Mayors Seek to Build an Early Learning Nation

I love this idea: The resolution calls for community action and asks parents and caregivers to engage in “daily brain-building moments with their children” to highlight the benefits of adult/child conversations.

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Seattle’s Mayor Ed Murray is asking his colleagues in the United States Conference of Mayors to sign on to a resolution that would designate the decade of 2015 – 2025 as a time for building “an Early Learning Nation.”

The resolution calls for community action and asks parents and caregivers to engage in “daily brain-building moments with their children” to highlight the benefits of adult/child conversations.

The resolution’s resonant and ambitious goal is for the children of Generation Alpha – those born between 2010 and 2025 — to “emerge equipped and prepared to resolve issues, assume leadership positions, while generating innovative and long-term solutions for previously intractable and seemingly unsolvable challenges.”

Fifteen mayors have co-sponsored the resolution, including Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh, who recently set up an advisory committee on universal pre-K, and Mayor Angel Taveras of Providence, home of an effort…

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Malcolm Mows the Lawn Will Debut at Ann Arbor Book Festival

 

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I will read my new multicultural children’s book at the 10th Ann Arbor Book Festival, June 21st.

USA is becoming more diverse but multicultural children’s books are on the decline.

Malcolm is second book in series aimed at closing the 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3.

All of the things above are true. Malcolm Mows the Lawn, is my new multicultural children’s book, about a little boy who learns how earning money to buy toys can lead to fun-filled adventures with alligators, speed boats, baseball games, and lost puppies. It is written for ages 2 to 7, and shows how a boy of color juggles responsibility, courage and teamwork to become a hero, leading readers to ponder the question, “Who knew that doing chores to help Mom and Dad could be so exciting?”

I’ll read Malcolm Mows the Lawn in the Children’s Tent at the 10th Ann Arbor Book Festival on Saturday, June 21st, 1 pm. The rest of the day, I’ll be available to sign books at Booth 15. Let me give a shout out to the illustrator right now; he is Scott Everett, whose also a graphic designer and a recent graduate of the College for Creative Studies.

With this book, I am continuing my mission–yes, I am on one–to develop a series of multicultural children’s books that boys want to read. I worked closely with Scott to make sure the pages were filled with bright, stimulating visuals that would draw readers into the story and take them on an energetic ride throughout the book. Malcolm also has ten discussion questions and a Fun Facts section in the back.

Final Malcom 1-5-08I started this series because I was always looking for good stories for my son to read. I wanted to introduce him to characters that nurtured his identity as a young African American boy. Although he’s now grown, I hope that Malcolm Mows the Lawn and the first book in the series, Taj Cleans the Garage, will help to fill this void.

According to the Children’s Book Council, fewer and fewer multicultural books are being published, although the country is becoming more diverse. Major publishers site poor sales and little interest among customers, but my books are appealing to people of all ethnic backgrounds who know how important it is for children to see a true reflection of the world in which they live.

These two books do something else too. They reinforce some of the old school values I grew up with like doing chores to earn an allowance, living by the Golden Rule, and helping neighbors. While reading Malcolm and Taj in classrooms, I have already witnessed young children talking about creating their own adventures and becoming real-life heroes. I hope to find that same magic next week!

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