick off the 2017 season of reading, writing, and discussing literature from the Afrodiasporan teen perspective.
This year, we will gather in coffee shops, bookstores, and libraries to engage with the texts expanding the breadth of Afrodiasporan people’s experiences in the Americas, and in some cases, the Caribbean.
Our teens attend middle and high school primarily in the West and South County areas in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Rising 6th to 12th graders engage with students from various schools, expanding their connections beyond their school district to find that they have a lot in common with other teens pondering the changing world.
This is the first year we are gathering after the nation shifted with the November 2016 election, the January 2017 inauguration, and the non-stop egregious behavior that has been an affront to common decency on the national and international stage.
We incorporate required readings into our lists, as we are able, and also set aside one week for the teens to gather at a coffee shop to write their essays or reflections on their work for the next school year.
The books we will all read this summer are
Kindred by Octavia Butler, Beloved by Toni Morrison, and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
Middle School will encounter Kindred by Octavia Butler (rising 8th grade especially, Tankborn for rising 6th-7th if the subject matter is too much for them) as well as Noughts & Crosses for rising 8th graders.
We will encounter poetry, short stories, and essays by Langston Hughes, Malcolm X, Phillis Wheatley, William Wells Brown, Anna Julia Cooper, Pauline E. Hopkins, and the recently deceased, Patricia McKissack.
High schoolers may have some additional reading for their upcoming school year that can include Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Native Son by Richard Wright, Black Boy by Richard Wright, Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehsi Coates, among others.
UPDATE Schedule and Locations:
June 6 – Kickoff at Kaldi’s Coffeehouse on Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood MO. 4-6pm. Registration, poetry, and discussion. We will read excerpts of Patricia McKissack’s works. She recently passed away and lived in Kirkwood for a time.
For more information, contact Antona Brent Smith, Founder & Director.
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