Update _ We Can Not Wait for the 2017 Season!

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.

June 13 – Nordstrom’s Bistro, West County Mall. We will discuss Octavia Butler’s 1979 book, Kindred, over some of their delicious fries!
June 20 – Juneteenth!(sorta). We will be visiting our favorite Black-owned candy store. Miss M’s Candy Boutique in the Grand Arts Center on Grand Avenue. We will engage with selected excerpts provided the week before.
June 27 – LaBonne Bouchée on Olive Blvd in the Westgate Center in Creve Coeur. This is in honor of the Director’s late father’s birthday and his love of books, cake, and people! We are reading Beloved. Middle School will read and engage with Noughts & Crosses.
July 4 – yes, we are meeting and discussing Frederick Douglass’ speech – What to the Negro Is The Fourth of July. We will discuss this against the backdrop of this America. We will also engage in Langston Hughes’ poem, I, Too, America and Malcolm X’s essay, The Bullet or the Ballot.
Location: Nordstrom’s eBar, lower level, West County Mall. Also a chance to go upstairs and visit Barnes & Noble.
July 11- This is a Read and Write-In. Many of our young people have required reading for their rising grade with accompanying essays or thoughts on the works. This is their opportunity. This is located in a quaint Tower Grove Neighborhood. Hartford Coffee Company.
July 18 -Back to the library. Tentative location is the Headquarters on Lindbergh in Frontenac. This may change to MidCounty in Clayton or Grand Glaize Branch on Meramec Station Road. We are engaging with Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
July 25 – Ending at a Coffee shop! Tentative selections are Rise Coffee House on Manchester near Chouteau or Park Avenue Coffee in Lafayette Square. We will encounter some Anansi Stories and excerpts from Brown Girls Dreaming, Another Brooklyn, Clotel, Jefferson’s Sons, Between the World and Me, Native Son, and overall book look. The teens will end with a co-write of what they think will be the future of education, literary works, and people of color in America.

For more information, contact Antona Brent Smith, Founder & Director.

tayefosterbradshaw@outlook.com or readwritethinkconnect@gmail.com

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